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Is J.J. Watt's Contract The Key To Keeping Derek Newton, Kareem Jackson, And Ryan Mallett?

The contract of the highest paid defensive player in football could be the source of creating enough money to keep several of the Texans' free agents in Houston. Read on to learn why March 24, 2015 is important for the Texans' offseason plans.

The key to the Texans' offseason?
The key to the Texans' offseason?
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

We've discussed the important dates on the 2015 NFL calendar before, but we have not talked about any dates of specific importance to the Houston Texans as it concerns the contracts of specific players. Fortunately, Joel Corry has done just that. While there's only one Texans-specific note in the piece, it's a doozy.

March 24

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt's $10 million roster bonus, which is already fully guaranteed, is payable. After this date, the Texans lose the ability to lower Watt's $21.969 million 2015 cap number with a conversion of his roster bonus to signing bonus. For example, $15.36 million of cap space could be created by converting $9.2 million of his $9.969 million 2015 base salary and the $10 million roster bonus before March 24.

Brett has touched on the Texans' potential cap flexibility in light of the projected increase to the 2015 salary cap, but that didn't take into account the additional dollars available should the Texans convert Watt's roster bonus as detailed above. That looms large for retaining the services of Derek Newton, Kareem Jackson, and/or Ryan Mallett.  Or, if the team doesn't want to keep all of those players, possibly adding new pieces of note to the roster.

Feeling better about the Texans' cap situation after reading that?