The Houston Texans reportedly desire to repair their relationship with superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson rather than trade him, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Thursday that Watson officially requested a trade "weeks ago."
The Texans hired former Baltimore Ravens assistant head coach, passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach David Culley as their new head coach Wednesday, but Schefter noted that the hire has not changed Watson's mind about wanting to play elsewhere.
Schefter (h/t ESPN's Sarah Barshop) reported this month that Watson was unhappy with the Texans organization after it hired former New England Patriots executive Nick Caserio as the new general manager without consulting him.
Texans CEO Cal McNair told John McClain of the Houston Chronicle that he wanted Watson to be involved in the hiring process of a new head coach, but it is unclear if that happened.
During his four-year NFL career, Watson is already a three-time Pro Bowler, and he is coming off his best season statistically.
Although the Texans only went 4-12 in 2020, Watson completed 70.2 percent of his passes for an NFL-high 4,823 yards to go along with 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. He also rushed for 444 yards and three scores.
Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reported last week that Watson desired a trade to the AFC East and ranked the New York Jets ahead of the Miami Dolphins in terms of his preferred destinations.
Since Watson has a no-trade clause in his contract, he will have say in where he lands should the Texans decide to trade him.
The Texans are under no obligation to make a deal, though, since Watson is signed through the 2025 season after inking a four-year, $156 million extension in September.
If the Texans try to keep Watson against his reported wishes, it could turn into a standoff in which Watson holds out and attempts to sit out the 2021 season in order to force a trade.
Trading away a quarterback of Watson's caliber would be a big blow to the Texans franchise, although they could land a huge package of draft picks in return.
Since the Jets own the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft and the Dolphins own the No. 3 pick, trading Watson to one of those teams could land them a top QB prospect in addition to many more picks this year and in future years.