Deshaun Watson met with Houston’s new head coach David Culley about a week ago. According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, Watson is still adamant on his request to be traded. Watson is prepared to sit if Houston doesn’t trade him.
Watson has become unhappy with the Texans ownership, and their personnel decisions. He is locked up through 2025, he signed a five year extension last summer, but his opinions of the team have obviously changed in the past year, highlighted by the trading of their #1 receiver in Deandre Hopkins.
So why is Houston still refusing to trade Watson?
The Houston Texans would take a cap hit of $21.6 million in dead cap space if they trade Watson. But they will be better off dealing with the dead cap space and a trade return for Watson than they would sitting a top 5 quarterback in the NFL.
The value that the Texans can get for Watson will most likely not be higher than it is right now. If they wait until training camps, pre-season, and then regular season, teams will see that he is really sitting. Once other teams know that Watson is serious about not playing for the Texans, Houston’s options will dwindle. The Texans will end up being desperate, and lose leverage in trade negotiations.
Right now, Houston is not listening to any trade offers. Teams would be willing to throw a boatload of picks and even their young quarterbacks in some situations. If Houston was smart, they would be jumping at offers for Watson.
Potential Trade Destinations
The Dolphins surprised a lot of people last season. They were on the verge of the playoffs, Tua Tagovailoa played very well, Devante Parker and the rest of the offense exceeded expectations. Xavien Howard and Jerome Baker led the defense, and helped the team to 10-6. Swapping Tua for Watson would be a huge upgrade for Miami. That is in no way a knock on Tua’s play, but Watson is a proven talent where Tua is still a prospect. If Houston could turn Watson into Tua and picks I would call that a win. They get a young, highly touted quarterback and then more picks they could use to build their team for the future.
New York Jets
Watson is rumored to be a fan of the Jets head coach signing of Robert Saleh. Watson reportedly recommended that the Texans interview Saleh for their head coach opening.
Aside from the head coach and the allure of New York, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for him to want to go there. They don’t have an elite offense outside of Sam Darnold, their defense is good, not great. Watson might be waiting to see how their draft goes, or if they have any big free agent signings before he decides if he really wants to go to New York.
Dak Prescott is coming off of a gruesome ankle injury suffered last season, and he and the Cowboys have struggled to try and lock him up long term. They could swap Prescott and Watson, obviously they would have to throw in more to the deal, but they would be getting an elite quarterback under contract for 4 years. Houston gets a good young quarterback who is looking to have a bounce back year to get paid.
Any team who doesn’t have their franchise quarterback committed to them should be calling the Texans and making their offers.
Houston is sitting on a potential gold mine in Watson, but that gold is worthless as long as it is in Houston. It is similar to the Patriots trading Rob Gronkowski to Tampa Bay, he was only coming back to play with Brady, they may as well get something in return for him.