Texans paid Shaq Lawson $7 million in March, got a sixth-round pick for him in August

At a time when the Texans are trying to drive a hard bargain for quarterback Deshaun Watson, they definitely did not do that for defensive end Shaq Lawson.

After trading for Lawson in March (he came from the Dolphins for linebacker Bernardrick McKinney), the Texans restructured Lawson’s contract, converting more than $7 million in 2021 compensation to a signing bonus. They ultimately got a sixth-round pick for their trouble.

The $7 million write-off for a sixth-round pick comes at a time when the Texans must choose between taking what they can get for Watson now or paying him $10.54 million this year in the hopes of getting more in the offseason. Whatever happens with Watson, the fact that the Texans gave Lawson $7 million in March and then dumped him for a sixth-round pick only five months later underscores that they erred in trading for him and, more importantly, in paying him.

That said, it’s always better for a team to admit a mistake. Doubling down in the hopes of concealing a blunder never makes things any better. But it definitely was a blunder. Draft picks are valuable, but $7 million is a lot to pay in 2021 for what became a sixth-round pick in 2022.

Here’s the question — with $7 million already burned up on a player who won’t be on the team in 2021, will that make the Texans less inclined to pay Watson $10.54 million to not play? If so, that points toward a deal getting done for less than three first-round picks and two second-round picks.