The Houston Texans have the one known commodity every NFL team seeks. Yet, they’ve managed to ruin their relationship with their franchise quarterback despite signing him to a $156 million contract extension in September.
Finally, though, it seems like the AFC South franchise has realized that Deshaun Watson deserves to be heard. Although it remains to be seen if the relationship can be salvaged, the Texans have taken an important step to get things moving in the right direction by requesting a franchise-altering favor from the Chiefs to keep their worst nightmare from coming true.
But will that be enough to convince Watson to want to remain in Houston? Or will new general manager Nick Caserio have to do the unimaginable and trade away the most coveted asset in pro sports?
The Texans created a big problem by ignoring Deshaun Watson
NFL teams would trade basically anything to have a quarterback like Deshaun Watson. And if the Texans fail to fix their relationship with their franchise player, we’ll soon find out just how much a team is willing to pay to acquire the 25-year-old star.
But it didn’t have to come to this point.
After getting rid of Bill O’Brien, Houston could have moved in a new direction. Yet, even though the Texans got rid of one former New England Patriots employee, they actually gave more power to another one.
With Jack Easterby ascending to essentially the top of the organization, that left many to wonder whether the team would go back to New England to find a general manager.
That’s exactly what happened.
Last week, the Texans signed Nick Caserio to a six-year, $30 million contract. The 45-year-old worked as the Patriots’ director of player personnel from 2008-2020. The team won three Super Bowl titles during that stretch and appeared in two more. However, New England has struggled to hit on its draft picks for years and now has a roster thin on talent.
Hiring Caserio also came at a price.
Although Watson didn’t expect the team to necessarily hire one of the candidates he endorsed, he certainly didn’t expect the Texans to neither consider nor consult with anyone he suggested. But according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Houston’s actions (or lack thereof) caused Watson to become “infinitely more bothered” to the point he has discussed the possibility of requesting a trade with his teammates.
Houston has requested a franchise-altering favor from the Chiefs to keep their worst nightmare from coming true
Besides ignoring his candidates for their GM vacancy, the Texans made another mistake with their franchise quarterback in relation to an important hire.
Last week, Albert Breer of The MMQB reported via Twitter that Deshaun Watson advocated for Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy to be considered for Houston’s head coach vacancy. Patrick Mahomes also “put in a strong word” on Bieniemy’s behalf.
Stunningly, the Texans didn’t even put in a request to interview Kansas City’s brilliant OC.
Once again, the team ignored Watson despite the fact Bieniemy is widely viewed as the top head-coaching candidate on the market.
But with their relationship with their franchise quarterback hanging by a thread, the Texans have finally smartened up and taken an important step to repair the damage they caused.
On Tuesday, Ian Rapoport reported via Twitter that the Texans have officially requested an interview with Bieniemy. The 51-year-old has caught the attention of all the other teams looking for a new head coach. Ultimately, the Chiefs OC will get to choose the best fit for his services.
By filing the interview request, the Texans took a step in the right direction to earn Watson’s trust back…assuming that’s even possible. Given his reported support for the former NFL running back, Watson certainly has to be pleased that Houston has at least gotten the ball rolling with Bieniemy.
Of course, the Texans still need the Chiefs to honor their request for a franchise-altering favor. Without Kansas City’s approval, Houston won’t even have a chance to speak with arguably the hottest coaching candidate in the NFL.
Hiring Eric Bieniemy may be the only way to salvage the situation
In reality, bringing Eric Bieniemy aboard seems like a no-brainer move for the Texans.
On one hand, they’d make Deshaun Watson a happy young man by hiring a coach he has personally gone to bat for. Giving their star quarterback what he wants (in this case, at least) would be a smart decision for a franchise that’s made plenty of horrific ones in recent years.
Plus, how can Houston pass up on a coach who has played a key role in Patrick Mahomes’ success? At this point, the team should hand Bieniemy a blank check and give him the keys to the building.
But even if the marriage makes sense for all parties, that doesn’t mean the Texans will hire Watson’s preferred choice.
After all, they ignored his recommendations for the GM role.
So why do they seem to be listening to Watson now?
Maybe when the greatest player in team history tells the face of the franchise to stand his ground, that changes things.
But if the damage is truly beyond the repair, then Texans’ fans worst nightmare will come true. Because if Deshaun Watson listens to Andre Johnson’s advice, Houston will have no choice but to trade away the face of the franchise in short order.
In fact, if the Chiefs don’t do the Texans a favor and grant their interview request, they might as well start scouting quarterbacks for the 2021 NFL draft right now.