On Thursday, Houston Texans head coach David Culley told NFL Network's Steve Wyche and Jim Trotter on the Huddle and Flow podcast that Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, who has requested a trade, is the team's signal-caller "right now."
Following those remarks, NFL reporter Josina Anderson clarified the Texans' stance, reiterating the team hasn't had internal or external discussions about dealing the superstar.
IG: JosinaAnderson @JosinaAnderson
I'm told the #Texans still haven't had any discussions internally or externally entertaining any deal to trade QB Deshaun Watson, despite HC David Culley's 'right now' comment about Watson's status, which Culley worked to clarify later today, per source. Will continue monitoring.
Culley also spoke with Texans reporters prior to the podcast appearance and remained committed to Watson as the quarterback.
"There is no contingency plan from the standpoint of he is a Houston Texan, and basically that’s how we’re moving forward with it," Culley said, per Aaron Reiss of The Athletic. "We’re committed to him."
Culley also added: "I don’t know about him not wanting to be a Houston Texan, what I hear from the outside. I just know that he’s a Houston Texan. He’s ours."
Watson, 25, signed a four-year contract extension worth "$156 million in new money with $73.716 million fully guaranteed at signing" before the 2020 season, per Over the Cap. He is under contract with Houston through 2025.
Watson shined for the Texans in 2020, completing 70.2 percent of his passes for 33 touchdowns, an NFL-high 8.9 yards per pass attempt and just seven interceptions. He's largely been sensational in Houston during his four years there, making three Pro Bowls along the way.
However, the relationship between Watson and the Texans, who finished 4-12 despite the quarterback's excellent season, has eroded.
As noted by Jayson Jenks, Aaron Reiss and Mike Sando of The Athletic, a series of Texans front office decisions have led to Watson losing trust and faith in the organization.
Examples include the trading of No. 1 wideout DeAndre Hopkins, which the team reportedly did not communicate with Watson about in advance. Watson also had issues with the "Texans’ team-building approach" and their franchise plan amid a losing season that followed an AFC South title the year before.
After the season, Watson said the team needed "a whole culture shift" and that Houston had “too many different minds, too many different ideas and too many people who think they have this power, and it’s not like that."
Watson was also "extremely unhappy" after the coach and general manager search process, with Ian Rapoport of NFL Network explaining why:
Now, Watson and the Texans appear to be in a standoff, and based on news so far, neither appears willing to budge at this time.