Saturday’s excellent SI.com article that looked into a chaotic couple of weeks for the Texans reports, among other things, that quarterback Deshaun Watson “just wants out.” He quite possibly does, but he has not officially asked for that to happen.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Watson has not specifically requested a trade, yet.
Although it’s moving in that direction, Watson realizes that using those words will take the situation past the point of no return. This means that, for now, it’s not past the point of no return.
But it won’t be easy to turn things around. The same organization that made the mess will now have to un-make it.
It hasn’t gone well so far. The Texans invited Watson to give input for both the G.M. hire and the head-coaching hire. He did, and the team disregarded his input. The Texans initially ignored his recommendation that Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy be interviewed for the head-coaching job. As reported last night, the Texans completely ignored Watson’s recommendation that former 49ers defensive coordinator (and now Jets head coach) Robert Saleh be interviewed for the job.
To those who point out that quarterbacks aren’t supposed to play that kind of a role in the management of a team, two points: (1) the Texans asked him to play that role; and (2) since quarterbacks are expected to be quasi-members of management, why shouldn’t they play that kind of a role in the management of a team?
Consider the specific dynamics in Houston. Texans owner Cal McNair and executive V.P. of football operations Jack Easterby made the decision to hire Nick Caserio to serve as the next G.M. How are McNair and Easterby more qualified than Watson to make that call?
McNair and Easterby have made three past General Manager decisions, none of which went well. First, they tried (and failed) to hire Caserio. Second, they decided to proceed without a G.M. Third, they decided to make former head coach Bill O’Brien the G.M., a decision that was undone after only four games in 2020.
As a result of those decisions, the Texans didn’t get enough for Jadeveon Clowney (and paid too much of his 2019 salary), the Texans gave up too much for Laremy Tunsil, and the Texans were snookered by the Cardinals for receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
So what can the Texans do at this point to avoid getting an official trade request from Watson? The only thing to do is to make the best head-coaching hire that they can, and to hope that the new coach can figure out how to get Watson to stop short of asking to be traded.