The Houston Texans are in a pickle with J.J. Watt. They would like to keep the All-World defensive lineman around beyond the end of his contract in two years, but they also don’t want to extend him now and pay him a massive long-term deal.
One solution for the Texans would be to wait out the last two years of Watt’s contract, then franchise tag him. Texans owner Bob McNair indicated in a recent interview that Houston would not only be willing to tag Watt for one season, they’d look into the possibility of tagging him in back-to-back years (via ESPN):
“You’ve got guys in the Hall of Fame that have been franchised in back-to-back years,” McNair told ESPN.com. “The franchise tag is worth something to the team, and you can’t be afraid to use it.”
McNair said that whatever deal they make with Watt will have to make sense for the team as well as the player:
“It’s going to be a big contract,” McNair said. “If we can do something with him that makes sense for the team to do it early, we’ll certainly do it.
“It has to make sense for us. The team comes first. We want to keep all of our players. We want to take care of all or our players, but the team comes first.”
There’s nothing like a little negotiating in the media to make a player feel the love of his owner. Threaten Watt with a two-year franchise tag hostage situation as a ploy to make him bring his price down a little bit on a potential long-term deal?
Sure. Why not, Bob McNair. It might work. Or it might piss off a guy who pops the heads off rhinos just for fun.