If, as it seems, quarterback Deschawn Watson will never play for the Texans again, and if, it seems, the Texans do not trade with Watson, the stage will be set to hold. Different figures have emerged regarding the monetary losses Watson would have suffered. Below we will try to identify the full range of financial implications if Watson exercises his right under the CBA not to play in 2021.
First, if the off-season in 2021 has a mandatory mini-camp and if Watson misses it, he will be subject to a $ 93,085 fine.
Second, if Watson misses training camp, he will be fined $ 50,000 a day. With 40 days in camp and six mandatory days off, that’s 34 days Watson will miss, with a total fine of $ 1.7 million.
Third, he will be fined in the amount of the regular season check for each pre-season game he misses. With a base salary of $ 10.54 million, that’s $ 620,000 per game. If, as expected, the 2021 season has three pre-season games, he will lose another $ 1.86 million.
Thus, for the off-season, training camp and pre-season, Watson would have fined $ 3.653 million if he did not show up.
If Watson then skips the season – and if the NFL hosts 17 games – he will lose another $ 11.16 million in base salary.
On top of that, missing the season will allow the Texans to restore the distribution of Watson’s signing bonus for 2021. That’s $ 5.4 million in money to pay back.
So, if my math is correct (and rare), skipping 2021 will result in a total financial loss of $ 20.213 million.
Skipping the whole year would also affect Watson’s contract. If he then returns in 2022, his base salary will remain $ 10.54 million (based on 16 games). He currently has a basic salary of $ 20 million of $ 35 million (based on 16 games). That salary will move to 2023, and Watson will make more than $ 24 million less in 2022 than he currently has to earn.
Many believe that Watson is not interested in lost money. In the end, this is his decision. According to the CBA, he has the absolute right to miss the season, subject to the various fines and confiscations described above.
Time will tell if this is the case. The Texans seem to intend to reject all offers and wait for Watson to come out. If the team blinks later, the teams will most likely not get what they could get if they try to attract as many teams to the table as possible now and finalize the best possible compensation package.