Let the staredown begin.
While star quarterback Deshaun Watson has officially requested a trade, according to multiple reports Thursday, the Texans also have some potential recourse to pressure him into staying in Houston.
Watson certainly has plenty of leverage himself, with a no-trade clause in his contract allowing him to have a say in where he could land, but the Texans could also play hardball and hit Watson in the wallet if he chooses to hold out until a trade comes to fruition.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Texans can fine Watson $95,877 for missing minicamp, $50,000 for each day of training camp missed and $620,000 for each preseason game missed. In a nuclear scenario, if Watson were to retire rather than play again for the Texans, they could also collect $21.6 million, per ESPN.
Still, the 25-year-old Watson signed a four-year, $160 million extension in September with $73 million guaranteed at signing. There is no guarantee that the fines will work in getting Watson to continue his career with the Texans.
“Here’s the 1 thing that will impact this situation with Watson more than anything else — his willingness to sit and lose money,” NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah tweeted. “I think he’s a very principled dude and he would be willing to do that. This is how he gains leverage. Threat of financial loss doesn’t bother him.”
It’s a messy situation for new general manager Nick Caserio and head coach David Culley to step into. The Texans reportedly hired Culley as their new coach Wednesday night, but that “has not and will not alter Watson’s thinking,” ESPN reported.