Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - The Houston Texans have signed All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt to a six-year contract extension that will reportedly make him the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Watt's deal has a total value of $100 million and contains $51.8 million in guaranteed money. The 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year was scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency following the 2015 season.
"We normally wouldn't do this at this stage," Texans owner Bob McNair said at a press conference announcing the extension. "We just felt that his performance had been so outstanding, his attitude so great, his work ethic is such a role model for everyone on our team that we felt that he deserves special consideration. And then when you look at his performance, in our view, he's the best defensive player in the league. We wanted him to be compensated that way and he is."
The Chronicle reported that Watt received a $10 million signing bonus as well.
"I'm just not one of those guys that's like, 'I've got it now, I'm just going to relax'," Watt said. "I want to go out there and try and be underpaid. I want to go out there and work my butt off so that I can prove that I'm worth it."
The 11th overall pick of the 2011 draft, Watt has emerged as one of the NFL's most dominant defenders over the past two years. The energetic 25-year-old registered a league-best 20 1/2 sacks along with 16 passes defensed, four forced fumbles and 81 tackles to earn Defensive Player of the Year honors in his second season.
Watt followed up with an excellent 2013 campaign, notching 10 1/2 sacks, four forced fumbles and 80 tackles while starting all 16 contests.