John McClain calls for the Texans to trade Deshaun Watson

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The Houston Texans seem to think they’ll win a standoff with quarterback Deshaun Watson. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle knows that the team won’t.

McClain, who has covered the Texans since their debut in 2002 and the Houston Oilers before that, makes the case that the time has come for the Texans to trade Watson. McClain’s voice is an important one; he’s been part of the fabric of Houston sports for decades. His words have impact. His voice has influence. Any Texans fans who don’t already understand and support Watson’s concerns will be more likely to do so once reading McClain’s column on the matter.

Many national voices have been saying for weeks what McClain is currently saying. It will be much harder for the Texans to ignore McClain than it has been for the team to ignore the opinions of outsiders.

McClain also makes a point locally that some have made nationally: The Texans should try to pit the Jets against the Dolphins for Watson, which could spark a bidding war that will get the Texans even more for Watson.

There are conflicting reports on whether Watson actually wants to play for the Jets, however. The challenge for Watson becomes finding a new team that, in giving up whatever it must to get Watson, won’t plunge into a perpetual 6-10 cycle during Watson’s prime years. The Dolphins, with the third overall pick (from Houston) and second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, seem to have the ammunition to make the deal without compromising the current trajectory of the team.

The Dolphins also would be well-suited to admit that, as short-list franchise quarterbacks go, Tagovailoa likely won’t become one.

Whether it’s the Dolphins, Jets, Broncos, 49ers, Panthers, or someone else, McClain is right. The Texans need to accept reality and get the best deal for Watson, now. As time passes, interested teams will move on to other options, narrowing the universe of potential Watson destinations. Few doubt that Watson will stay away from the team, which means that the Texans need to be prepared to not have Watson this year and to not get anything in return for him, other than the $20.2 million he’d forfeit and/or pay for the privilege of not playing for the Texans.

That money, while hardly chump change, will do nothing to make a bad team better. Jerking around Watson won’t do much to persuade players with options to choose the Texans, either.

That’s the other issue that should concern the Texans. Other players are watching this steaming vat of dysfunction, looking for signs that the Texans willing and able to admit their wayward course and turn things around. Setting up a season-long standoff with Watson is not the way to do it; acknowledging responsibility for the deterioration of the relationship becomes the first step in persuading others that the Texans understand what it will take to begin to behave like a normal NFL franchise.

Getting rid of Jack Easterby wouldn’t hurt, either. But the Texans need to re-learn to walk before they can re-learn to run.

65 responses to “John McClain calls for the Texans to trade Deshaun Watson

  1. I hope the NFL is not following in the footsteps of the NBA. One of the great features of the NFL is its parity amongst teams via the draft, strict salary cap, no luxury tax, and equitable movement of players. Big market team or small market team, the current rules make all teams play on a level playing feild.

  2. Houston should negotiate the best deal they can before free agency starts. Once teams start making their decisions at QB, the trade offers for Watson will start going down in value.

  3. I was about to write this very response yesterday….but i had a memorial to attend and i was just not in the mood to tackle the issue. There were many saying how much money Watson would lose….he would suffer the fate of Leveon….the Texans have the leverage because they can stick it to him… That is all short sighted. RBs do not have the longevity of QBs or the ability to pick up where they left off. How were the steelers running game without Leveon? How was their overall play without Ben? Brady has shown that one can play a long time….people forget Drew Brees also was gone a while….Had to change teams etc…..yet look what he has done. Time is on Watson’s side. He can sit out two years and be in even higher demand … and it may be worth his while to do so … Think of the Texans history with Carr, Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins and JJ.Watt. All great players who never developed due to horrid protection or never saw the Team play up to their high level and win. Watson could get rificulously beat up and hurt trying to lead this bad team who has little way of adding talent for another 3 years, that he may be done physically by then….or he can sit out and come back to lead a team for a decade plus, if the Texans choose to sit on him … many including high pick QBs may choose to avoid them … plus they’d have to pay top dollar to draw the few free agents who may sign. They’d be a pariah. Teams are in the shopping mood, now is the time to get most for him …. yes he is a very good QB and it is hard to let him go … but you are not in a position to take advantage of his skills now. So use him to start rebuilding now, rather than waste him and have 3-5 yrs of hell, then 3-5 yrs of rebuilding on top of that.

