Deshaun Watson officially wants out of Houston.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the Texans QB requested a trade, per a source informed of the situation.
Watson wanting out of Houston has been known for weeks, but all rumors could be dismissed until a formal request was made known. Now, the star signal-caller has gone public that he has no interest in continuing to play for an organization with which he signed a four-year, $156 million contract extension in September.
The Texans have insisted throughout the process that they have no intention of parting with one of the top QBs in the NFL in his prime, per Rapoport and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo. However, Watson owns the leverage and can force their hand by withholding his services. We’ve seen the likes of Jalen Ramsey, Yannick Ngakoue and Jamal Adams push their way into trades in the recent past. Watson brings player empowerment to a whole new level.
Watson also owns a no-trade clause that he can use to his benefit to decide which destinations he would favor. That power is massive and shouldn’t be understated. Rapoport noted that Watson must sign off in writing on any trade before it can be consummated.
The 25-year-old is a magic maker, carrying a hapless Texans team. Any club that doesn’t have a top-five QB should at least ponder the possibility of landing one of the faces of the league. Watson would immediately raise a middling team into a contender.
The cost of any trade would be astronomical — top-five QBs never become available — but you could argue no price is too high for a talent like Watson.
Houston has consistently said it has no plans to trade Watson, but that didn’t stop teams from calling in the past weeks. The Texans’ position relied on the fact that with Watson’s trade request still not public, the relationship could be salvaged. That argument is out the window.
The timing of the reports of Watson’s trade request shouldn’t be ignored. They came the morning after it was reported that the Texans are hiring former Baltimore Ravens assistant coach David Culley as their new coach.
When Culley is eventually announced, his first question will be about Watson’s future. Unfortunately for the first-time head coach, it doesn’t appear there will be much of one in Houston any longer.