Sports Take: Give Him the Money: Why Deshaun Watson deserves higher pay

AFC quarterback Deshaun Watson, of the Houston Texans, runs the football, during the first half of the NFL Pro Bowl football game against the NFC, Sunday in Orlando, Fla. Associated Press

By Braden Simmons | Reporter

Some call him the Michael Jordan of football. Some say he is Houdini or just DW4. Deshaun Watson, the quarterback for the Houston Texans, has already established himself as an elite member of the NFL in three quick seasons and deserves to be the highest-paid player in the National Football League.

Watson is about to enter contract negotiations for a well-deserved extension this offseason. The extension could make Watson the highest-paid quarterback in the league, and I believe, it is well deserved.

When Watson walked across the stage in a brand-new Houston Texans hat on draft night, fans of the team knew they finally had their guy. Years of struggling with the likes of Matt Schaub, TJ Yates or even the mess of Brock Osweiler had given Texan fans enough nightmares. The Texans’ decision to move up in the draft for him showed how much confidence they had in him to be an elite player in the league.

A torn ACL cut his rookie season short, but Watson had been every part of “Michael Jordan” that his Clemson coach, Dabo Swinney, claimed he would be. Watson threw for 1700 yards and 19 touchdowns in only seven games. On pace for a Rookie of the Year award, Watson was dazzling the league.

The second year of a pro quarterback’s career is normally when he takes a step back, also known as the “sophomore slump.” Deshaun did the opposite. The Texans won the AFC South and Deshaun put up highlight after highlight including an overtime thrilling victory over the in-state rival Dallas Cowboys.

This year, Watson overcame the struggles of another bad offensive line and key injuries to the offense to win the AFC South in back to back seasons.

Watson’s status and prestige in the league can be defined by his jaw-dropping plays. An Oakland Raiders defender kicking him to temporarily obscure his vision only results in an easy touchdown for the Houston quarterback. Against the Bills, in the first round of the playoffs, he escapes from pressure and shakes off two Bills defenders to throw a pass to his running back sealing the game.

Watson, going into the last year of his rookie contract, is currently the 39th highest-paid quarterback behind almost every starter and some backups who have never seen the success Watson has.

In an industry where the next quarterback is the highest paid, Watson is next on that list. He is compared to the likes of Russel Wilson, the current leader in salary among quarterbacks at $35 million per year.

Watson has achieved success as a quarterback in the league even though he is limited by his offensive-minded coach Bill O’Brien. He is arguably a top-five player at his position, with only Patrick Mahomes to challenge him for a higher extension this offseason.

Whether it will be Watson or Mahomes to take the crown of the next player to have the highest-paid contract in the NFL, Watson deserves the title by taking a city captive to his magic and giving Houston hope for the future.