  4. The Dolphins only in on their terms. Not going to be the highest bidder, no doubt Jets offer would be more.

    Deshaun would have to force his way to Miami in order to be a Dolphin.

    Dolphins not concerned about Watson going to the Jets. He’d be in just as a bad situation in NY that he is in Houston of the Jets had to unload that arsenal of picks.

    Miami is the reason Houston is in this mess. We aren’t bailing them out.

    Watson has to decrease his value.

  5. He just signed a new deal LAST year. Let him sit and fine him everyday, this isnt the NBA where you get to wake up one day and say i want out of here.

  6. The Texans are making a bad situation worse. The Eagles had a growing problem, now its resolved, similiar situations.

  7. Well here we go again another call for the Miami Dolphins to give back the draft capital obtained. Chis Grier showed great patience and turned down several offers from the Texans for left Tackle Laremy Tunsil until Houston gave more than they should have. Well Grier is not giving the draft capital back. He will always listen because that’s his job. In the NFL most GM’s realize the value of many top picks. The Team is more important than any one player even if that one player is an excellent quarterback. The Houston Texans were 4 and 12 with Watson. The Dolphins were 10 and six with QB Tua going 6 and 3 as a starter. The Dolphins have enough draft capital to build what the Dallas Cowboys did many years ago, win super bowls. Many quarterbacks were good enough to win with the Cowboy’s personnel and so it goes with the Dolphins. They will win with quarterback Tua! They will listen to the Texans but remain with what they have!

  8. There are only 8 players in the NFL that have a no trade clause in their current contracts. Watson is one. So, while he has publicly asked to be traded, unless he has contractually waived that right, the Texans will probably be hampered in negotiations, so will do nothing. If Watson is truly serious, he should maki it known where all he won’t go and waive his no trade rights for the other spots.

    For the record; Drew Brees, Jimmy Garoppolo, Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, DeAndre Hopkins, Jimmy Graham, and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif are the other seven.

  9. A big problem is the 67 million dollars in dead money. How does John McClain fix that? Has DeSean offered to return signing bonus money from the deal that he recently signed? These might be reasons why the Texans are hesitant to make a trade.

  10. If Watson is willing to lose $20 million by sitting out the year, why would he not be willing pay back the signing bonus if it gets him traded?

  11. Houston should trade him to the Dolphins and get Tua and a couple of high draft choices. But, Houston rarely does the smart thing.

  12. Look, part of me wants to say screw him, he signed the big extension so stand on principle and just fine him into oblivion. That sounds good in theory, but the reality the Texans have to face is that they’re in a no win situation, for all of the reasons you mentioned. This is a big moment in this young franchises history, they could make a blockbuster trade that would net them some good players and some REALLY good picks, along with a favorable look for future free agents, or they can get nothing. An opportunity like this may never come around again for the Texans.

  13. Play for the Texans or don’t play , they should make him live up too the terms of his contract. Then franchise him just to prove a point.

  14. Miami should run away from this as fast as they can. Build around Tua. Two great offensive lineman, another tackle and a center, plus a receiver and Miami is off and running. Trade Wilkins, Tua, #3 pick and 2022,2023 first rounders to get Watson makes no sense at all. Trading a lot for one guy never works out, ask Minnesota about the Walker trade or Houston about Tunsil.

  15. Anyone saying the Texans should hold the line is missing the point. It isn’t a matter of principle, or who signed a contract. NFL Teams cut players all the time which essentially makes a contract outside of guaranteed money colored bubbles for agents to use as a marketing ploy for future business.

    Second and more importantly Watson has all the leverage in the world and the Texans have zero as in zilch. They can play hardball sure, but the reality is Watson will not play for them again. It’s gone way to far at this point. The Texans need to sell luxury boxes and season tickets, to lure fans back to the game from the pandemic. They are not going to do that trotting out Josh McCown or AJ Mccaron plus not having any draft picks in the first and second round this year. They’ve done this to themselves.

