Deshaun Watson trade tracker: Timeline of rumors, dysfunction detail Texans’ rift with franchise QB
Not so elementary, my dear Watson.
The yearslong odyssey for the Texans to find a true franchise passer culminated in Houston selecting the Deshaun Watson out of Clemson in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, but it looks like the pairing will soon come to an end, with tumult surrounding the quarterback and the franchise leading to lots of smoke and trade rumors.
With organizational chaos dooming the Texans the past two seasons, and ownership reportedly over-relying on the voice and opinions of Jack Easterby and reportedly completely ignoring the voice of Watson, it’s hard to fault Watson for wanting out. He’s a top-five quarterback coming off his best season, still young and with a contract that will prove to be a bargain in a few years.Total organizational instability — from the top down — has led Watson to, reportedly, being incredibly pissed off and ready to move on from the team that drafted him in 2017. Here’s a timeline of reports and other rumors that detail the interworkings of the Texans organization and Watson’s displeasure with the situation.MORE: Here are Deshaun Watson’s best trade fits, from Jets to Dolphins
Deshaun Watson trade rumorsJan. 28: Panthers will be ‘aggressive’ in pursuit of WatsonSource: Ian Rapoport, NFL NetworkNFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that if — that’s a big if — the Texans are willing to deal Watson, the usual, rumored suspects appear: the Jets, Dolphins and Bears among them. But the Panthers are expected to be “aggressive” in their pursuit of Watson.Jan. 28: Watson finally, officially (reportedly) requests a trade Source: Adam Schefter, ESPNThe official (reported) request has finally come down: Deshaun Watson wants out of Houston, and hasn’t even spoken with the new GM or executive Jack Easterby. This news comes less than 24 hours after the reported hiring of David Culley as new head coach.
Deshaun Watson hasn’t spoken to new Texans general manager Nick Caserio nor executive Jack Easterby. Watson is moving on and waiting to see where his NFL future takes him. https://t.co/heLvCjpEXu
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 28, 2021Jan. 24: No head coach can persuade Watson to staySource: Chris Mortensen, ESPNWhile Houston continues to search for a head coach, there is no hire that could appease Watson to stay in H-Town, per Chris Mortensen. Watson’s main issue seems to be with ownership.
As @mortreport reported on ESPN’s Postseason NFL Countdown, the Texans’ head coaching hire is not expected to change Deshaun Watson’s thinking. He still is expected to want out of Houston, no matter who the head coach is, per sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 24, 2021Jan. 23: Watson may — or may not — prefer New YorkSource: Matt Miller, TheDraftScout.com; Armando Salguero, Miami HeraldA pair of conflicting reports on Saturday say New York is Watson’s preferred destination. As always: Consider the source(s).
Spent today talking to a few sources on the Deshaun Watson story.No disrespect to other reporters, but I’ve been told the Jets are NOT his preferred destination should a trade take place.His no trade clause makes this very important.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 24, 2021Jan. 21: Texans don’t consider Tua Tagovailoa ‘adequate replacement’ for WatsonSource: The Houston ChronicleAaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, citing league sources, reports that Houston doesn’t consider Dolphins second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa an “adequate replacement” for Watson.Jan. 19: Richard Sherman enters fray, offers advice to WatsonSource: “The Cris Collinsworth Podcast”As a guest on “The Cris Collinsworth Podcast,” veteran cornerback Richard Sherman offered a small bit of advice to Watson: get over to the Big Apple.Jan. 18: Watson likes Instagram post linking him to JetsSource: Instagram detectivesWe’ve officially reached the “NBA drama” stage of Watson trade rumors, with Instagram users discovering that Watson liked a post of a New York Post back page with a story suggesting the Jets should trade for him. No trade requests have been made yet.Jan. 18: Texans have no interest in dealing Watson, Panthers interestedSource: Ian Rapoport, NFL NetworkNFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the Texans have no interest in trading Watson, instead wanting to keep him. Multiple teams, including the Panthers, have called Houston to gauge interest in the passer.Jan. 18: Watson not answering calls from Texans organizationSource: Sarah Barshop, ESPNAccording to Texans beat writer Sarah Barshop, Watson can’t be bothered to answer calls from Texans brass. Adam Schefter also reiterates what we already knew: Watson holds leverage here because of his no-trade clause.Jan. 18: ‘Great lather’ to get Watson out, but leverage in his favorSource: Josina Anderson, ESPNAnderson reminds everyone a key point: Watson has a no-trade clause, and it’s not entirely in the Texans’ best interest to trade away a superstar of Watson’s caliber. In any case, it’s a weak argument, especially if the team is going to continue to do poorly by its star player.
I know there’s a great lather to propel Deshaun Watson’s potential departure from Houston & yes Watson holds a card w/ his no-trade clause, but from the club’s/business perspective it makes sense any decisions or not will be in its best interest. Watson still makes dollars&sense.
— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) January 18, 2021Jan. 18: Watson has yet to ask for a tradeSource: Ian Rapoport, NFL NetworkDespite all the smoke surrounding Watson and the Texans at the moment, the superstar QB has yet to ask for a trade, per Rapoport. That hasn’t stopped teams from calling to check on Watson’s availability, though,Jan. 17: Watson has ‘played his last snap for Houston’Source: Adam Schefter/Chris Mortensen, ESPNIf the weeks of turmoil and confusion have left any doubt about Watson’s future in Houston, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that some people surrounding the Texans organization feel Watson won’t play another down for the team. A source close to Chris Mortensen added that the only remedy for the situation between Watson and the Texans would be for owner Cal McNair to fire … Cal McNair.Schefter also added that “Watson’s feelings cannot and should not be underestimated.” Whatever that means.
