Texans Trades: Who's Off-Limits And Who's For Sale

Anthony R Wood

As the November 3rd NFL trade deadline approaches, rumors have been rife surrounding the futures of players who currently call the Houston Texans home. However, according to a recent article from SI's Albert Breer, only four players have been singled out as 'off-limits.' 

"We told you last week that the Texans were waiting to see how the game against the Packers went to chart their path," Breer said. "Well, Houston lost that game 35–20 and, it seems, is now open for business. The Texans have told other teams that four players are off limits: QB Deshaun Watson, DE J.J. Watt and OTs Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard. They’ll listen on anyone else (though they’d probably be less likely to move guys they just signed extensions with). They’ll get calls on their receivers, and could move Stills, Fuller or Brandin Cooks"

Going through the aforementioned names, there is just one surprise.

Watt may be the face of the franchise and arguably the best player to have played for the Texans, but his clear frustration during recent post-game press conferences combined with his age has sparked rumors surrounding the potential for his imminent departure given the team's lack of top draft picks this year.

READ MORE: 'Angry' Watt Should Request Texans Trade

Elsewhere, there are no surprising inclusions. Watson has just signed a new contract extension which includes a no-trade clause. Tunsil also signed a contract extension this year and is key to their plans to get the most out of Watson, as is second-year former first-rounder Howard. 

Breer also mentioned how they would be less likely to move players who had just been extended. It's safe to surmise then that, unless a groundbreaking offer slides onto interim GM Jack Easterby's desk in the next few days, the likes of linebacker Zach Cunningham and cornerback Bradley Roby should be safe. 

However, given their poor cap situation, players on high-end deals such as outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus, center Nick Martin, and linebacker Benardrick McKinney, may be available at the right price.

READ MORE: Can These Texans Get Traded?

What this statement indicates to us is that the team may not feel that the majority of their squad is irreplaceable, or particularly important in their long-term plans. It also tells us that freeing cap space and acquiring draft picks in order to entice top general manager and head coaching prospects are more important than attempting to rescue the rest of this seemingly doomed 2020 season.

Given the sub-par performances of the majority of this roster so far this season, particularly on defense, a new regime will want plenty of cap space to bring in instant-impact veterans if they believe all the roster needs is a few smart additions. 

In the event of an entire rebuild, draft capital will be vital and something the Texans will need to acquire given that former head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien has left the team without a first or second-round pick in 2021.

Ultimately, very few players are genuinely irreplaceable. Those four may have been singled out as 'off-limits,' but given the right price, these limits could surely change before November 3rd.

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