  16. You mean the McClain who told us he had a better chance of becoming the team’s GM or something similar over the team ever trading Watson? Has he choked on his crow casserole yet?

  17. Teams that handle situations like this by playing hardball ALWAYS lose considerable value when all is said and done. Good managements find a way to increase value. The Texans’ management has been throwing away value for years now. They are certainly incompetent enough to continue the trend.

  18. How many free agents do you hear asking to go to Houston? Zero. How many great players have either left, or want out of Houston? All of them. Something very strange is going on inside that building, and Deshaun Watson just wants to play football. John McClain has more credibility than anyone in the sports world in Houston. Plug your ears. Stick your head in the sand. Believe the world is flat. But don’t blame Watson for wanting out. He’s leaving town. Get that through your head.

  19. “It will be much harder for the Texans to ignore McClain than it has been for the team to ignore the opinions of outsiders.”

    Uh, the Texans ignored Watson so I doubt ignoring McClain is a big deal. Being old-school, I believe Watson should honor his agreement. With or without him, Texans are gonna be bad!

  20. PhD says:
    February 28, 2021 at 4:08 pm
    You mean the McClain who told us he had a better chance of becoming the team’s GM or something similar over the team ever trading Watson? Has he choked on his crow casserole yet?

    I’m willing to bet what he says is coming from the Texan front office. To start no trade, now….they better trade him, and more specifically this is what the parameters of the deal should be

  21. The NFL is turning into the NBA. I don’t want to play here, I don’t want to play with this guy. You still think LeBron is good for the NBA? We know he is for China

  22. bostonblows says:
    February 28, 2021 at 12:45 pm
    The Dolphins only in on their terms. Not going to be the highest bidder, no doubt Jets offer would be more.

    Deshaun would have to force his way to Miami in order to be a Dolphin.

    Dolphins not concerned about Watson going to the Jets. He’d be in just as a bad situation in NY that he is in Houston of the Jets had to unload that arsenal of picks.

    Miami is the reason Houston is in this mess. We aren’t bailing them out.

    Watson has to decrease his value.


    The McNairs and Bill O’Brien are the reason the Texans are a dumpster fire.

  23. He signed a huge contract and then decided he didn’t want to play anymore because he didn’t get to make front-office hiring decisions.

    He’s not oppressed at all. Far better QBs than him have gone through far leaner times than this. Instead of rallying his team and recruiting free agents and trying to win, he’s pouting and bailing out on his teammates after eating up a huge chunk of their salary cap.

    He is not a sympathetic figure. He hasn’t won anything and now we’re seeing why.

  24. “But don’t blame Watson for wanting out“. He should never have signed the extension. If someone actually offered a couple of firsts and a decent player or two, I would imagine Houston would take that in a flash.

    The question is whether anyone would do that to take on Watson’s contract and still be able to build a decent team around him. Jets for #2 pick straight up should work for the Jets. Maybe tack on 2023 first round pick. Beyond that, probably not. Is that enough for Houston? Well, if that’s all you can get, probably should take it. However, I suspect his market value, given the contract, is less than what a lot of people seem to think.

  25. Sorry, but he still is just a reporter, he’s. Not the GM, he’s not the owner, he’s a reporter.

  26. Instead of writing all these stories trying to stir things up, why don’t you write about how much more leverage the Texans have than Watson. Not only does he face losing $20+M this year, if he sits out they own him for another year. So Watson cannot play anywhere else for at least 4 years plus a franchise tag or two, and for every year he sits out you add another year the Texans own his rights. So if Watson doesn’t want to play for the Texans he can sit out but the Texans will own him for another 4 years as soon as he wants to come back. His value will be the same if they trade him now or he sits down for 5 years and they trade him 5 years from now.

