The Houston Texans have been publicly adamant about it: They have no plans of trading quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Well, Watson is reportedly willing to force their hand.
On Thursday, NFL Network’s Michael Giardi reported that he spoke to an active NFL player who is “good friends” with Watson. The player reportedly believes that Watson will not show up for the Texans this season and will sit until he is traded.
If Watson trying intends to hold out this season rather than play for Houston and forces the Texans’ hand, that would put one of the NFL’s most talented quarterbacks on the open market at the age of 25. Essentially, he’d be the most enticing trade target in recent NFL history.
Watson has long been reported to be unhappy with the situation in Houston. However, the organization seems keen on trying to repair the relationship with its franchise quarterbacks.
A key figure in trying to keep Watson with the Texans will be former New England Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio, who took the Texans GM job this offseason.
Speaking to media last month, Caserio didn’t even take questions before planting his flag in trying to keep Watson in town.
“Organizationally, we want to reiterate our commitment to Deshaun Watson,” Caserio said. “We have zero interest in trading the player.”
The Texans’ new head coach, David Culley, shared a similar sentiment.
“He is a Houston Texan,” the new coach said. “I want him to be a Houston Texan. The reason I’m in this position today is because I know he’s going to be a Houston Texan.”
The Texans have already parted ways with one of their generational talents this offseason by releasing star defensive end J.J. Watt, who is currently a free agent.
The team’s choice to cut Watt and refuse to trade Watson is not a particularly great look for the team. However, the two players are in different points in their career.
Watson is a young franchise quarterback. If he was traded, the team would not only lose their franchise cornerstone, they would also be hit with a significant cap hit due to Watson’s guaranteed money on his recent extension.
Watt, on the other hand, is toward the end of his career and freed up a good deal of cap space by being cut.
As things stand, that market for Watson (and even Watt) remains hazy. There have been rumblings that teams like the Miami Dolphins would be willing to make a big play. However, the Texans’ decision to draw a line in the sand has slowed down trade talks tremendously.
For now, it’s a standoff between the team and organization. We’ll just have to wait and see who blinks first.
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