Deshaun Watson Considering Trade Demand?

Multiple reports over the past few days have indicated that quarterback Deshaun Watson is unhappy with the Texans, and Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com has thrown his hat into the ring. Mortensen says that the rumblings about Watson’s displeasure are accurate, and that Watson could even demand a trade (Twitter links).

In addition to Watson’s concerns about how the Texans’ GM search unfolded, which we have already detailed, Mortensen says the three-time Pro Bowl passer continues to be concerned about the team’s insensitivity to social justice issues. In Watson’s view, that insensitivity manifested itself in the team’s decision to not interview Chiefs’ OC Eric Bieniemy, who is black, one of the hottest head coaching candidates in this year’s cycle, and a personal favorite of Watson’s (though Mortensen clarified in a later tweet that Watson’s anger is not “strongly connected” to social justice matters and is more related to the state of the franchise).

And according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, Watson is not just upset by the fact that owner Cal McNair did not consider the GM or head coaching candidates that Watson endorsed, despite assurances that he would at least take his quarterback’s opinions into account. McNair, who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to have the search firm Korn Ferry assist with the GM and HC hunt, ultimately disregarded the firm’s GM recommendations. Korn Ferry tabbed Steelers vice president of football and business administration Omar Khan and current ESPN analyst Louis Riddick as the two most viable candidates for the GM position, but McNair instead forged ahead with Nick Caserio, whom he had been targeting for some time.

Schefter went on to say that Watson, whose anger level on a scale of 1 to 10 was a 2 when the team traded wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins last year, is currently at a 10. While Caserio said in his introductory press conference that Watson is the Texans’ quarterback — thereby implying he would not trade him — Watson could certainly make life difficult for Caserio if he chooses to do so.

Interestingly, a Watson trade would not be as damaging to the Texans’ books as one might think, given that the Clemson product just signed a massive extension earlier this year. A trade would leave Houston with just $21.6MM in dead money for the 2021 season, and as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes, multiple GMs believe the Texans could acquire up to three first-round picks in a Watson deal.

Watson does have a no-trade clause written into his new contract, but according to Mortensen, he would consider a trade to the Dolphins. Of course, Houston would have had the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 draft, but it traded that selection, along with its 2021 second-rounder, to Miami as part of the Laremy Tunsil swap in 2019. The Dolphins, who also hold their own first-round selection in this year’s draft (No. 18 overall) have the capital and the cap space to get a deal done.

Mortensen suggests that Tua Tagovailoa would head to Houston as part of a Watson trade, which would be a controversial and career-defining move if Caserio were to make it. Obviously, that is little more than speculation at this point, but it appears Watson’s feelings towards the Texans will be a major storyline of this offseason.

In related news, Korn Ferry named Colts DC Matt Eberflus as one of the top candidates for the Texans’ HC vacancy, according to Albert Breer of SI.com (via Twitter). McNair at least tried to interview Eberflus, but Eberflus turned down the request. Breer notes in a separate tweet that Houston is also eyeing Bills OC Brian Daboll, who has interviews lined up with the Chargers and Jets.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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68 comments on “Deshaun Watson Considering Trade Demand?

  1. jjd002

    He’s not going anywhere. Besides the fact that trading a top 5 QB in his prime would be beyond stupid, nobody would offer anything near what it would take to get him. Much ado about nothing.

  2. badco44

    Geez, did not get my way, so pack up my toys and leave? I think they call that spoiled rotten? Don’t they?

      • petersdylan36

        You guys are totally missing the point here.
        The Texans told him he would be involved and then did no involve him.
        If your boss told you you could do something and then ended up lying about it, would you be happy?

        The blame is on the Texans. They did not have to tell him he could be included. They could have avoided all this by not telling that. They lied to him. This is on the Texans.

        I’m so tired of people thinking that just because sports stars make millions, they are not allowed to voice their opinions and express when they are unhappy.

