Patrick Peterson Signs $70M Extension, J.J. Watt Watch Begins

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On the surface, it's odd that a contract extension inked by a cornerback on the Arizona Cardinals should worry Houston Texan fans about their all-universe defensive end.

But this isn't just any cornerback, and he wasn't just drafted in any year.

The cornerback is 2011 first round pick Patrick Peterson, and on Tuesday night he inked a new five year extension with the Cards reportedly worth $70 million, including $48 million in guaranteed money.

Peterson broke his own news on Twitter:

The significance of the deal is in the Peterson's draft year as much as it is the dollar amount (a record for a cornerback, by the way), as Peterson is the first of the 2011 first round picks to sign a second contract. As you may know, the 2011 draft class was the first to sign under the new rookie wage scale which did two things:

1. Severely curtailed the total dollar amounts of rookie contracts as compared to those of previous seasons. (Ex: 2010 first overall pick Sam Bradford signed for nearly $50 million in guaranteed money, 2011 first overall pick Cam Newton signed for just over $20 million guaranteed.)

2. Added an option for teams to extend first round picks by one year (a fifth season) for a healthy-but-not-bank-breaking designated average at their position, depending on where they were selected.

Heading into the 2014 preseason, roughly two thirds of the 2011 first round class had seen their fifth year options exercised by their teams, with many of those players expecting long-term extensions for far more money sooner rather than later. Until Peterson's deal Tuesday night, none of the first rounders had inked an extension.

Peterson's is the first. So if you're a Texans fan, now is the time where you can start wondering what J.J. Watt is thinking.

Watt was the 11th pick in the 2011 draft's first round, and the team option exercised by the Texans would yield him a 2015 salary of just under $7 million, a woefully low amount for someone as productive as Watt has been. The Texans' modus operandi for years has been to handle extensions for marquee players a year ahead of free agency, a strategy that has been more miss than hit, quite frankly.

However, if ever there were a player who would seem to be worth locking up in advance, it would be Watt, whose focus on football and sense of community take a backseat to no athlete.

While the two play different positions, Peterson's deal at least gives a general sense of the neighborhood in which the Texans are going to be playing in extending Watt long-term (assuming they don't utilize the franchise tag on him in 2016). My guess has been for over a year now that the starting point for Watt's eventual extension would be Mario Williams' 6 year, $96 million deal he got from the Bills in 2012, a deal with over $50 million in guaranteed money.

A Watt holdout seems unlikely. However, Watt having some angst behind the scenes would seem somewhat justified. Presumably, he wants to get paid.

Until Tuesday night, the Texans could lean on the fact that they were no different than any of the other teams that hadn't extended their 2011 first rounders. Until Tuesday night, no team had.

And then the Cardinals broke the seal, and all of a sudden the Texans (and a handful of other teams with star 2011 players) are on the clock.

Watt Watch has begun.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.

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