NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said Thursday the Texans still don't plan to deal the quarterback after Watson reiterated his trade request to new head coach David Culley. Rapoport also noted the Texans "do not view the start of free agency [March 17] as any sort of deadline," nor are they looking to decide anything regarding the star by the April 29 NFL draft (at the 42-second mark):
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
From @NFLTotalAccess: The #Texans don't plan on trading QB Deshaun Watson, and they don't view the start of free agency as any sort of deadline for a decision. The NFL Draft may not be a deadline for a resolution, either. In other words, buckle up. This will take a while. https://t.co/GPKiHMqpHU
Watson reportedly requested a trade in January.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Watson thought he would get input into Houston's search for a new general manager, but the team ignored his list of candidates and did not tell him it was intent on hiring longtime New England Patriots executive Nick Caserio.
The three-time Pro Bowler signed a four-year, $160 million extension with the Texans in September, but a 4-12 season saw head coach and GM Bill O'Brien's departure. This offseason has also seen franchise icon J.J. Watt leave town.
If the Texans decide to trade Watson, who was installed as the starter almost immediately after he joined the team as the No. 12 pick out of Clemson in 2017, they'd have plenty of suitors.
The 25-year-old is coming off of a career year in which he led the league in passing yards (4,823). But the Texans will get hit with $21.6 million in dead money if they trade him before June 1, per Over the Cap, while Watson is a bargain with a $10.5 million salary in 2021. Still, amid an offseason full of big-name quarterback movement, Watson would likely net multiple first-round picks and more.
While it's unclear whether the Texans will give in to Watson's demands or if he'll stage a James Harden-style holdout, Rapoport's report makes one thing certain: There won't be answers immediately.