The Houston Texans were going to be one of the teams watched by many this NFL offseason, and not for positive reasons. The team has a disgruntled quarterback in Deshaun Watson, a superstar talent. Watson has had issues with the Texans’ front office over the past few weeks, specifically in their hiring process of the general manager.
Houston has attempted to get in touch with Watson but hasn’t had success. The Texans have wasted Watson’s talent since drafting him, fueled by idiotic deals, lack of a supporting cast, and ownership who embodies the “I’m the boss, you are the player, stick to the field” mindset. The Texans’ worst nightmare just became a reality.
Deshaun Watson has formally requested a trade
It has been expected for quite some time now, but it is official. Deshaun Watson has formally requested a trade from the Texans, per Ian Rapoport. The request hit public airwaves today, but Watson submitted the request weeks ago, according to Rapoport. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported that the Texans organization leaked the news of Watson’s trade request.
The trade request is the culmination of numerous missteps the Texans had in their relationship with Watson. It started back when Bill O’Brien was with the team, trading elite receiver Deandre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals. Watson and Hopkins were close and formed a dangerous quarterback/receiver duo. That was one of the early strikes against the Texans.
The lack of talent is another strike against the team. Watson put together an outstanding season in 2020, leading the league in passing yards. The Texans’ lack of a defense and running game sunk their season, finishing 4-12. Even J.J. Watt apologized to Watson about wasting one of his years. The team fails to protect Watson, being the second most sacked quarterback in football last year.
Things reached a boiling point early this offseason. Texans ownership and executives approached Watson about how they should go about their general manager and head coach search. Watson provided his input and suggestions, only for them to be overlooked. The Texans operated their searches how they saw fit, which angered Watson.
What made things worse was the team didn’t notify Watson of their selection at GM. He found out on social media. Houston has wasted Deshaun’s talent and hasn’t treated him like the franchise QB, so this trade request is their own doing.
Will the Texans Trade Deshaun Watson?
Requesting a trade is one thing, but having a trade request honored and put in motion is another. The Texans know their star quarterback wants to be traded, but will they acquiesce? Houston just gave Waston a four-year, $156 million extension last offseason. So Watson is under contract with the team until 2025.
The Texans have privately said that they are not thinking about trading Watson, according to Adam Schefter. Given his star power, it would make sense to try to keep your quarterback. The Texans hired Nick Caserio as GM and David Culley as head coach. Neither of those hires has changed Watson’s mind. He wants out, no matter who the team hired.
Because of the extension, Houston isn’t in any kind of rush to trade Watson. He is under contract through 2025, and they could keep him longer than that if they wanted to. They could utilize the franchise tag once his contract expires for three consecutive years. That means Watson could be stuck in Houston until 2028.
If Houston doesn’t trade Watson, it could make things worse for the franchise. Even though they have his rights, Watson could simply not report. They will constantly be in the news cycle now until there is a resolution to this situation. So who really has the leverage in the Deshaun Watson drama?
Who has the most leverage?
The situation in Houston is at its worst. Both sides seem to be standing firm on their positions, which could make this a long, drawn-out ordeal. It would be in the Texans’ best interest to remedy this situation quickly, for the sake of their identity as a franchise. Houston has a reputation as an awful organization in terms of player engagement, happiness, and feedback.
Deshaun Watson is a player known for his great character and integrity. He isn’t a player who starts issues or even voices displeasure often. However, he has been vocal about his problems with Houston. This is a telling sign for outsiders, making them believe the Texans have internal issues that are causing Watson’s unhappiness. When Texans legend Andre Johnson speaks out against the team, that’s when Houston lost all the leverage.
Watson has the advantage on many fronts. He has his star power, the franchise’s track history of ineptitude, and the public on his side. This puts the Texans in a tough position. Even though they don’t want to trade Watson, the pressure and potential of him holding out could force their hand. They can’t just make a trade anywhere, as Watson controls his trade destination.
Deshaun Watson has made his desire to leave the Houston Texans public. There are only a handful of teams who shouldn’t inquire about Watson’s services. All other teams should see what it would take to get the star QB. This is just the beginning of what will be a hectic offseason for Watson and the Texans.