The Houston Texans brought this on themselves, spending all of the last year making this an unattractive franchise for which to play.
DeAndre Hopkins? Shoved out.
Deshaun Watson? Wants out.
And now comes an NFL source telling TexansDaily.com that teams are preparing for the iconic J.J. Watt was to be "out,'' too.
"He can still help your defense,'' the source said. "Other teams think he's gettable - and that (Houston) is over a barrel on this thing.''
"Over a barrel'' because ...
*Houston is facing a 2021 NFL offseason stripped of picks in Rounds 1 and 2. Trying to rebuild by making trades that bring back premium picks is sensible.
*Teams wonder if Houston can be fleeced here. A second-round or third-round draft pick? Waiting until he gets cut in order to create salary cap space?
*The Texans have, incredibly, transformed future Hall-of-Famer Watt into an afterthought of sorts. This offseason has been all about Watson (who feels backstabbed) and the people who did the backstabbing.
Exec Jack Easterby is suddenly more newsworthy than J.J. Watt?
Other teams - emboldened by Houston's front-office foolishness, mired in a situation in which even the hiring of a new GM (Nick Caserio) and coach (David Culley) represents back-page news - can smell blood in the water.
Watt is just 31, remains about as effective as any Texan on either side of the ball, and would offer foundational value for the new coach/GM to everywhere from the locker room to the community. ... especially in trying to put the present “trash” environment - Watt’s own characterization - behind them.
But the "trash'' hasn't been hauled away.
Watt, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, is due a $17.5 million non-guaranteed base salary and has said he is frustrated with the state of the team.
Miked-up at season's end, he spoke to unhappy teammate Watson about Houston having ‘wasted” the QB’s great year. But the Texans wasted Watt’s year as well.
"There's a whole lot of unknowns, so we'll see what happens," Watt said to close the season. "I don't have any guarantees left in my contract, so something's gotta happen one way or another."
Other NFL teams seem to think they know what's going to happen to J.J. Watt. And they are preparing to get in on it.