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Texans forfeit 2023 fifth-round pick, fined $175K for salary cap reporting violation

The Houston Texans were docked their original fifth-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and fined $175,000 for a salary cap reporting violation, the NFL announced on Thursday.

The league said in a release that it determined that, in 2020, Houston provided then-Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson with undisclosed compensation in the form of a membership at an alternative athletic facility.

Houston said in a statement that it did not intend to circumvent salary cap rules, but would accept the league's discipline.

"During the 2020 league year and while its facilities were closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic," the Texans said, "the Club absorbed $26,777 in costs for player benefits for the use of alternate athletic facilities, which it understands should have been charged instead to player salaries.

"The Club has fully cooperated with the League in 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 owns the second and 12th overall picks in the first round of the 2023 draft, one selection in the fifth round and 10 total, as of now; the NFL has yet to release its full slate of compensatory picks and finalize the draft order.

The Texans traded Watson to the Cleveland Browns during the 2022 offseason. Watson was suspended for 11 games during the 2022 season and fined $5 million for violating the NFL's personal-conduct policy.

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