Houston Texans docked draft pick for Deshaun Watson-related violation

At this point, it is safe to say that the Houston Texans are winning the Deshaun Watson blockbuster trade with the Cleveland Browns last offseason.

Watson was suspended the first 11 games of last season after more than two dozen women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. He struggled in limited action with the Browns. All the while, Houston received three first-round picks and change for a player Cleveland ultimately signed to a fully guaranteed $230 million contract.

This latest piece of information doesn’t change that. Though, it will have an impact on the Houston Texans 2023 NFL Draft plans.

The NFL has docked Houston a fifth-round pick for a salary cap violation. During the COVID-centric 2020 season, the Texans apparently had Watson work out at an alternate site and did not mention that compensation or benefit to the league. This is against NFL rules.

After the league announced said punishment, Houston released a statement.

Related: 2023 Houston Texans mock draft

“The club has fully cooperated with the league and its investigation of these matters and maintains that it had no intention to circumvent any salary cap rules or gain any sort of competitive advantage. While we disagree with the league’s ruling, we will accept the imposed discipline and move forward.”

Houston Texans statement on NFL ruling

It was obviously an honest mistake. No team is going to risk losing a valuable draft pick in order to hide a mere $26,777 from the salary cap. That’s what it paid out to Watson to work out at an alternate facility during a season in which COVID-related rules were pretty strict around the NFL.

As for the punishment handed down to the Houston Texans, the loss of any draft pick is impactful for a team that has won all of 11 games over the past three seasons. For what it’s worth, the punishment also came with a lofty $175,000 fine.

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