Are Texans Players Like Watson Making NFL Trade Decisions?
“Inmates running the prison” is an analogy that didn’t play too well the last time Houston Texans power-brokers attempted to explain, in too-coarse terms, who is actually in charge of an NFL franchise.
So we’ll not use that inappropriate chestnut when examining now ... “Who is in charge of Houston Texans decision-making when it comes to the upcoming NFL trade deadline?”
“Them boys ain’t getting traded,” said Watson, after being asked about speculation surrounding teammates. “That was something that we squashed at the end of practice. It wasn’t too big of a deal. ...
"Nobody is going anywhere.”
So that's that? The 1-5 Texans, in severe need of a rebuild and with the timetable of "now'' being superior to one of "later,'' will decline to even answer the phone when other teams call with ideas ahead of the Nov. 3 trade deadline?
That's ridiculous. Cal McNair, Jack Easterby and Romeo Crennel know it to be ridiculous.
And so does Deshaun Watson.
So what is Watson's purpose in issuing such a declaration? Certainly, by virtue of his personality, his position, his talent and his new $156 million extension, he has the muscle to make a statement that slyly tells his bosses that he prefers to keep the band together.
Additionally - and this is a very clever leadership technique by Deshaun - his message of solidarity gains loyalty and trust from his troops. He spoke specifically about receiver Randall Cobb, who came to Houston this season and purchased a home here and apparently voiced some team-meeting concern about being dealt.
Watson going public with his opposition to the notion buys him a friend in Cobb. Want to bet the receiver this week lifts a little more weight, runs a little faster, dives a little more aggressively for an errant pass?
Watson is simply saying, in so many words, "I got y'all's backs.''
And in return, his "boys'' will have his.
Some of Watson's approach may be born of some post-Bill O’Brien freedom. It would be natural for this organization to presently be experiencing a leadership void.
It would be natural for Deshaun Watson, even at the tender age of 25, to volunteer to fill it.
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But Watson (and J.J. Watt, the other prominent leader who expressed positivism about "wanting to bring a championship to Houston) are aware of the business truths of franchise-building.
Watt doesn't want to be traded. But if he's dealt to a true Super Bowl contender? He'd go.
Watson doesn't want "these boys'' to leave. But - and we'll exaggerate purely to make a point - what if Christian McCaffrey, Travis Kelce and ... DeAndre Hopkins were in the next week traded to Houston?
You think Deshaun would object?
With all due respect to Watson's critics here, there is no reason for McNair/Easterby/Crennel to "call him into the office.'' We're quite certain his bosses know Watson isn't really trying to dictate roster moves; he's just trying to support his friends and create the perception of a bonded locker room.
And that is his job.
Meanwhile, McNair/Easterby/Crennel are charged with laboring to improve the franchise in any possible way, including concepts as the NFL trade deadline of Nov. 3 approaches.
That is their job.
Logically, the 1-5 Texans should be sellers. In the heart-of-hearts of Watt and Watson, they know this. But they aren't "inmates running the asylum'' (which by the way is the more appropriate saying) here. They are leaders trying to run a locker room.
Here's hoping McNair/Easterby/Crennel do their jobs with the same wise passion that vocal leader Deshaun Watson is doing his.