    If I were the Texans I would definitely play hardball with him. How is their fan base going to react if they trade him for these picks and draft the next Mitch Tribisky. They have a franchise quarterback and have him signed for the next 4 years. Make him play it out.

  27. shame that the jets won that single meaningless game last year and gave up trevor lawrence to the jags who ended with the worse record. what a terrible organization.

  28. DeShaun Watson should tell the Texans or better yet the media exactly which team he wants to be traded to to completely eliminate any sort of Leverage they have and tell them he wants to be traded for a second round pick just like DeAndre was. They made that god-awful trade send away his top wide out for peanuts that’s not hamstringing the Cardinals for years why would he want his new team to lose a whole bunch of draft picks and to help the Texans in any way. Same as they refuse to help him with competent Personnel decisions coaching staff staff and especially front-office and blatantly lied to him about letting him have say you know who he would be linked up with for a coach and general manager possibly the most important relationship in sports. Houston’s continued denial of the situation and refusal to Grant his trade request is of course only hurting themselves as usual LOL and no offense to David culley but that was an absolute joke of a head coaching hire. Clearly a Yes Man who will be grateful for the job and won’t stand up to easterby and McNair

  29. I think a trade is imminent, it’s just a matter of which team giving up their right arm along with a leg or two. It only takes one G.M. to fall in love. Right now it’s just all the guys hitting on the hott girl at the bar. The rich guy will get her to which she will say it had nothing to do with money.

  30. If Leveon can sit out and lose about 12 million then Deshaun could do it for 20 especially since he plays a premium position that pays very well on and off the field and he could have a career up into his 40s. So 20 million is a drop in a bucket when every team that needs a QB would pay him 40million+ a year on the open market.

  31. Man did B.O.B. leave behind a mess in Houston! It’s bad enough to waste the years you were there, but his tenure created havoc for years to come.

  32. And of course the laremy tunsil trade without securing a future contract then enabled the man who wore a bong gas mask to be able to secure his new contract without even having an agent while he bent the Texans over the barrel for 22 million a year. And there’s people saying the DeShawn shouldn’t want out of there? Ultimately it is his career his life his future and his health and his legacy why in God’s name what he wants to let the Texans bundle and destroy it but watching other quarterbacks of lesser elk have far better careers well being lied to on top of it. Do you think any of the top free agents let alone the top coaches want to go somewhere and have to listen to Jack easterby tried to call the shots? But Watson should be stuck there? nope hold your ground young man and demand competency

  33. With no draft picks – along with trading their best player DeAndre Hopkins, plus a crippled RB, no defense and a 70 yeal old head coach – Houston has nothing! And a superstar like Deshuan Watson shouldn’t want to be a part of that mess he didn’t make. Don’t blame him one bit. They did it for JJ, why not Deshaun. Houston is not going to win with him and no team around him.

  34. If the team didnt lie to him this mess would never have existed.
    Problems on both parts.

    Realistically, at some point they’re going to have to let him go though. His value is as high now as it’ll ever be, and that will only go down from here on.
    If they sit stubbornly not willing to deal him then they’re missing out on getting a strong return for him. He’s not going to play for them so why would you make this big deal rather than do the common sense thing?

    The owner is blinded by his religious faith in a youth pastor. This isn’t a team/business at the top anymore, it’s a cult.

  35. McClain doesn’t make the decisions. He’s just another blow-hard reporter.

    Watson just signed that extension last year and now all of a sudden he wants out? When most Americans are suffering from the economic situation brought out by Covid-19 it’s hard to feel sorry for someone making an average of $39M. That money is what will make it extremely difficult to move him. He’s scheduled to make only$10.54M this year but in 2021 that balloons to $35M and in 2022 it’s $37M. Does he really warrant being given that much money. That’s second only to Mahomes and no matter how you spin it Watson is nowhere near as good as Mahomes. His behavior isn’t going to do himself any favors either and how much will teams be willing to give up for a guy who only just signed an extension and now wants to run the team and throws a temper tantrum if he doesn’t get his way.

