Deshaun Watson Trade Rumors: Texans Expected to Move QB Despite Denying Interest

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2021

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

Despite indicating they intend to keep Deshaun Watson, the Houston Texans might part ways with the starting quarterback this offseason.

The Houston Chronicle's John McClain tweeted Wednesday: "The Texans haven't said they're not trading Watson since January. I expect him to be traded."

That matches a report from Joseph Person of The Athletic on Tuesday that said "most league insiders" think Texans general manager Nick Caserio will deal Watson, and it could happen "prior to the April 29-May 1 draft to maximize the return."

Person's report came before Watson posted a statement on Tuesday about a lawsuit filed against him after a woman made an allegation of sexual assault. Watson said he had not yet viewed the full complaint but that he has "never treated any woman with anything other than the utmost respect."

Deshaun Watson @deshaunwatson


The Texans issued a statement Wednesday to say they "take accusations of this nature that involve anyone within the Houston Texans organization seriously.

James Palmer @JamesPalmerTV

The #texans statement on Deshaun Watson: https://t.co/jrU9UDyA2b

Caserio told reporters in January the Texans had "zero interest" in a Watson trade, and NBC Sports' Peter King reported in February the first-year GM was "categorically opposed to trading Watson, period."

Caserio's comments may not have been entirely public posturing, either. According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, he wasn't even taking calls regarding the matter as recently as February:

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

The #Texans remain unwilling to discuss QB Deshaun Watson with other teams, some of whom have resorted to leaving voicemails with trade offers, per sources. Watson spoke briefly to coach David Culley recently, but the two still haven’t met in person. Houston not budging.

At the end of the day, Houston may not have much choice.

The franchise is already losing the PR battle. 

Rather than Watson, many are placing the blame on owner Cal McNair and executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby for allowing the situation to reach this point. Count Andre Johnson among the team's critics:

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 spoken up publicly about his level of frustration; numerous reports have done the talking for him. In the event he did openly express his dissatisfaction, it would likely pile further scrutiny on the Texans.

Having your best player—your franchise quarterback no less—upset to this degree is simply untenable.

The 2021 draft presents the Texans with an artificial deadline. They could wait until the summer to begin entertaining trade packages, but those offers are a little less tantalizing when you don't actually know the value of any draft picks you're getting back.

Having traded away their 2021 first-rounder (No. 3 overall) to the Miami Dolphins as part of the Laremy Tunsil deal, the Texans could potentially climb back into the top 10 of this year's draft to get Watson's successor.

While that's not an ideal outcome, it would be preferable to waiting and likely being stuck with a stopgap at quarterback.