Texans Lose Draft Pick, Fined $175K for Salary-Cap Violation Tied to Deshaun Watson

Doric SamMarch 9, 2023

Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio answers questions during an NFL football news conference formally announcing DeMeco Ryans as the new head coach, at NRG Stadium, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
AP Photo/Michael Wyke

The Houston Texans have been penalized for an infraction stemming from quarterback Deshaun Watson's time with the team.

The NFL announced the Texans will forfeit their 2023 fifth-round pick and will be fined $175,000 for a "salary-cap reporting violation" after it was determined that Watson received "undisclosed compensation in the form of membership at alternative athletic facility in 2020."

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Texans "believe it gave them no salary-cap advantage" and were only paying Watson to train away from the team because Houston's facility was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Texans released a statement saying the franchise "absorbed $26,777 in costs for player benefits for the use of alternative athletic facilities, which it understands should have been charged to player salaries." Houston went on to state it disagrees with the ruling but will accept it, and the franchise "maintains that it had no intention to circumvent any salary-cap rules or gain any sort of competitive advantage."

Houston will have 11 picks in the draft, which will begin April 27. The team owns the No. 2 overall pick as well as the No. 12 selection thanks to trading Watson to the Cleveland Browns last offseason.

This year's draft class is highlighted by a strong crop of quarterback prospects, and there's a belief that the Texans will be able to land a franchise signal-caller with one of their top picks.

The Texans hired former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans as head coach to replace Lovie Smith after a 3-13-1 campaign. He will look to turn around a team that hasn't finished with a winning record since 2019.