Updated: April 17, 2014, 9:45 PM ET
Field Yates | ESPNBoston.com
The Houston Texans have officially exercised the fifth-year option on defensive end J.J. Watt’s contract for the 2015 season, a league source said.
The 2012 Defensive Player of the Year has 36.5 sacks over his first three seasons.
Teams have until May 3 to make a decision on whether to exercise the fifth-year option, which is guaranteed for injury only until the final day of the 2014 league year. It becomes guaranteed at the start of the next league year.
For players drafted in the top 10, the value of the fifth-year option is equal to the transition tag for their position during this offseason.
For players drafted with picks 11-32, the value of the fifth-year option is equal to the average of the 25 highest-paid players at their positions, excluding the top three highest players.
The San Diego Chargers have exercised the fifth-year option on defensive lineman Corey Liuget, according to a source, while the Baltimore Ravens announced they exercised the option on cornerback Jimmy Smith on Thursday.
It is believed the New York Jets have already exercised the option with defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, a source said.
The expectation is that many teams will eventually exercise this option. The Carolina Panthers have strongly suggested they will with quarterback Cam Newton, while the Detroit Lions already have said they will not with defensive tackle Nick Fairley.
One instance that continues to bear monitoring is with San Francisco 49ers’ linebacker Aldon Smith, who was arrested Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport on charges of a false bomb report.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston’s Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.