How much dead-cap money does the Houston Texans have to deal with in 2024?

The Houston Texans have a lot of cap-space this offseason but how much more could they have had?
Houston Texans v Cincinnati Bengals
Houston Texans v Cincinnati Bengals / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

The Houston Texans have some of the most money to spend this offseason as any team in the NFL. They currently have $67 million to spend this offseason, ranked sixth in the NFL among teams with the most money to spend. It's a rarity to have this much money in any offseason and even more rare when you have a young, inexpensive core that you can quickly make better with a series of Pro Bowl-caliber free agents.

The Texans could have had more money available, however, had they been a little better about bad contracts. The team is 9th in the NFL with the most dead cap money in the league. They currently have $15.348 which is weighing them down from their true total of almost $82 million.

Dead cap money, for those unaware, is money owed to players for one reason or another. Usually, it comes when a player is released, but it can also come in the form of deferred earnings. The Cleveland Browns are a primary example of this, having given guys like Amari Cooper and former Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson voidable years. These years will count against the cap, i.e. dead cap money, even after their respective current contracts expire.

The Texans did something similar with Dalton Schultz, giving some of his signing bonus to him after his contract expired. He's still owed about $3.4 million (rounded up) this upcoming year, despite not having a contract with the Texans. Sheldon Rankings, Jerry Hughes, and Ka'imi Fairbairn are also players who have owed money to them, even though they don't have contracts with the team currently.

Should any of them re-sign with the Texans, they can restructure when that money is owed, but that money will be owed. That's part of the issue with deferring payments, as it may create immediate space today, but it keeps you on the hook for years to come. It's why the New Orleans Saints are such a wreck right now. They kept reworking contracts to massage their cap space.

The Texans would be wise to not fall into the same trappings.