Deshaun Watson has officially requested a trade out of Houston, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The Texans hired Ravens assistant David Culley to be their new head coach on Wednesday. The trade request from Watson was reportedly made "weeks ago" and it has not been redacted after Culley's hiring.
It was a tumultuous 2020 season for Watson and the Texans. Houston finished last in the AFC South at 4–12 and there was significant organizational instability in addition to the on-field struggles. The Texans traded star receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals in March 2020. The team also fired former head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien seven months later
Watson said after the 2020 season that the organization needed "a whole culture shift."
"We just need new energy," Watson said on Jan. 5."We just need discipline. We need structure. We need a leader so we can follow that leader as players. That's what we need."
Watson's frustration with Houston carried through to the offseason. He was unhappy with his lack of input in Houston's coach and general manager search, a process he was reportedly promised to be involved in. But the Texans didn't Watson before hiring Patriots' executive Nick Caserio, exacerbating the situation in Houston.
Houston's QB signed a four-year, $160 million extension with the organization in September 2019. Watson has a no-trade clause in his contract, which allows him to veto a trade to any potential destination. Houston reportedly does not wish to trade Watson, hoping it can "repair the relationship," per the Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson.
Numerous teams are expected to make a push for Watson, per the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The Bears could potentially pursue Watson, and the Panthers are reportedly expected to make a "strong push."
The Texans drafted Watson with the No. 12 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. They reached the playoffs twice with Watson, including the AFC divisional round last season. Watson turned in his best statistical season in 2021 by throwing for 4,823 yards and 33 touchdowns.
Culley will lead Houston in 2021 after 27 years as an NFL assistant. He served as the Ravens' passing game coordinator, wide receivers coach and assistant head coach.