The New York Jets hired Robert Saleh as their head coach this offseason, but the former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator was apparently a popular choice in the Houston Texans locker room as well.
Peter King broke down the situation in his latest Football Morning in America column, noting Saleh was a favorite of Deshaun Watson's. What's more, the team not interviewing him for its head coaching vacancy before ultimately hiring David Culley "turned off the locker room."
It reportedly wasn't the only source of contention inside Houston's locker room, as King reported Houston's decision to keep executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby "further soured the players, including Watson."
According to the report, "even some respected veterans on the teams have, in effect, told Watson, Go ahead. Go. We love you. We don't want you to get trapped here. You don't owe us anything."
Whether the Texans ultimately trade Watson will be one of the biggest stories of the entire offseason.
He is just 25 years old, has three Pro Bowl selections in four years and led the NFL in passing yards in 2020. He is the franchise cornerstone, and it will surely cost another team plenty in any potential trade even if Watson is unhappy in Houston.
As for Saleh, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise players inside the Texans locker room would have liked him as their coach. He always seemingly brings the energy on the sidelines and helped lead the 49ers to last season's Super Bowl behind a stout defense that finished second in the league in yards allowed.
He is also just 42 years old and could have connected more with the younger players.
Culley, 65, has been in the NFL since 1994 and has experience as an assistant coach for the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Baltimore Ravens.