        • crosseyedlemon

          There’s a big difference between telling someone you will listen to their opinions and telling them they will be able to decide who the next GM, HC or OC will be. Watson didn’t get his guy but Caserio seems like someone who could fix most of the offensive problems. Watson should grow up, stop sulking and give Nick a chance.

          • CamFrost

            He has no issue with Caserio. That was already reported. McNair said he wanted to have Watson involved and Watson gave names as a voice for the players. McNair didn’t consider any of the people Watson requested. The issue is how the team is being run. Which we can all see has been poor for years. He doesn’t need to “grow up.” He sees a pattern that isn’t going away with the ownership in place. You’d leave your job too if you believed it wasn’t going in a positive direction.

            • Tommy

              He was involved. He gave them names on guys he likes. What makes him an expert on what would make a good GM? How do you know the team didnt look into those names and then realize they werent good picks. He does need to grow up. He is throwing a temper tantrum because they didnt choose one of the guys he listed. Hes a quarterback….doesnt really make him automatically a good business man

              • CamFrost

                The ownership hasn’t proven to be competent either. Don’t ask to be involved and then still go hire the guy you almost got tampering on after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to help in the search and then disregard their services. It’s so funny how many people will just side with the owners over players simply because they’re the owner. Cal McNair has been an embarrassment to this franchise since he took the lead.

        • b.kline

          From reports I’ve seen, Watson gave names on GM candidates he liked or had heard good things on. That sounds like “involving” him to me. It may not have been to the level he wanted but it’s not his position. He was asked for an opinion, gave it and the Texans chose someone else. Watson gas bo reason to act like an entitled brat over it.

        • fungie22

          At end of the day your boss or owner of business are in charge. Do you have a voice in your job?? It’s common sense.

        • halos2017

          The difference here is if I’m unhappy my company isn’t trading me. I can get fired or I can quit but I can’t get traded. When he goes public about it then that affects his trade value. Unhappy players will get the team less back in return because they know he wants to be traded. Goff and 2 future second round picks for Watson

  3. crosseyedlemon

    Watson won’t accomplish anything by getting himself traded. No other organization is going to let him influence FO decisions either.

    • atuck_sfg

      Not all other FO are as messed up as the Texans are where they’d feel the need to tell their qb that they will be involved in FO decision making…

      • Ed "The Mythical One"

        Everything is awesome with your post save for the part that it is wrong.

        They didn’t tell him he would be involved in the decision making. They said they would listen to opinions. There’s a huge difference.

        • PatsFanBiff

          By listening to opinions, that does in fact make someone involved in decision making

  4. Yep it is

    He was told he would at least be considered and wasn’t. Don’t tell him that if you aren’t going to do it.

    • crosseyedlemon

      Just because his opinions weren’t acted on doesn’t mean they weren’t considered. I could sympathize with him a bit if he actually had some qualifications or experience at making FO decisions but he’s no more qualified than the team mascot. Would you want the team mascot deciding who the next GM and HC are going to be?

      • Michael Chaney

        Are you comparing a mascot to their franchise quarterback? They have a total of two elite players on their team, and one of them is him. They’d be in their best interest to keep him happy.

        The issue isn’t that they have to bow down to Watson (they don’t have to blindly follow everything he says), but if your franchise quarterback is unhappy then you’re not going far. Watson doesn’t have the qualifications to guide a front office, but this is also the organization that let Bill O’Brien and still lets Jack Easterby call the shots. So it’s not really like they care much about who’s most qualified anyway.

        • Michael Chaney

          Also, even WITH Watson playing at an elite level, they went 4-12. They’d better be kissing the ground he walks on, because they very well could have gone 0-16 or 1-15 without him. This is a pretty terrible roster.

