HOUSTON - You don't play chicken with the train. You never win.
The Houston Texans need not test that theory with Deshaun Watson and his trade request.
The Texans are staring into a self-created abyss of horror as they have squandered one of the best things in the NFL: a happy franchise quarterback. The rampant ineptitude has led to a desire from Watson to move on.
Houston doesn't have to listen to Deshaun Watson's trade request. New general manager Nick Caserio and executive Jack Easterby (yes, he's still involved, and don't let anybody tell you differently) and ownership do not have to give Watson what he wants.
The team has some financial protection built-in by the CBA. There are mandatory fines and parts of his salary and signing bonus can be taken back for missing workouts and games. They can balk at the request and Watson can pull a costly no-show.
Sounds messy and sounds like it delays the inevitable: moving on.
Would it make some fans of the Texans thrilled to see the team take a hard stance against Watson? Sure. Has the organization shown any of the gumption necessary for those actions? Not in the slightest.
It is in the best interest of the Texans to solicit the best trades from the Watson-approved destinations. Then, take one of those offers and move on.
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A standoff would only push the rebuild back years. It would hinder the slight, tiny chance the Texans have to rebound from this turmoil. It would lower Watson's value making the eventual separation even more disgusting.
What's the endgame to a standoff? Force his retirement?
The chance to "win" a standoff is smaller than just moving on and making draft picks hoping they turn into stars. Deshaun Watson isn't changing his mind. He isn't going to suddenly decide he is fine with the way things go at NRG Stadium. He is unhappy. He wants out.
Watson leaving in the next 91 days is what is best for the Texans. There is no scenario where his value increases after the 2021 NFL Draft.
There will be no "fair" offer on the table for Watson. Nothing will be enough. A never-ending hunger for value doesn't mean the Texans should go hungry though.
It hurts, but shop Watson, and take the best deal and move on. Start looking for another quarterback and use the boatload of selections on rebuilding a bare cupboard of resources.
This isn't ideal, but it seems unfixable. Time will not heal this wound.
The Texans have been served divorce papers, just settle, and start dating again.