Is quarterback Deshaun Watson unhappy enough with his situation with the Houston Texans to speak privately to his inner circle about
what-if?'' trade destinations?
According to a report from the credible Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, the answer is "yes'' - and the other two answers are "New York Jets'' and "Miami Dolphins.''
"In that order,'' writes Salguero, who adds, "Watson this week told people the Jets are his top preference among the teams he’d like to be traded to because they hired Robert Saleh to be their coach and Watson values Saleh so much he wanted the Texans to interview him for their vacant head coach job.
"Watson (also) confirmed reports (by speaking to a Salguero source) that he’d ... welcome playing for the Dolphins, but said that is his second choice at this time,'' Salguero writes.
We believe the report to be factual. Now, let's break down more facts:
*Nowhere in the story does Salguero report that Watson has asked for a trade - and we know that, as if this moment, to still be true.
*The story is not about Watson voicing a firm desire to leaving Houston, thus our "what-if?'' wording.
*It's been understandably pondered by Texans fans/observers if Watson was "just having a casual conversation.'' We actually view this as quite likely - but that doesn't negate the idea of the player contemplating a trade. A "casual conversation'' about being traded is nevertheless a "conversation.''
*In fact, it might be evidence of its "casual'' nature that Watson's alleged list only includes two teams - and it might be evidence that he hasn't fully flushed out his thinking to envision himself in, say, Washington, which is arguably much closer to winning big than New York is.
It's also worth noting that there are surely other teams that would be attractive destinations to Watson that he hasn't prioritized due to unlikelihood. Would he like to play for the Dallas Cowboys? Maybe. But while Dak Prescott is not yet signed, it's probably that the view inside Watson's circle is that Prescott is locked in as Dallas' QB.
*The admiration for Salah, the former Niners defensive coordinator, rings true. As with Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy's candidacy in Houston, Texans management - owner Cal McNair, GM Nick Caserio and exec Jack Easterby - would be wise to weigh their own views and agendas in balance with what might help repair a fractured locker room.
*Watson displeasure with the franchise over its direction (and its lack of honesty with him, something for which Watson has received a McNair apology) still doesn't mean his, of the Texans', ultimate resolution is a trade.
Actually, healing the wound is wiser, and maybe even easier, than forging a complicated trade. But if the Texans cannot find a way to do the former? They should believe that Deshaun Watson - "casual conversation'' or not - is spending time thinking about specific partners with whom to do the latter.