Everybody’s thinking it, so I’ll just say it: former Gainesville High and Clemson and current Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson deserves better than what the Houston Texans organization has given him.
Through three-and-a-half seasons, Watson has accumulated nearly 15,000 passing yards to go along with over 100 passing touchdowns, not to mention his rushing production (1,700 yards and 17 TDs on the ground). This season alone, Watson completed better than 70% of his passing attempts for more than a league-best 4,800 yards with 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.
He had over 400 yards and three more scores on the ground. It was an MVP-caliber season from an MVP-caliber player.
And yet, Houston won just four games, giving up more than 30 points in half of their contests and losing five straight to close out the year despite topping 20 points in all but one of those games.
The latest disappointment for Watson comes less than a year after the Texans defense succumbed to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in the divisional round of last season’s playoffs, blowing a 24-0 lead and eventually getting blown out by the eventual Super Bowl champs.
It also follows an offseason during which Houston’s continuously inept front office traded away one of the most dynamic receiving threats in the NFL in DeAndre Hopkins for aging and oft-injured running back David Johnson and a couple of picks (none of them in the first round).
In fact, an in-season trade with the Dolphins from 2019 means the Texans don’t even have their own first-round pick this year, the third overall selection that now belongs to a much sturdier-looking Dolphins team that has actually attempted to surround its young quarterback with talent.
In two short years, former Texans coach and general manager Bill O’Brien dragged the team down from a potential championship contender on the rise to one of the worst teams in the league, forcing Watson into a difficult situation. Team loyalty is all well and good, but there’s no sense for Watson, a rising star in the league, to continue wasting away his career with one of the more perennially unsuccessful clubs in the NFL.
Houston has won 10 or more games just four times in its 19-season history.
The Texans have never advanced past the divisional round of playoffs.
And while the 2018 and 2019 seasons looked promising for Houston, 2020 was as harsh a return to reality as could have been reasonably expected.
As Watson himself Tweeted on Wednesday of this week, “some things never change….”
Following Houston’s disappointing 41-38 loss to the Tennessee Titans, that capped off a campaign memorable only for Watson’s heroic performances being ruined by horrendous defensive efforts, Texans defensive end and future Hall of Famer JJ Watt apologized to Watson for “wasting” one of the young quarterback’s prime years.
"I'm sorry, we wasted one of your years."— NFL Films (@NFLFilms) January 5, 2021
Watt to Watson after a tough season. pic.twitter.com/mcTVK3ZeJG
But it isn’t the 31-year-old Watt, a five-time first-team All-Pro and three-time Defensive Player of the Year who just recorded five sacks and 14 tackles, who should be dishing out apologies to Watson.
It’s the Texans organization itself, who did the right thing by drafting Watson with the 12th overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft and hasn’t done much right else since, that needs to beg for the Gainesville native’s forgiveness.
I’m not sure if the rumors of Watson seeking a trade this offseason are true, but if they are, they’re warranted. And if the Texans want to hold onto their young superstar, they’d better make changes, and fast. Because based on his production four years into his promising career, Watson deserves better.
And he’s not getting it in Houston.