John McClain: Texans will keep Deshaun Watson until they get the offer they want

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The Texans want to trade quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson wants to be traded. Eventually, it will happen.

As explained by John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, it will happen “when somebody makes [G.M. Nick] Caserio the offer he wants.”

“The Texans’ plan for Watson hasn’t changed since March,” McClain added. “Trade him when someone meets their demand, whenever that is. I think Caserio will get close to what he wants after the season if there’s clarity about Watson’s legal situation.”

The Texans, who per McClain are content to keep him on the active roster all year and pay him, reportedly want three first-round picks and two second-round picks for Watson. Teams have objected to that demand, given that his unresolved legal issues (22 civil lawsuits, 10 criminal complaints, and a vague FBI investigation) make his unavailability uncertain for 2021 and beyond.

Caserio’s position necessarily implies that the Texans view this not as a short-term transaction for Watson’s next team but a 10-year investment. Notwithstanding any absences in the short term, whether paid leave or an eventual unpaid suspension or both, this situation eventually will be resolved and Watson’s career will continue. Just as Ben Roethlisberger‘s did after allegations of off-field sexual misconduct. Just as Mike Vick’s did after two years in prison for dogfighting.

By March 2022 there should be more clarity regarding Watson’s legal situation. There’s also a chance things will remain murky. This year, it costs the Texans $10.54 million to pay him to not play while they wait for the offer Caserio wants. Next year, it will cost $35 million to continue to kick the can, if Caserio doesn’t get the offer he wants.

Assuming that the passage of six months leads to some clarity (the biggest concern at this point comes from potential indictment, prosecution, conviction, and incarceration on felony charges), the Texans become far more likely to get what they want, and perhaps more. After the season, more teams will be looking for new quarterbacks. Those teams could bid the package up to even more than three ones and two twos, potentially.

That’s the primary reason for a team like the Dolphins to move now. As Simms and I discussed on Wednesday’s PFT Live, at some point Watson’s arrival in Miami won’t do much to help the team win in 2021. But at some point it wouldn’t be a move for 2021. It would be a move for 2031 and every year in between.

In the deadline-driven NFL, the deadline is the closing of the trade window, on the Tuesday after Week Eight. If Tua Tagovailoa fails to show signs of becoming the franchise quarterback he was drafted to be, the Dolphins could make an offer close to what Caserio wants in the hopes of getting Watson before the bidding begins in the offseason, with perhaps seven or eight teams vying to get him.

The other wrinkle in all of this is Watson. Even if the Texans are willing to carry Watson on the active roster, pay him $10.54 million, and make him inactive every week, Watson may not be happy about being placed on ice for so long, even though he had a clear role in the creation of the current mess. He wants out now, not later. As 32 teams start playing football, he could get antsy. While T.O.-style shirtless driveway situps likely aren’t in the offing, an awkward relationship could get even more tense.

Both Caserio and coach David Culley have declared Watson’s status as a one-day-at-a-time proposition. That approach may work for only so many days, from Watson’s perspective.

And so maybe it ends not when the Dolphins make the Texans an offer they can’t refuse, but when the Dolphins make the Texans an offer they won’t refuse. Even if it’s less than three first-round picks and two second-round picks, there’s a chance it will be close enough that the Texans will take it, if only to finally be done with it.

42 responses to “John McClain: Texans will keep Deshaun Watson until they get the offer they want

  1. Sounds like it’s going to be easy money for Watson. Getting paid to do nothing. Eventually the NFL will force the sale of the team.

  2. Why not just play him? He is getting paid regardless. If he refuses…then you have cause not to pay him $10M. What am I missing? Getting hurt? W

  3. Three firsts and two seconds? Does that constitute probable cause to get Caserio to take a drug test?

  4. Let’s see what happens when the Dolphins start out winless after getting smoked by the Patriots in Week 1…

  5. They should tell him he is starting … then if he refuses to play suspend him for conduct detrimental to the team

  6. Two firsts, depending on whether he plays or not. If he plays in ’21, they get one first. If he plays in ’22, they get another first. If he doesn’t play at all, a 2nd just for the privilege.

    I’m spitballing, because I don’t think he should be allowed to play again.

  7. His value only sinks the closer he gets to a suspension and guilty or not 8 + games maybe an entire season is coming.

  8. They better lower their expectations and trade him asap because if Watson is found criminally responsible and gets jail time they won’t get a second rounder for him.

  9. The Texans went 4-12 with Watson.. if a team gives up 3 firsts and 2 seconds for him they most certainly will be going 4-12 at best also.

    The Texans aren’t living in reality.

  10. I don’t have a horse in this race but I hope the Texans continue to hold out for the offer they want. The last thing I want to see is some team I detest picking him up for next to nothing. I also think the Texans should force the issue with Watson and make him start or suspend him. Like other commenters, I don’t understand why they’re allowing the guy to just ride the bench and cash his checks. Perhaps there is something I’ve missed about the situation.

  11. So what if criminal charges follow the civil lawsuits? So what if the civil lawsuit outcomes force the league to suspend indefinitely?

  12. Let Houston keep him on the bench and pay him for the year. Then let’s see what he’s worth.

  13. It’s all been said already. But to re-cap: A player whose allegations against him are serious. He may not play right away, or for a long time, depending on the NFL, or legal judgements handed down. No team in their sound mind would make this trade. This is not gloating nor delight at Mr. Watson’s situation. It’s just his reality at the present.

  14. Even after Watson’s legal issues are “cleared up”, he’s still toxic. Any team actively pursuing Watson will face a lot of negative push back from their community. It will take a few years for Watson’s reputation to be salvaged. Given that, no competent team is going to offer anything near what the Texans want this year, next year or possibly even the year after that.

