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Where Deshaun Watson’s contract ranks after Justin Herbert extension

QB contracts have exploded since last offseason and more is to come

Syndication: USA TODAY Corey Perrine / USA TODAY NETWORK

For the Los Angeles Chargers, QB Justin Herbert has been everything that they could have hoped for. For the Cleveland Browns, QB Deshaun Watson was suspended for most of his first season with the team and played poorly, given expectations, in his return.

Tuesday, the Chargers agreed to a huge five-year contract with Herbert that will pay him over $262.5 million including $100 million paid out in the first season of the deal.

Since Watson signed his deal with the Browns last season, Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts and Kyler Murray have signed big deals. Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson were also given large deals last offseason. While Watson’s deal is the only one fully guaranteed, most quarterbacks get all or most of their money. Usually, extensions are done before a deal is even close to being finished.

For total value, Patrick Mahomes still leads the way with his $450 million deal. Watson’s $230 million now comes in as the eighth-biggest overall deal in the NFL. His yearly average of $46 million is seventh, just ahead of Mahomes’ $45 million.

Soon, Watson may not be in the top 10 of quarterback deals. Joe Burrow is likely to get the biggest yearly deal, Trevor Lawrence is not far behind him while Justin Fields and Tua Tagovailoa have a lot to prove before they get new deals.

A couple of veterans, including Rodgers, could also be up for new contracts. While Kirk Cousins, Dak Prescott, Jared Goff and Rodgers won’t get the same length of deals, each has a chance to get a deal over Watson’s $46 million a year.

Cleveland already restructured Watson’s deal this offseason to create significant cap space. If the team sees a big bounce-back season this year, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the two sides negotiate an extension to open even more space and tie Watson to the Browns for even longer.

In general, teams always benefit from signing quarterbacks as soon as possible. Mahomes’ deal is a great example with the best player in the league locked up for $7 million a year less than Jackson got from Baltimore this offseason.