If you love Deshaun Watson as a player, you should want him on your team. But you should probably beware of the origin of the new "report'' ... well, "rumor'' ... that has Watson desiring to be traded away from the Houston Texans.
Pro Football Talk authored the rumor-filled post early Thursday, suggesting Watson has talked to teammates about requesting a trade. Writer Mike Florio speculated Watson might be trying to flex his muscles to make sure a head coach is hired that meets with the QB's approval. ... or else.
Can Watson get traded? Sure. He can. That is something that is possible to execute. Does he want to get traded, as this gossipy new story suggests? Houston Texans fans (and fans of every team that rightly covets him) should be less "sure'' there. Is he going to get traded? No. From a Houston perspective, that's simply not happening. (Read more here to understand why.)
Is Deshaun unhappy? Ahh... there's an angle ...
UPDATE: While we still take issue with the Pro Football Talk assertion that this is going to lead to a Watson trade demand (Houston is not trading him), both Rapoport and Schefter are now noting that the QB is unhappy about being excluded from the GM decision-making process.
And indeed, if this organization promised Watson that he was going to have a voice ... and then he learned about the Caserio hiring via social media? The Texans goofed. Again.
We the tone of the PFT report is wobbly. "Rumors already are circulating'' is not "news.'' "We’ve already heard them from multiple different people'' is an odd thing to write after just saying that "they're circulating.'' And when Florio then punctuates it all by starting his next paragraph by writing, "If that’s happening ...''
What does PFT mean "if''? How can PFT report that it has first-hand accounts of the rumors and then skirt that by saying the concept of rumors amount to an "if''?
For our tastes, that's a bit loose, journalistically, considering "Deshaun Demands Trade'' would be quite possibly the biggest NFL story of the year. ... which causes us to consider the source, this time from a Dallas Cowboys perspective.
And indeed, there is something else going on here ...
*Florio's Watson "report'' sounds a lot like his March 2020 "report'' about a Dak Prescott trade. He wrote, "It’s hard not to wonder whether the Cowboys eventually will reach the end of their rope with Dak ... Could they tag and trade Dak?''
*Florio, in this same story, pivots quickly to another "Cowboys blockbuster'': "Here’s a potential wildcard: Tom Brady.''
*A few months later, we got "Dallas Cowboys Should Try To Trade Amari Cooper, Mike Florio Says.'' That was in October.
*These come on the heels of the previous season, when Florio wrote that the "Cowboys ... should trade for Adrian Peterson.''
*Before that, Florio "broke'' numerous angles on the Cowboys trading Tony Romo. ... and then built the house of cards to the ceiling by following up with "reports'' of how owner Jerry Jones wouldn't want Romo playing in Houston.
In this staff's coverage of the Cowboys (which dates back 31 years), we can reasonably say: The Cowboys never tried to trade Romo, we have no evidence Romo ever tried to join the Texans, the Cowboys never tried to replace Ezekiel Elliott with Peterson, the Cowboys never tried to trade Cooper, the Cowboys never tried to trade Prescott, and the Cowboys never tried to replace Prescott with Brady.
So why is Mike Florio picking on Texans and Cowboys stories?
Oh, he's not. A Google search shows us that Florio in recent times has had the Patriots doing an Odell Beckham trade is, has had the Dolphins trading for Joe Burrow, has had the Saints trading Michael Thomas, has had Russell Wilson traded by the Seahawks ... and on and on and on.
Interestingly, all of Florio's trade ideas are "blockbusters.'' In the case of Watson, he even talks about a "Dallas Cowboys/Herschel Walker'' type deal.
There is a pattern here - and smart football fans see it - because they know the reason that sort of trade hasn't happened in 30 years. Therefore, the pattern has nothing to do with what actual NFL teams do in trades.
Also interesting: PFT often frames these stories with the word "floats'' - as in "floating an idea'' ... thus removing some journalistic scrutiny.
Rumors can be false. "Floating'' can be dangerous. Playing "The Telephone Game'' by reporting "he told a teammate who told someone else who said he might want to get traded" feels like the appropriate assessment of the PFT "story.''
There is nothing in Deshaun Watson's nature or in Deshaun Watson's actions that support the notions suggested in this report. There is, however, something in PFT's nature and PFT's actions that hint at the real motivation here.