Deshaun Watson’s Contract Details, Salary Cap Impact, and Bonuses


With Deshaun Watson now at the center of trade discussions, how does his contract shape up in terms of salary and bonuses? What does all of it mean for the Houston Texans and the NFL team acquiring his remaining salary if a trade does take place?

Deshaun Watson contract details and bonuses

Right before the 2020 NFL season got underway, Watson seemingly committed his future to Houston. Watson and the Texans agreed to terms on a four-year, $156 million contract extension, with guaranteed salary at signing through 2022.

Watson’s cap number for 2022 is currently $40.4 million. There is $5.4 million in prorated bonus and a $35 million salary. All of that salary is guaranteed for 2022. Additionally, if his contract is active on March 20, 2022, his full roster bonus and salary for 2023 become guaranteed.

Watson has four years remaining on his contract

When Watson signed his deal he was entering the fourth year of his rookie contract. Therefore, 2022 will actually be the first year of the extension, meaning he has four years remaining on the deal. Watson is under contract through the 2025 season and will become a free agent in 2026.

What are the Texans’ options with Watson?

Releasing Watson is likely not something the Texans will consider. Firstly, they would be giving up on getting any value from him. Secondly, they would accelerate a further $10 million onto their cap in the form of dead money.

However, a trade is a very real option in 2022. The Texans would be left with just $16 million in dead money in 2022 in that case. That would represent a savings of $24.2 million compared to Watson’s cap number for 2022.

As for any team trading for Watson, they would take on his salary and roster bonuses for the next four years. There is the $35 million in guarantees this year, and the $37 million next year is a virtual guarantee. After that, however, there would be no more guarantees.

Essentially, a team is trading for a two-year deal worth $72 million. They would then have two club options at $32 million apiece. That would be a very team-friendly deal in a QB market that is looking likely to hit $50 million per year at the top end in the next couple of seasons.

Watson has a no-trade clause in his NFL contract

As part of his contract extension, Watson has a no-trade clause. He has the ability to reject any trades to teams that he would not wish to be traded to. Thus, Watson has some power over his potential destination. The Texans can still have some say, but Watson can veto any potential deal they may accept if he is not happy.

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