The Deshaun Watson saga in Houston has gone from bad to worse for the Texans as their franchise quarterback has requested a trade from the team according to league sources.
These sources have reported over the last few weeks how Watson has grown increasingly frustrated with the Texans and their decision making process.
The discontent started last offseason when the Texans traded star receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals. However, Watson’s frustrations intensified in January when the team didn’t include him in their search for a new general manager.
And, if that weren’t enough to put Watson over the edge, the hiring of new head coach David Culley is the last straw for one of the league’s best young quarterbacks.
Not even 24 hours after the hiring of Culley, all major NFL media outlets are reporting that Watson wants to be traded.
Deshaun Watson has officially requested a trade from the Texans, per @adamschefter.
There have been discussions within the front office on what to do with their disgruntled franchise quarterback. It’s been rumored that the Texans aren’t completely opposed to trading Watson, but they’re also not overly eager to do so.
With Nick Caserio as the new GM and David Culley as the new head coach, neither of those hires have worked in the favor of the team keeping Watson.
Then you add in Watson’s disliking along with previous Texans players outspoken criticism of executive Jack Easterby and this is a recipe for disaster in Houston.
What’s the Status of Watson’s Contract?
This is where things will get tricky for the Houston Texans. Watson signed a four year contract extension for $156 million dollars last September. On the surface, this isn’t a terrible contract considering how high the quarterback market is.
What’s the sticky part is that Watson has a no trade clause. This means that Watson has control over where he could end up, which hinders Houston’s potential trade partners.
Further breaking down Watson’s contract and we see that the final two years of his deal aren’t guaranteed. Additionally, he will only count $15.94 million for the Texans next season due to the signing bonus they gave him.
Yet, if Houston does trade Watson then they will incur a $5.4 million dollar dead cap hit. If Houston keeps Watson beyond 2021, they could be looking at a cap hit of over $40 million in 2022. The team that trades for Watson won’t have to deal with any dead cap.
If Watson decides not to report to minicamp then Houston can fine him roughly $95,877 dollars. The team could also fine Watson $50,000 for each day of training camp that he misses. Missing a preseason game would cost Watson $620,000 dollars.
If for some reason that Watson decides to retire, the Texans would collect $21.6 million. Furthermore, Houston could also franchise Watson three straight years following the end of his current contract in 2025. That means the team could keep Watson through the 2028 season.
Although Houston has some leverage with the fines and franchise tags, this hardline approach would be disastrous in many ways for the Texans if they were to treat their star QB in this manner.
It would hurt their chances to retain other players and sign free agents as players wouldn’t want to play for a team that treats their stars this way.
Where Could Houston Trade Watson to?
NFL betting sites favor the Miami Dolphins as the top landing spot in a trade for Watson. There have been some rumors that Watson would approve a trade to the Dolphins.
Yet, that’s not the only team that could benefit from a trade for Watson. Other odds on favorites to land Watson include:
New York Jets (+200)
The New York Jets make the most sense from the standpoint that Houston could get the most in return. New York has a sizable treasure chest of draft picks over the next few years and Houston would love to get their hands on multiple 1st round picks for Watson.
New Orleans Saints (+800)
The New Orleans Saints will most likely be looking for a new starting QB next season as Drew Brees has one foot out the door with heavy speculations that he will retire. Watson could certainly keep the Saints in a position to be one of the best teams in the NFC if he were to go to New Orleans.
Unfortunately, the Saints are in a horrible situation with their salary cap this offseason. They would end up losing more talent in order to afford Watson. Plus, they would have to mortgage their future by giving up more draft picks since they don’t have high selections like the Jets do.
San Francisco 49ers (+800)
The San Francisco 49ers make a lot of sense for all parties involved. They could offer up multiple first round picks over the next two years and send Jimmy Garoppolo to the Texans, which gives Houston a bridge to their future franchise QB.
Carolina Panthers (+900)
The Carolina Panthers are an up and coming team under new head coach Matt Rhule. They have a lot of young talent, salary space and draft picks to make a trade with Houston. Watson would be an upgrade over Teddy Bridgewater, but would it be enough to make the Panthers a Super Bowl contender?
New England Patriots (+900)
Speaking of Super Bowls, the New England Patriots went to nine of them when Tom Brady was with the franchise. The first year without Brady saw the Patriots miss the Playoffs. This team has a lot of work to do in order to build up the offensive side of the ball.
Of course, Watson and the Patriots would love to partner up, but New England might not be willing to unload the amount of assets it would take to land the star quarterback especially with all of the holes they have on offense.
Will Watson Be Traded From Houston?
All signs are pointing to a divorce between Watson and the Texans. His unhappiness is at an all-time high and nothing Houston has done with their recent hires indicate that they can smooth over their relationship with Watson.
This will certainly be one of the major storylines to follow in the offseason. Does Houston go into a complete rebuild by trading Watson or do they try and build around Watson and make him as happy as possible?
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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