ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Tuesday that the Texans will likely need to hire Bieniemy for their head coaching vacancy at the behest of Watson:
"He hasn't formally asked for a trade. We do know that he wants out. But he hasn't articulated specifically that point that, 'I'm demanding a trade.' We know he has a new contract with a no-trade clause, so he would control his own destination. ... I can tell you that Bieniemy would have to be hired. He would have to accept that job, and he'd have to talk Deshaun Watson into staying there for that to happen."
On Sunday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported there is "a growing sense from people in and around the Texans' organization that Deshaun Watson has played his last snap for the team. It's early in the off-season, there's a lot of time left, but Watson's feelings cannot and should not be underestimated."
Schefter added that a source told him the Texans' head coaching vacancy has "gone from the least desirable head coaching job [opening] to the most undesirable head coaching job in the NFL. That's a fact. That's how that job is now looked at by everybody."
Bienemy is one of two potential coaches Watson requested the Texans interview, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. (Robert Saleh, the new head coach of the New York Jets, was the other.) But the Texans reportedly did not request any interviews with Saleh and skipped the opportunity to interview Bieniemy when they could have met with him in person during Kansas City's postseason bye week.
The Texans have since requested an interview with Bieniemy, though Florio reported that "from Watson's perspective, the failure to interview these candidates made no sense, given that the Zoom interviews by video conference are easily arranged and executed."
Additionally, Houston's decision to never interview Saleh and to delay an interview with Bieniemy "is being regarded by Watson as a sign of disrespect, given that ownership specifically included him in the process."
Texans legend Andre Johnson publicly coming to the defense of Watson and blasting executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby, who reportedly isn't a popular figure with Watson and many of the team's players, wasn't a good look for the organization:
Andre Johnson @johnson80
If I’m @deshaunwatson I will stand my ground. The Texans organization is known for wasting players careers. Since Jack Easterby has walk into the building nothing good has happened in/for the organization and for some reason someone can’t seem to see what’s going on. Pathetic!!!
Watson hasn't been shy about his unhappiness, either:
Things are a mess in Houston, creating a poor situation for a new head coach to walk into. Inheriting a disgruntled superstar isn't exactly foreign to Houston sports these days, though. Just ask Stephen Silas of the Houston Rockets.
But it would appear only Bieniemy has a chance to salvage the relationship between Watson and the Texans.