If, as it appears, quarterback Deshaun Watson will never play for the Texans again, and if, as it appears, the Texans will not trade Watson, the stage will be set for a heist. Different figures emerged regarding the monetary losses that Watson would suffer. Below we will attempt to identify the full extent of the financial consequences, if Watson exercises his right under the CBA not to play in 2021.
First, if the 2021 offseason has a mandatory minicamp and Watson ignores it, he will be liable to a fine in the amount of $ 93,085.
Second, if Watson skips training camp, he will be fined $ 50,000 a day. With 40 days in camp and six mandatory days off, Watson would miss 34 days, with a total fine of $ 1.7 million.
Third, he would be fined the amount of one regular season game check for each preseason game he misses. With a base salary of $ 10.54 million, that’s $ 620,000 per game. If, as expected, the 2021 season had three preseason games, he would lose another $ 1.86 million.
So, for the offseason, training camp and preseason, Watson would face $ 3.653 million in fines if he didn’t show up.
If Watson then skips the season – and the NFL hosts 17 games – he will lose an additional $ 11.16 million in base salary.
On top of that, skipping the season would allow the Texans to recoup Watson’s signing bonus allowance for 2021. It’s $ 5.4 million he is expected to return.
So, if my math is correct (and it rarely is), skipping 2021 would result in a total financial loss of $ 20.213 million.
Skipping the entire year would also negatively impact Watson’s contract. If, then, he returns in 2022, his base salary would remain at $ 10.54 million (based on 16 games). Currently, he has a 2022 base salary of $ 35 million (based on 16 games). That salary would rise to 2023, and Watson would earn more than $ 24 million less in 2022 than he is currently earning.
Many believe that Watson doesn’t care about the money lost. In the end, it’s his decision. Under the CBA, he has the absolute right to skip the season, subject to the various fines and forfeitures described above.
Time will tell if it is this. The Texans appear to intend to reject all offers and wait for Watson. If the team flashes later, teams are unlikely to get what they could if they tried to get as many teams as possible to the table now and find the best pay possible.