ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has officially requested a trade. The list of quarterbacks who want out continues to grow after Detriot Lions QB Matthew Stafford did the same this past weekend.
This saga between Watson and the Texans feels like it’s been going on for ages, so Watson’s trade request doesn’t come as much of a surprise. The only surprise, and maybe we should have expected this, was Houston’s front office bungling this situation. Watson made his demands clear, and the organization ignored their star player. In today’s day and age, you can’t do that.
The 24-year-old has a tradeable contract that is QB-friendly. Watson also has a no-trade clause in his deal, which allows him to choose his destination. Watson holds all of the cards here, and that’s why many expect Houston to trade him.
I’m curious to see how a few things play out. If the Texans want to play hardball and don’t give in to Watson’s demands, does he stand his ground? If Watson shows that losing money doesn’t bother him, then he gains leverage, and when it’s all said and done — assuming Houston drags this situation out in this specific hypothetical — and the Texans won’t get nearly the return they hoped for.
Houston can fine Watson $95,877 for missing minicamp. They can also fine Watson $50,000 per each day of training camp missed and $620,000 for each preseason game missed, per Schefter. That’s a long way down the road, and by then, the Texans risk going into the season without a quarterback.
At least publicly, the next step would be for Watson to say where he wants to play. It’s no secret that Watson is fond of former 49ers head coach Robert Saleh, but where does San Francisco fit into all of this? Well, it’s a safe assumption to say the team is interested and has likely picked up the phone to make an offer, as most of the league has.
The question becomes would the Niners be willing to wait if Houston isn’t going to budge? That’s a risky proposition as that could decrease your chances of landing Stafford. If you watched him play this past season, then you know Watson is worth the wait. He’s a superstar by definition. I know the Texans record was 4-12, but it was impressive that Watson could muster four wins this season.
The 49ers culture seems like the best-case scenario for Watson, which is why the team should be patient. Watson’s issues stem from the Texans owner. Knowing that, why in the world would he want to play for the Jets, whose owner, Woody Johnson, was accused this past summer of making racist comments, which wasn’t the first time for Johnson.
The saga continues, and the guessing games are just beginning, but it looks like Watson is calling the Texans bluff that they won’t trade him. I hope he’s right.