        • crosseyedlemon

          As I stated in an earlier post, there are plenty of players on losing teams that are not happy. Do you grant them all consultant privileges like Watson? If you only let the QB or the highest paid player make FO recommendations your going to create some dissension within the team. Looking at the bigger picture, it’s obvious that if Watson is allowed to dictate FO decisions, then Aaron Rodgers will make even more of an effort to get the same power with the Packers. Eventually you would have most of the starting QBs in the league expecting to have a say on FO decisions.

          • Michael Chaney

            Honestly, that’s just the direction the league is going in. It’s already happened in the NBA, and it really isn’t that different with franchise quarterbacks.

            When one player is so essential to the success of your team, he’s got leverage. It’s his team, and as he goes, so do you. You can do things your own way and not cave into what he wants, but you’re not gonna have a very good team and no one cares about whether or not you made a stand if you’re not winning games. In the end, it’s just worth it to make them happy because that’s how you’ll get the best out of them.

            • crosseyedlemon

              I don’t think the NBA is a valid comparison. You don’t have 55 players on a NBA roster and the game of basketball is nowhere near as physical as football, which means there is less chance of a career ending injury. With regards to your other point, should the objective for players be to gain leverage and bring management to their knees? Doesn’t the team concept function better with everyone performing their best at their assigned role?

              • Michael Chaney

                The comparison between the two sports isn’t what I was getting at, it’s more so that a franchise QB plays as big a role in your team’s success as a superstar in the NBA. One player can make or break an NBA team, just like a QB can in the NFL.

                I also don’t think that players should hold management hostage and demand everything be done their way. I’m also a Cavs fan, and it came off like that both times that they had LeBron. But he singlehandedly made them relevant the first time, and he carried them to a title the second time. In the grand scheme of things, the least you can do is talk with your superstar and make sure that his voice is being heard because he’s the one going out there and making things work on the field (or court). You don’t have to ask Watson who he’d pick in the draft, but if you’re making a serious decision you’d be best served checking in with him first. If you’re interested in a coaching candidate and Watson doesn’t think he could work with him, you should know that before you hire him.

                The goal isn’t to let the player run the show, it’s to make sure that you can work together with the player.

  5. CamFrost

    Don’t blame Watson for possibly wanting to leave this sorry organization. Too interested in trying to become Patriots South and run by a complete clown. He and JJ deserve way better.

  6. phillyballers

    If you look at this in totality bc its Houston and Miami. They gave up 2 1sts, and a 2nd for Tunsil, a 4th, and a 6th.

    If they trade Watson for Tua, they would get back their 1st, and an additional 1st. So at the end of the day it’s like they traded Watson and a 2nd for Tunsil, Tua, and a 4th and 6th. As much of a Tua supporter that I am… he hasn’t looked great. I’d have to get at least another 1st from Miami. And some kind of conditional pick if Tua never makes a Pro Bowl during his current contract.

    • Lars MacDonald

      Houston is in a tough spot here because they only have a few options:
      – keep him and try to repair the relationship
      – keep him and tell him to suck it up
      – trade him from a position of weakness

      Houston also won’t get back anywhere near what people are speculating because teams know Houston is over a barrel.
      And, If Miami really thinks Tua will be their guy with more time and experience, then they would never do this trade because a stud QB on a rookie contract is a huge advantage for any NFL team.

    • Jcool90

      It was his first season and after your coach pulled you from week 16. What else do you expect the last gameq

  7. GoChargers

    People can talk all they want about whether or not Watson is spoiled or not but at the end of the day, quarterback is the most important position in all of sports and the Texans have a top 5 young superstar at the position although has carried the team on his back but all the Texans have done is make the weight on his back more heavy.

    • crosseyedlemon

      It actually doesn’t matter if you play the most important position or can carry a team on your back because the irrefutable truth in all team sports is that NO ONE IS IRREPLACEABLE.

  8. bestno5

    Sounds like he was consulted if he was able to submit names of people he liked. Plus Casiero was their choice last year until the Pats threatened a lawsuit.

    He is a a great QB and should focus on being the best QB he can be. If being in the front office is something he wants to do in the future then he should express that and spend time learning what goes in your there.

