HOUSTON - Nick Caserio wanted to be a general manager, not a babysitter.
The GM made a promise to help fix the Houston Texans. He also has stuck to his word and kept Deshaun Watson, despite the quarterback asking for a trade.
Caserio is smart. He realizes the value of a quarterback. Oh, and all the things said about Caserio? That goes for new coach David Culley as well.
Watson finally ended his silence and met with the Texans new head coach on a Zoom call. The purpose wasn't to learn the coaching style or discuss the NFL Draft, but rather to double-down on the QB's stance on Houston's future.
He doesn't want to be a part of it.
Alright, so be it.
Caserio and Culley now have a season to prepare for and a team to build in their image.
Our Anthony Wood wrote "it's time'' a week ago.
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Fine. It's time.
But the price had better be worth it.
Should Watson be moved, it would be "the trade" in the NFL. Trademark it now as "The Decision, Houston-Style," with a bow to LeBron James. Multiple picks would need to be given up, and not just first-rounders. And a proven quarterback for at least the 2021 season has to come back, too.
Watson's name has been linked most heavily to the Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers entering March. Miami and New York have the best chance to land Watson due to their immense draft capital.
They also each have a quarterback who could end up in Houston.
The Dolphins finished 10-6 under Brian Flores' second season. Tua Tagovailoa was adequate as the starter. Likely, they want better than "adequate.''
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Caserio, while in New England, was enamored by Tagovailoa coming out of Alabama. Could the GM be enamored still?
New York owns the No. 2 pick in April's Draft and is entering a new era with coach Robert Saleh. Neither has ties to fourth-year quarterback Sam Darnold, who has been at the pinnacle of trade rumors since the firing of coach Adam Gase.
Darnold, 23, still is young enough to build himself into a quality starter elsewhere. Could Houston staffers Tim Kelly and Pep Hamilton help the former USC star flourish?
The Broncos, 49ers and Panthers all will be considered, but they don't have the quarterback, nor the picks to make Houston look like a winner in the deal.
Houston could ask for Darnold and both of the Jets' first-round picks in 2021. They also should demand one of the two first-rounders in 2022, plus two-mid round selections.
Go for broke, add the second first-rounder in 2022 and call it a deal.
The Dolphins own Houston's first-round pick from the Laremy Tunsil trade. They also own their second-round pick. Done right, both would be come back to NRG, along with Tagovailoa, the 18th pick and likely two or three more selections.
Should Miami hope to keep their first in 2022, adding a name like Xavien Howard could entire the Texans.
Let's be clear when we say this: trading Watson is a loss for Houston. No, not just the Texans, but the city of Houston.
Watson's on-field production has filled the seats with fans, but his off-field charity work has helped more families than one can count.
But, reality check.:Watson wants out so badly there are suggestions he will sit out rather than continue with the Texans. Houston needs to rebuild and offers such as these come once in a lifetime.
Today, Caserio has not made Watson available. Tomorrow, he must.
It's now time for the Texans to realize the mess they made and begin a new day with a new signal-caller - but only a trade in which Houston can actually call itself a "winner.''
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