There is a growing sense from people in and around the Texans’ organization that Deshaun Watson has played his last snap for the team. It’s early in the off-season, there’s a lot of time left, but Watson’s feelings cannot and should not be underestimated.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 17, 2021
Jan. 16: Watson ‘just wants out’ of HoustonSource: Greg Bishop, Jenny Vrentas, Sports IllustratedDespite the Texans making moves to try and appease their disgruntled quarterback, Watson just wants out of H-Town, per SI. A culmination of the coaching and GM search and general organizational dysfunction has led to Watson taking a hard stance on his status with the team: Just get me out of here.Jan. 15: A single tweet sets NFL world on fireSource: Deshaun Watson’s TwitterComing from a Schefter report that Watson’s anger was “at a 2, but now a 10,” the Texans QB sends out a single tweet that seems to confirm this. A later tweet would actually indicate that these were actually song lyrics. (Sure, Deshaun.)
I was on 2 then I took it to 10
— Deshaun Watson (@deshaunwatson) January 15, 2021MORE: Deshaun Watson’s latest tweet sends Twitter back into trade frenzyJan. 15: Watson photographed in Falcons gearSource: InstagramA curious wardrobe decision by Watson, with a photo on an Instagram story showing Watson in a Falcons jacket, coincidentally, outside of a building in New York City. Watson is a Georgia native and likely grew up a Falcons fan.It’s just a jacket, but let your imagination run wild.Jan. 12: Texans request interview for Chiefs OC Eric BieniemySource: Ian Rapoport, NFL NetworkThe Chiefs OC is a hot commodity on the coaching scene, and was even recommended to Watson by some guy named Patrick Mahomes. While the Chiefs hadn’t initially put in an interview with Bieniemy — missing the window in which coordinators can interview during the playoffs — new GM Nick Caserio is interested in speaking with him. Because of tampering policies, the Texans won’t be allowed to speak with Bieniemy until after the Chiefs are eliminated.
The #Texans have officially requested an interview with #Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, source said. Already a busy candidate, Bieniemy adds another to his list.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 12, 2021Jan. 12: Andre Johnson speaks, offers Watson adviceSource: Andre Johnson via TwitterIn the words of Deandre Hopkins, when ‘Dre speaks, we listen. The former Texans wide receiver took to Twitter to offer Watson some sage advice: Stand your ground. He also roasted the Texans and their devotion to Jack Easterby, who many question
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!!!
— Andre Johnson (@johnson80) January 12, 2021MORE: Andre Johnson thinks Deshaun Watson is right to turn on ‘pathetic’ TexansJan. 10: Watson’s anger reaching boiling pointSource: Adam Schefter, ESPNHeads exploded when then head coach/GM Bill O’Brien opted to trade star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals, with Watson himself taking the trade in stride. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Watson’s anger vaulted from a “2 to a 10” with the organization opting not to hire ESPN analyst and former front-office exec Louis Riddick to its GM role.
Also worth noting: One source said this week that, after Houston traded Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins last off-season, Deshaun Watson’s anger level was “a 2….This time, it’s a 10.” https://t.co/CsqZYbe3OK
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 10, 2021Jan. 10: More details emerge about rift; Dolphins could be a trade destinationSource: Chris Mortensen, ESPNIf Watson were to be moved, then the Dolphins could be a viable destination for a trade, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. Miami, who holds Houston’s first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, would reportedly be open to trading quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and trade assets in exchange for Watson, per Mortensen.
Sources say Watson could play hardball with Texans about a trade. His new $156 million contract includes a no-trade clause but informed speculation from a source is that he would consider the @MiamiDolphins in which Tua Tagovailoa and additional compensation goes to Houston.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 10, 2021
Jan. 7: The Texans name Nick Caserio new GMSource: “Literally us, the Houston Texans.”A major part of the reported rift between Watson and the Texans surrounded Houston naming a general manager without Watson’s input, a promise that had been supposedly made to Watson during the season. Instead, owner Cal McNair Jr. and Jack Easterby.MORE: Ranking the NFL’s head-coaching vacanciesJan. 5: J.J. Watt offers an ominous apologySource: JJ Watt’s mouthAfter the Texans fell in Week 17 to the Titans in Week 17, NFL cams caught JJ Watt and Deshaun Watson in a candid moment as the two were walking off the field. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Watt said. “We wasted one of your years.” The Texans would finish 4-12.Oct. 5: Texans fire Bill O’BrienSource: “Literally us, the Houston Texans.”Well, about a year, many losses and one too many trades too late, the Texans decided to fire head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien after a sluggish start to their 2020 season. The team would name Romeo Crennel the interim head coach.O’Brien’s tenure as HC would be mired in personnel controversies and several lopsided trades that leave the Texans without a first-round pick in 2021.April 2019: Jack Easterby hired by HoustonSource: The Texans
“I think the best way to tell the story is by starting at the end, briefly, then going back to the beginning, and then periodically returning to the end, maybe giving different characters’ perspectives throughout.” — “The Other Guys,” 2010Arguably the genesis of the chaos in Houston was the hiring of Patriots team chaplain — later “character coach,” whatever that is — as its executive vice president of football operations.Easterby’s meteoric rise to a such a high office in an NFL franchise is met with skepticism from all avenues, and would come back to haunt the team later.