  9. HailRodgers12$

    I feel like unless it was written into his contract, that he’d be involved, or officially consulted with on GM or coaching candidates, his recommendations are just that. And not hiring or even interviewing them is irrelevant.
    The owner has final say.
    As for the comparison about any of us peons being asked our opinion at work. I doubt many of us have been asked by the owner who we think our new boss/supervisor/manager should be. And those who have been, weren’t working for a business worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Probably be fired or demoted real quick if we made our dissatisfaction public.

  10. mcmillankmm

    Hopefully they can smooth it out, it would be a colossal failure on Houston’s end to be forced to trade him.

  11. Johnny Dollar

    Tua and the 18th and the 50th, Miami has all the leverage, especially if Watson decides to sit out. If they don’t want that if your Grier you walk away!

  12. bigeasye

    I understand his frustration with everything he’s gone through and how big a part of the team he is. That being said if you are a player and you get the second largest contract in pro football history, you don’t have the right to ask for a trade. I’m tired of these players (Harden as well, Houston?) securing the big contract and them asking out.
    I hope this works out but it’s a bad signal for people out there struggling to work to see a guy who makes 40mill a year say he’s not happy and he wants to move somewhere else.

  13. Ak185

    Well, right now it’s just a rumor. Watson is just “considering” asking for a trade. He hasn’t actually done it yet. And Mortensen and others are our sources for his words-while those guys likely know more than we do, only Watson and those close to him actually know what’s in his head. Until this request becomes official and tangible, let’s ease back and let the situation develop.

    Maybe it comes to fruition, and Watson begs out, or maybe he’s just frustrated and talking with Caserio can fix it. Or maybe there was misinterpretation to some degree by the reporters. Any of those things are in some way possible.

    Unhappy players “consider” trade requests all the time, just like a lot of us “consider” quitting our jobs. There’s a line between “considering” and doing that makes all the difference. I think that we should wait until Watson makes the request and lets us know his reasoning to make judgements on it.

  14. rxbrgr

    So Watson views Bieniemy being gifted the Texan HC job a matter of sensitive social justice? Shouldn’t Bieniemy earning a gig, as I’m sure he soon will, be seen as a matter of personal achievement, hard work and merit instead?

    • rocky7

      Interesting that for such a highly touted candidate for a head coaching job since what seems like forever, Bieniemy still hasn’t landed a gig a yet…..makes you wonder if he actually is as good as his press clippings and as good as his head coach props him up to be.

  15. bowserhound

    I can totally see how this got here; DW was just the QB until they traded Hopkins and DW was just like ‘Yo, WTF are you guys doing?’, and of course the front office was kissing up to him by telling him he is the face of the franchise and he can assist in what the direction the team is headed from here. Situation smoothed over unitil good ‘ol Cal decided to renege on that.
    Sure he’s just a player, but if someone told you that you could have a cookie, and then ate them all themself, you’d be upset.

    • Ed "The Mythical One"

      Except they said, “You can tell us what kind of cookie you would like to have.” And didn’t say, “You can have whatever cookie you want.”

    • I Beg To Differ

      Darnold, the #2 this year, and the Seattle pick next year.

      Jets get Watson, keep the Seattle pick this year to get Watson help (the RB from Clemson or Alabama).

      Houston picks up an immediate replacement at QB in Darnold. They should trade the #2 pick and stockpile draft assets to build the roster and look for a franchise QB in 2022 class.

      Id trade the #2 pick

  16. Always amazed at how quick fans are to hate on the players and suck up to ownership.

    Watson is one of the best QBs in the league and probably the best player on the team (maybe Watt, but imo Watson is better/more important). Ownership/management is the same group of clowns who gave Bill O’Brien the keys to the franchise and stood idly by while he destroyed everything and turned them into a laughing stock.

    But yeah, sure. Watson is a ‘spoiled brat’ for wanting a say in the decision making process. Because he should have total confidence in the front office clown car as they waste more of his prime years, right? He should just not say anything or show he cares, yes? Give me a break.

    Just admit you don’t respect players who make their fortunes playing a game but weirdly idolize the billionaire owners who made it via business.

    • HailRodgers12$

      If you owned a multimillion dollar business or pro sports franchise, would you base your biggest decisions on what an hourly wager or non-management salaried employee recommended?
      The situations aren’t that similar, but the logic is. As the person who writes the checks and risks financial loss, i don’t think many owners do, or should, allow employees to decide who their immediate bosses will be.

    • I Beg To Differ

      If Watson had the background to suggest he had reasons for the candidates he suggested from a business perspective or howd it would make the franchise better….. itd make sense. Unfortunately Watson isn’t exactly knowledgeable in that regard.

      Now, if you asked Watson input on who to bring in free agent wise and player wise or his opinion on players they should look at in the draft cause he feels they’d fit into the system they’re trying to do that’d be something he’d be knowledgeable about.

      Watson saying “I like him I think he do good” isn’t exactly a race review.

    • crosseyedlemon

      I don’t think fans hate Watson but it’s hardly surprising he is getting little sympathy. The country has been devastated by Covid, the NFL has lost tons of revenue and millions of Americans have lost their jobs. Pretty dumb in a situation like that to start whining because you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

  17. arty!

    I keep reading any trade offers would take multiple 1st’s & more. Isn’t he mad they don’t have draft capital build around him?

  18. houston turmoiler

    Writing anything about this situation without mentioning Jack Easterby is problematic. Easterby is THE issue with the organization. The players are upset with him and perceive him to be the snake behind the scenes of most of the turmoil in the organization. And most fans and media people here feel like he has Cal McNair on puppet strings.

    The Caserio hire is believed to have happened when Easterby convinced McNair to ignore the search firm’s recommendations, thereby ensuring Easterby’s job in the organization (they’re reportedly close from their NE days).

    Watson isn’t alone in his disdain for Easterby and everything he controls within the organization. The issue isn’t so much hiring Caserio, it’s the belief that Easterby will get to stay. Many around here don’t feel this will truly be a fresh start as long as he’s still employed.

    It remains to be seen whether Watson will issue an “Easterby or me” ultimatum, but could be where this is headed. Personally, I don’t fault Watson one bit. Easterby at this point is a massive distraction and needs to go.

    • crosseyedlemon

      If Easterby is toxic to the Texans like Coughlin was with the Jags then he will get ousted as well. This is an issue for the owner and management staff to resolve though, so Watson should calm down and let them work it out.

  19. eyeofthebeholder13

    Aaron Rogers wanted weapons to surround him in the 2020 NFL draft and the front office went QB. Players don’t make personnel decisions, the front office does.

  20. eyeofthebeholder13

    The Dolphins’s would crap all over Tua if they trade him after a limited season with no prep. Unless they really don’t like what they see… Interesting to hear insider info on this one.

  21. CastielStrife

    If we’re talking Harden, I’d agree that he is acting spoiled and all that. This isn’t Harden. This isn’t MOST athletes who demand trades. This is a guy who has seen his team gutted by an incompetent coach and owner. A guy who saw his number one receiving target get traded for peanuts and didn’t blink an eye. A guy who, like the rest of us, probably thought maybe now that said coach was gone there would be a brighter future. Instead, the owner doesn’t even interview one of the most sought-after coaches in the NFL, and after offering a job to another GM (one recommended by the group HE hired) he listens to Easterby and ONCE AGAIN (after many, even himself have tried and failed) tries to model the Patriots instead of attempting to find a new identity for his team. I’d want to leave too. This is 100% on the Texans. Watson is an incredible talent with a good head on his shoulders, and like many fans he is just fed up.

  22. californiatribesman

    No sympathy for Watson. You resigned to that dumpster fire when you didn’t have to.

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