Not so fast.
A day after news broke of Deshaun Watson requesting a trade, new Houston Texans GM Nick Caserio made it clear he hasn’t given up on keeping him in the fold, setting up a standoff with the franchise QB.
“Organizationally, we want to reiterate our commitment to Deshaun Watson” he said at Friday’s press conference to introduce head coach David Culley. “We have zero interest in trading the player.”
While Watson’s frustration with the franchise has little to do with Caserio and Culley personally, there has been no indication they will be able to change his mind.
The 25-year-old Clemson alum had expected to have a say in the team’s new leadership after a dismal 4-12 season. That didn’t appear to happen with the team hiring Ceserio without notifying Watson.
Culley, on his first official day with the team, tried to throw some optimism at the looming ugliness.
“He is a Houston Texan,” the 65-year-old first-time head 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.”
That positivity may be misplaced. Watson, whose four-year, $156 million contract runs through 2025 with a no-trade clause, has most of the leverage in this case, and is reportedly “dug-in” on being dealt. The Texans can do little more than fine him if he refuses to show up, though NFL Network reported that he’s willing to “sit and lose money.”
Numerous teams are expected to be in the trade market for Watson, who led the NFL with a career-high 4,823 passing yards and threw for a personal best 33 touchdowns in 2020. The Jets could put together an intriguing package spearheaded by the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but they’ll have to compete with AFC East foes from New England and Miami, as well as the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers.