HOUSTON - Can Deshaun Watson get traded? Sure. He can. That is something that is possible to execute. Does he want to get traded, as a gossipy new story suggests? Houston Texans fans should be less "sure'' there.
Is he going to get traded. No. That's not happening.
Pro Football Talk authored the rumor-filled post early Thursday, suggesting Watson has talked to teammates about requesting a trade. Writer Mike Florio speculated Watson might be trying to flex his muscles to make sure a head coach is hired that meets with the QB's approval.
Before we detail what we know as fact, let's dismiss briefly the tone of the PFT report: "Rumors already are circulating'' is not "news.'' "We’ve already heard them from multiple different people'' is an odd thing to write after just saying that "they're circulating.'' And when Florio then punctuates it all by starting his next paragraph by writing, "If that’s happening ...''
What does PFT mean "if''? How can PFT report that it has first-hand accounts of the rumors and then skirt that by saying the concept of rumors amount to an "if''?
For our tastes, that's a bit loose, journalistically, considering "Deshaun Demands Trade'' would be quite possibly the biggest NFL story of the year.
So let's deal not with gossipy "if''s that border on irresponsible reporting to instead focus on boots-on-the-ground facts: What do we know about the situation Watson is in for the Texans?
READ MORE: Caserio Texans GM Salary: Top 3 In NFL
- His contract doesn't make the trade impossible, despite its wealthy nature. A trade costs the Texans $21.6 million in a cap charge. Despite not severely affecting the cap, it does lower the team's cap space by almost $6 million.
This is a cash-strapped team needing every penny to turn the situation around. Financially, a trade would be a poor idea.
- Watson has been consulted on the head coaching hires. It's never been confirmed he was asked about the general manager, but it would stand to reason multiple conversations with chairman Cal McNair covered that topic as well.
Perhaps Watson saw an iffy process in hiring the general manager, one that essentially ignored Korn-Ferry and five advisors, and feared the head coach situation would go down the same way. Surely that could cause Deshaun to "whisper'' some questions about the mindset of the organization.
- Watson is less than one year removed from going to bat for Bill O'Brien after the debacle in Kansas City. He could have made waves, potentially enough to have the Texans looking for a coach a year ago, but instead, he stuck behind the head coach.
Watson has established himself as a loyalty guy, to the team and to the city. And ... Almost every potential candidate is an upgrade over O'Brien.
- Organizational chaos was present when Watson signed his extension before the 2020 season - meaning the QB is accustomed to dealing with it ... and to wishing to be part of the solution to it.
GM Nick Caserio's six-year contract proves stability is coming from one of the key spots. He's on-paper better than Bill O'Brien as a general manager.
The only way Caserio could be worse is to cave to the flimsy rumor of a Watson trade demand.
- How can Watson be upset with the team before any work has been done? It doesn't make sense to claim the organization lacks foundation and needs a leader ... and then before any ink is dry on putting those pieces in place, he changes his mind, in the span of hours, and decides that he wants no part of it anymore.
The timeline of rumored disappointment doesn't feel real. ... Except ...
UPDATE: While we still take issue with the Pro Football Talk assertion that this is going to lead to a Watson trade demand (Houston is not trading him), both Rapoport and Schefter are now noting that the QB is unhappy about being excluded from the GM decision-making process.
And indeed, if this organization promised Watson that he was going to have a voice ... and then he learned about the Caserio hiring via social media? The Texans goofed. Again.
- There really isn't a deal that can make the Texans move their quarterback and satisfy anyone associated with the organization. Almost every team in the NFL would be interested in some way.
Florio writes about a Cowboys/Herschel Walker' type deal. But there's a reason that sort of trade hasn't happened in 30 years.
- Winning cures all ills, and unfortunately, the chance to win is about eight months away. Truly taking away any feelings of disappointment by Watson can't be accomplished until the 2021 season starts and he sees the fruits of the new general manager and head coach's labor.
Watson shouldn't be "pacified'' here. But McNair has spoken to him. Surely Caserio will hurry to do the same.
Rumors can be false. Playing "The Telephone Game'' by reporting "he told a teammate who told someone else who said he might want to get traded" feels like the appropriate assessment of the PFT "story.''
There is nothing in Deshaun Watson's nature or in Deshaun Watson's actions that support the notions suggested in this report. PFT concludes its story by writing, "Keep an eye on the possibility that Watson will respond by making it known privately, and possibly publicly, that he’s ready to move on and move out.''
Indeed, if anything along those lines happens, will will report it. As news. Without the support of any wobbly concepts born of gossip.