The Cleveland Browns have a quarterback. But it won’t be Baker Mayfield anymore. Instead, Deshaun Watson reversed course and decided to approve a trade to the Browns in a shocking turn of events.
The Browns then decided to give Watson a substantial five-year deal worth $230 million — with all of it guaranteed. After Cleveland’s quarterback issues since the turn of the century, it makes sense that they lock in Watson for the long-term and make a commitment to him.
However, Watson’s eye-popping extension is set to change the QB market for the younger guys, and one player who is going to benefit is Los Angeles Chargers star QB Justin Herbert.
Deshaun Watson just shifted the dynamics of the QB market
Watson got traded after months and months of ongoing rumors, buzz, conversations, and the like. The Houston Texans wasted no time and got a ton of draft compensation by getting rid of Watson.
The sweepstakes included four teams down the stretch: Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and Cleveland Browns. Ultimately, the Browns’ unbelievable contract offer was enough to lure Watson to Cleveland, and the guaranteed money sure helps.
Aaron Rodgers got a massive deal just weeks before Watson’s extension, and at the time, the contract the Green Bay Packers star QB got was expected to set the market.
Both of these QBs got paid big bucks, but Watson’s full guarantee is the most shocking part of the entire offseason — especially with all of the legal issues surrounding him for the past couple of years.
This is a sign of things to come for young QBs everywhere, and Herbert is one player expected to real the benefits of this spending spree.
Chargers QB Justin Herbert will likely command a market-setting deal when he is set to receive an extension
Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, and Justin Herbert are sitting back and waiting patiently for their extensions after seeing Rodgers and Watson’s money.
Murray and Jackson are next in line, but both players have dealt with contract extension issues and still need to prove it before getting this type of cash.
As far as Herbert is concerned, this positively impacts him the most. The ceiling is as high as anybody in the NFL and he is one of the best QBs in the league in just two years in the NFL. Burrow is another guy expected to get paid handsomely when extension time comes.
Herbert has already proved his worth and the Chargers are likely to be inclined to keep him around long-term as soon as they can work out a deal with him.
The question is, how much will Herbert command when that time comes? It is likely to be north of $50 million per year.
At this rate, Herbert will get at least $200 million in guaranteed cash, and likely more. Franchise quarterbacks don’t come around very often, and guys like Burrow and Herbert are licking their chops, waiting to see the type of money they receive.
For now, the Chargers aren’t thinking about that. Derwin James Jr. needs a new contract, and the two sides should be able to work on an extension soon.
That will come at some point.
Nonetheless, the Chargers are focusing on the present and going all-in to make a Super Bowl run while Herbert is on his rookie deal. Yet, at some point, the front office in LA will work to get Herbert inked for the foreseeable future.
Will a five-year deal of $250 million become the standard? Will it be six years for $300 million? The salary cap keeps going up, and the QB market keeps shifting every offseason.
Still, guys like Herbert and Burrow can send a giant thank you card to Deshaun Watson.
Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference