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NFL Draft

Why Texans Shouldn’t Trade Deshaun Watson

  • The Draft Network
  • February 4, 2021
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You’ve seen the photoshops, the hypothetical trade packages, and rumors abound surrounding disgruntled Houston Texans star Deshaun Watson. For couch general managers, it’s as simple as sending a few first-rounders here, a second-round there, and a potential budding star to Houston. Folks, it isn’t that simple. 

“We’ve been told ‘no’ from them directly,” said two league executives in a statement released by Bleacher Report. 

The Texans currently sit $17,914,930 over the 2021 salary cap according to OverTheCap.com. With holes throughout Houston’s roster, newly hired general manager Nick Caserio and head coach David Culley have an abundance of work to do if they want to unload the 25-year-old superstar in Watson. 

If the Texans do decide to trade the former 12th overall selection in the 2017 draft, their cap space will suffer. For 2021 alone on a pre-June 1 designation, Houston loses $5.6 million in space, putting Houston at $23.5 million over the cap. And sure, the Texans have options internally. They could trade J.J. Watt, ship David Johnson out of town, cut a few minor contracts, but still, it’s a roster with glaring needs that went 4-12 with Watson under center. 

The numbers are complicated, but let’s simplify it:

Don’t trade Deshaun Watson.

Ask Caserio, ask Culley, ask any Houston fan and see if they’d rather have Watson or Tua Tagovailoa. How about Watson or Justin Fields? Or even Watson or Zach Wilson? It’s Watson, 99% of the time. It’s exactly why Houston should do everything they can to repair a fractured relationship between Watson and the front office. 

Contrarily, I get that Watson is furious. A potential hold out similar to Le’Veon Bell’s could be in the works if Houston fails to trade him. Culley has publicly expressed his interest to keep Watson, and it could be the first step toward patching a messy relationship the last couple of seasons. 

“If I’m Nick Caserio, if I’m David Culley, I’m going to go find where he is and sit down with him, his agent, anybody else that’s in his influence,” ESPN personality and former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said.

“I bring a yellow pad and I would keep asking question after question: what’s going to make you happy, what’s going to make you fulfilled… And say, hey, let’s just flush the past. Don’t know why it happened, how it happened. We apologize and how can we fix it to move forward?”

The bottom line is this: Unless a team is willing to take on Watson, potentially other Texans contracts, along with shipping a boatload of draft picks and future assets to Houston, the trade won’t occur. 

However, it is the NFL, and crazier things have happened. 

Just last year we saw Watson’s top target, DeAndre Hopkins, shipped off to Arizona in a historic fleecing by Cardinals GM Steve Keim. Arizona gave Houston an aging David Johnson, a couple picks, and a lifetime supply of Sonoran Dogs (Arizona residents know what I’m talking about) for a top-five wideout in Hopkins. The Texans were robbed, and Watson’s anger has only increased since then.

Does a trade seem likely? Yes. Do I disagree with it? No. But Watson is a top-five quarterback in the league at just 25 years old, and Houston should do everything they can to keep him playing under the roof of NRG Stadium for the next decade.

With each passing day, pressure rises on Caserio and Culley to get something done. Whether that includes Watson as a Texan or not, they have to figure out if he’s their quarterback for 2021 and moving forward. If he isn’t, Caserio has to get the best value out of Watson, which diminishes with each passing day as free agency and the NFL draft rapidly approaches.

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