The Houston Texans head into rookie minicamp with their first-round quarterback under contract.
Deshaun Watson inked his four-year rookie deal on Friday, a source informed of the situation told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. As with all first-round selections, the contract comes with a team option for a fifth season. Rapoport added the contract is worth $13.854 million and includes a signing bonus of $8.215 million.
The Texans traded the No. 25 pick in 2017 and next year’s first-round selection to the Cleveland Browns to move up to the No. 12 spot to snag Watson.
The Clemson product completed 67.4 percent of his passes for 10,168 yards, with 8.4 yards per attempt and a 90-32 touchdown-to-interception ratio in three college seasons. He finished his time at Clemson by helping the Tigers win a national title.
The Davey O’Brien Award winner, as college football’s top quarterback, owns the heady leadership coaches love. However, he enters the NFL with question marks about his accuracy, turnovers and ability to dissect a defense.
The club announced it has signed former New York Jets right tackle Breno Giacomini, perhaps in an effort to fill the spot vacated by Newton, who suffered two patellar tendons in Houston’s 27-9 loss to the Broncos last October.
Giacomini started 37 games for the Jets the last three seasons before his release in February. The 6-foot-7, 318-pound tackle was a mainstay on the Jets’ O-line in 2014 and 2015, but a back injury limited him to just five games in 2016.
“I’d probably put Jameis ahead of him slightly on offense. Jameis was more in the pocket, but this kid has an X-factor Jameis had too, which is, like it or not, his personality wins over a locker room,” Shaw recently told Sports Illustrated. “They love that guy. And Deshaun is going to do the same thing. His Day 1 in that locker room, guys are gonna say, ‘Oh there’s our quarterback. Coach, you tell me he’s not going to start but I’m following him already.’ That’s the kind of person he is.”
Watson, selected No. 12 overall in last month’s 2017 NFL Draft, will get a chance to compete against Tom Savage for the Texans’ starting role.
But if Shaw is correct, players will rally behind Watson before that competition is even complete. So from where does Shaw derive about a player who competed on the opposite coast from Stanford, 2,500 miles away? Along with witnessing Watson’s fourth-quarter heroics in Clemson’s biggest games, he’s had some personal experience with him, as well.
“I was fortunate to go down to Clemson two years ago and watch spring practice with Dabo (Swinney) and Deshaun because he was injured, and I got to stand next to them and he took every single rep seriously even though he wasn’t in. He knew every play,” said Shaw, who also serves as a guest draft analyst for NFL Network. “(He) relayed every single play to Dabo. Evaluated the quarterback on every single play. He should’ve done this, should’ve done that. It was like watching a coach, and this kid just finished his freshman year. (Swinney) kept telling me, this guy’s special. I spent a day around him, and there’s a presence you can’t fake.”
Winston, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2015 draft, started as a rookie and has passed for more than 4,000 yards in each of his first two NFL seasons. If Watson’s presence sells in the Texans locker room the way Winston’s did in Tampa Bay, his competition with Savage will get some early momentum. Like any other quarterback, he’ll have to put the ball in the end zone to maintain the kind of support Winston has had, but makeup and leadership shouldn’t be an issue.