    They can thank BOB for the mess they’re in. They are a little under the cap but they traded away all those picks which is how you build a team–draft players with low salaries and only re-sign those that are worthy.

    I don’t see how Watson can win this if the Texans decide to play hardball. They need to get together and work it out and if Watson is so immature that he won’t even talk to the Texans then why wouldn’t they draw a line in the sand. Eventually Watson will capitulate.

  36. Watson has no leverage.
    If he sits out, his contract stays frozen and his next year is at 15MM.
    He doesn’t get to start making 38MM.
    Plus he incurs fines.
    and this is mandated by the CBA, the team can’t waive them.
    If Watson sits out, he costs himself one of his long term big payday years, like $40MM in the future, plus fines and having to pay back some bonus money.

  37. Watson has zero leverage. The Texans just have to sit tight and call his bluff. Not only will he not get paid, he’ll have to repay his signing bonus too. If the choice is play for the Texans or retire and lose a lot of money, he’s going to play for the Texans.

  38. So sit on your best player, run his value down. Show other players that you’re a difficult organization to be a part of. Yeah, that plan makes a lot of sense. Lmao

  39. When McClain owns a team he can decide what is right and wrong for that team.

    Until then he is just another loud media person with no real experience in doing anything in the NFL who has an opinion.

    And you you know what they say about opinions …………

  40. Well well well if the great football mind of john McClain says this would be smart then that’s that. I mean that first die hard film cemented his legacy as a decision maker.

  41. John McClain is just a sportswriter. He’s nothing special. He’s just a sportswriter. Who care what he thinks?

  42. John Mclain writes columns his voice means nothing. Aaron Wilson is the insider Can’t think of what could go wrong when you force a trade to the JETS!!! Ha Ha his decision-making skills will never be judged the same again.

  43. That’s pathetic that Watson would use a sports writer to force his way out of town. Oh this is coming from Watson no doubt about it

  44. miserable to be any kind of houston fan right now, I feel sorry for them. All of their teams were good and promising. Now none of them are and it seems like the Texans and Rockets will actually get worse before they get better.

  45. Vikings in play here with Cousins, their 2nd Running Back and 2022 1 rd Pick, maybe even throw in their former #1 corner who cannot stay healthy. Both Teams get what they need without losing face. Make sense or am I just dreaming as 45 year vikes fan? Would do the deal in a NY minute if I were the Vikes GM but then again, maybe thats why Im not.

  46. To piggyback on my previous comment I would also be willing to include the LB Wilson who is a free-agent and looking to get paid. Nice player but not at the price he is looking to cash in at.

  47. Agree to all those who posted that while John McClain is a good local football WRITER, that is all he is. Mike I know he’s a fellow media member, BUT that doesn’t mean you can elevate his importance to whether Watson should stay or go.

    Right now Watson COULD be a top 5 QB in the league. I’d LOVE to have him on the Pats, but not at the kind of cost it would take to get him. You still need good players at the other 52 roster spots.

    Besides the fact that Houston would be crazy to trade him at this point. Lets wait and see if the new GM can EARN his keep by satisfying Deshawn’s current objections

  48. This is what happens when you trade your star QB’s top WR for a washed up Running back. U trade him and start over.

  49. I’m waiting to hear what the TikTok and Youtube influencers have to say. They’re who really runs the country.

  50. footballfan123 says:
    February 28, 2021 at 3:58 pm
    Anyone saying the Texans should hold the line is missing the point. It isn’t a matter of principle, or who signed a contract.

    He signed the contract LAST YEAR, with a $27 MILLION signing bonus. You make him play/sit out whatever or give the 27 mil back if he really wants out

  51. Listen. The later he gets traded the less that team will give up and that can only be in Watsons favor. Think about it? Gets traded now 3 ones and maybe a offensive player trade later it could well drop to 2 ones and maybe less.
    As for choice surely he is not going to the jets. He will go to a crap team and they will lose the 1st rounders, he must be nuts!
    Go to a team that will not lose too much and are SB ready. Dolphins maybe? . The 49ers is the best place he can hope to win a SB .

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