  15. Good, they can have him. Why would it bother Watson to get paid ten million dollars to do nothing? And next year it’s even more, which will force the Texans to take a subway pass and two Burger King coupons in return just to avoid the Salary cap hit.

    And Watson would probably prefer that the team that ends up with him not be prevented from building around him because they gave up three first round picks.

    And if he does get indicted or suspended what happens if you’ve traded your starting qb (or another starter)?

    Even if you had a built in void how would it work? Sorry Tua we were just kidding, we really like you so could you catch the next flight to Miami? We want you to start next week.

    I’d be asking these types of questions if I were an NFL G.M. or Coach

  16. pcflorio says:
    September 1, 2021 at 5:27 pm
    Why not just play him? He is getting paid regardless. If he refuses…then you have cause not to pay him $10M. What am I missing? Getting hurt? W

    Plus u can fine him till he decides to play.

  17. Why would the Texans trade Watson to another AFC team unless they would be getting a bonanza in return? Stay strong Texans, Watson’s legal problems will blow over and demand for the player will skyrocket.

  18. therealraider says:
    September 1, 2021 at 7:14 pm
    The Texans went 4-12 with Watson.. if a team gives up 3 firsts and 2 seconds for him they most certainly will be going 4-12 at best also.
    They went 4-12 last season mostly because they had one of the worst defenses in the league. Watson was a top 5 qb. Since you want to determine if a player is good or not based off their team’s record, then you must think Barry Sanders was bad.

  19. The longer they wait thats just more snaps he doesn’t take and time lost for the time limited career of an NFL QB. I’m a Chiefs fan and if their GM said he wanted 3 firts and 2 seconds for Mahomes I’d say he’s going to have to keep Mahomes for a long time because no team is going to give up that much draft capital for one player. What happens if you make the trade and Watson suffers some type of season ending injury 3 games into the season?

  20. I don’t see why any team would trade for him – especially at that very steep price – until his legal situation is cleared up. But, even so, Miami giving up that much draft capital for one player, when they’re already a mediocre franchise, will give them a good QB with limited ability to put talent around him.

    Plus – why throw away Tua so quickly? Young QBs need to be given the chance to develop. Troy Aikman was 1-15 his first season. Terry Bradshaw struggled his first few seasons. Peyton Manning’s first season was rough. QBs are a long-term thing, especially when you use a high draft pick on them.

  21. Two 1sts and possibly other compensation. Three 1sts is too much factoring in everything else. I wouldnt give him away for peanuts or take a player (Tua) another team would like to dump in exchange for one of the firsts, but they are going to have to come down from three 1sts.

  22. What has Watson won??? Let’s be real here. Think about this for a moment. Yes he is a good talent, but what has he won? He really is being put on this top 5 list and I don’t see it.
    He is maybe a top 15 QB but that doesn’t warrant all this hype.
    Not to mention his character and leadership which must be terrible given his circumstances.

  23. I can’t even fathom a scenario where a GM would give up 3 first round choices and 2 second rounders for any player. Firstly, you could literally be helping to build the next NFL powerhouse by giving them so much draft capital. The Texans would have 6 number one draft choices and 4 number two choices over a 3 year period (2022-2024) Actually 3 #2’s if you count their own draft choice in the 3rd year (2024). They could have even more choices if the decided to trade back. Of course, a franchise with a questionable front office like Houston may fail to capitalize like Washington failed accomplished much with all the picks the acquired from the Saints during the 1999 trade for Ricky Williams.

    Secondly, how would you build a solid team around him with the decreased number of picks? Even if the team was solid at every position besides QB, you could still have a problem…unless you did win a title between 2022-2024. By the time the last year of the deal was over (2024), the best players on the team would likely be looking at extensions. That can be tricky, especially if they are getting up there in age. You may have to pay them (mainly because you would lack quality depth due to the lack of picks) or let them go for cap reasons. However, you could actually be worse off doing that…once again due to a lack of choices you probably wouldn’t have any one on the roster to replace them.

    No way I’d ever do this unless I knew I had a big chance to win the SB between (2022-2024), and even then I’d want some picks from Houston in return. Let’s be honest, the teams who have a rumored interest in Watson are probably not going to win in that time frame. All that said, I’d be surprised if some desperate team “DIDN’T” pull the trigger.

  24. It would be funny if they did try to play him and then Godell puts him in “the list”. Then Watson gets to sit at home and be paid.

  25. What team is going to give up Houston’s insane asking price with the possibility of Watson going to jail looming over this mess? Then again, this is the NFL, where we should not be surprised by anything.

  26. I think they have to play him at some point. Nobody is going to do a big trade without knowing for sure whether the league will even let him play plus they’d want to know if he’s even in shape. And everybody must be worried about the PR fallout of playing him and the Texans could answer that question by starting him. But right now the Texans want a huge return with tons of unsanswered questions looming.

  27. This is what it looks like when you have an actual GM running the team. Bill O’Brien wanted to be rid of Deandre Hopkins, so he took the first offer from the NFC that he liked (which is still mind-boggling to me). Caserio understands that he doesn’t HAVE to make a deal if he doesn’t like the options he has been given. To this point, I think teams have been low-balling hoping that the Texans would lower their demands. At this point the team is better off to wait and find a deal that they like.

  28. Well done sir…

    finfanuk says:
    September 2, 2021 at 2:01 am
    Seems like the Texans “want their draft picks back” (from Miami). “All of them.”

  29. First contender to have their QB go down to injury will be calling the Texans! Sadly, “optics” come in second to winning.

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