Deshaun Watson reportedly willing to sit out multiple games in 2021 season to force trade

By Matt Johnson
Jan 26, 2020; Orlando, Florida, USA; AFC quarterback Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans (4) warms up before a game against the NFC in the 2020 NFL Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun Watson desperately wants to be traded by the Houston Texans. As the star quarterback continues to explore his options this offseason to help force a move, with the Texans refusing to give in, the 25-year-old might have to take drastic action this season.

Lasting frustrating with the organization turned into a fractured relationship early this offseason. Team owner Cal McNair reportedly told Watson that he would receive input in the hiring process for a general manager and head coach to replace Bill O’Brien. Instead, after suggesting candidates for interviews, the Texans’ star learned on social media that Nick Caserio was hired as general manager.

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Frustrated by learning of the important decision over Twitter, the same way he learned about the DeAndre Hopkins trade, Watson became angry with the organization. The relationship has only worsened since then, sparking rampant trade speculation and an overwhelming desire on his part to get out of Houston.

With his efforts thus far unsuccessful, Watson seems prepared to take the next step to force a trade.

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According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Watson is prepared to sit out the entire preseason and a number of games in the 2021 regular-season schedule. While it would result in him owing the team $3-plus million in fines, he is reportedly prepared to accept that cost to make a point.

Watson signed a $156 million extension just a year ago, but a spotty relationship with the Texans has deteriorated beyond repair. To this point, Houston has stayed confident that it can rebuild the relationship and convince its biggest star to stay.

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A number of teams have kept calling the Texans, attempting to convince them to engage in discussions. But Caserio is standing firm, outright ignoring trade offers and inquiries made by other clubs. Meanwhile, amid the team’s efforts to address the lack of trust and confidence in the organization, recent moves have only made things worse.

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It’s hard to imagine this situation getting any better. Watson’s specific issues are tied to McNair and team executive Jack Easterby. While O’Brien made a series of baffling moves during his tenure, reports have detailed that Caserio might be the biggest problem for Houston. Given McNair vowed not to fire Easterby and neither man would resign from their positions, there’s no scenario where things could improve.

Watson isn’t responding to the team’s calls and told head coach David Culley that he never wants to play for the Texans again. If he follows through on that promise, AJ McCarron will be the team’s starting quarterback next season and not many fans will be in attendance for home games.

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A blockbuster trade is likely in everyone’s best interest, but it’s evident that won’t happen anytime soon. As a result, this will likely turn into an ugly Carson Palmer-like situation in a saga that plays out through the regular season.