QB SNEAK NOT THE CALL
Watson needs to directly speak up on whether he’s demanding a trade
Deshaun Watson, obviously, can speak for himself.
He is his own man.
The 25-year-old franchise quarterback has replaced James Harden as the most influential athlete in Houston sports.
Watson has publicly attached his name to social-justice causes and business branding and is just beginning to expand his local, regional and national reach.
He also inspired a local rally/ protest near NRG Stadium on Monday.
But D4 can’t say what he really thinks four months after signing a four-year, $156 million contract extension with the Texans?
Watson has to rely on anonymous sources and unnamed friends to speak for him, when it comes to discussing his short- and long-term futures with Houston’s NFL team?
Maybe his brief Twitter bio really says it all: “For Football Inquiries Contact: @DavidMulugheta For Marketing Inquiries Contact: @AnswerNyc.”
Football inquiries. Marketing inquiries.
Perfectly sums up the already ridiculous public relations war between Watson and the Texans, doesn’t it?
If Watson wants to be traded, he needs to say it.
If Watson does not want to be traded, he needs to say that, too.
It shouldn’t be this hard for the Texans’ franchise QB to speak for himself.
But it has been.
Which means that Watson — who is 1-2 in the playoffs and has been outplayed by Patrick Ma
homes and Andrew Luck in postseason defeats — is either receiving bad advice and being played or D4 is still unsure whether he really wants to take it this far.
Thus far, it looks like Watson is flexing his newfound power, while his agents/representatives/ friends/whatever use the media to further their agenda.
The flex is working. Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy — who initially wasn’t interviewed by the Texans during their head coach search — was set to conduct a Zoom interview with the team on Monday.
ESPN reported Sunday that Bieniemy, a personal favorite of Watson’s, is now being seriously considered for the big job.
The Texans’ daily soap opera took its most surreal turn to date when Watson somewhat broke his silence at 10:48 a.m. Monday by tweeting: “I’m hearing there is a march planned on my behalf in Houston today. Although I am humbled I ask that whoever is organizing the march cancel for the sake of public safety. Covid is spreading at a high rate & I don’t want any fans to unnecessarily expose themselves to infection.”
Letting everyone know that you’re unreachable on vacation while those close to you rip the franchise that you just signed a $156 million extension with is a superstar power move that has the NBA drooling.
The collateral damage: The Texans have looked worse and worse to national and local eyes, partly because their franchise QB is allowing others to speak for him and damage the Texans in the process.
The Texans, obviously, deserve most of what they have been receiving.
But what stellar free agent is going to eagerly sign with a team coming off another 4-12 season with so much public drama engulfing a dumpster that was already on fire?
If Watson stays in Houston, he will have spent weeks (or months) hurting the image of the team that he is supposed to lead.
If Bieniemy is hired, wouldn’t that make Watson — who’s yet to win a divisional round playoff game — the Texans’ new general manager and the most powerful player in the NFL?
King LeBron James would instantly be jealous.
Maybe this is just what happens when you trade DeAndre Hopkins for peanuts. When #FireEasterby takes over everything and CEO Cal McNair keeps proudly standing by his man.
Maybe this will be the offseason when Watson is traded, J.J. Watt finally leaves and the Texans place their first full rebuild in Nick Caserio’s hands.
This is definitely what happens when you abruptly fire your PR director midseason, allow Jack Easterby to keep running a messy show without taking questions, and don’t know how to properly fight back against national media that knows you’re an easy punching bag.
“I want to be traded” is hard to take back.
Just ask Harden. Ninety-nine percent of Texans fans DO NOT want Watson traded. Ninety-eight percent of Texans fans have spent the last two weeks swearing they will quit the franchise forever if trading Watson — the first franchise QB in franchise history — is the first big move of the Caserio era.
I definitely don’t want Watson to be traded. I covered the 201316 Texans QB carousel, which peaked with Brock Osweiler in red and blue, for a living.
Watson vs. the Texans is an easy knockout for D4. The Texans were messed up years before Watson started relying on anonymous voices to work out his feelings in public.
But while photoshopped images of Watson in 28 other uniforms continue to color social media and ESPN reports that the Texans have already held internal conversations about potential trade partners, Watson still hasn’t used his voice to officially put his name on anything.
Instead, it’s been this: “Two sources close to Watson.”
And this: “Multiple people in and around the Houston Texans organization.”
And this: “Per a source with knowledge of the situation.”
On Saturday, Sports Illustrated reported (anonymously) that Watson “just wants out.”
Sunday was ESPN’s turn, with a buzzing headline teasing that D4 “may have played last snap with Houston Texans.”
Watson, like a 15-year-old with a new phone, has played it safe by cryptically tweeting random things and song lyrics.
It began as “some things never change….”
That evolved into “I was on 2 then I took it to 10.”
About 150 frustrated fans cranked it to 11 on Monday with a protest walk.
Just three months ago, Watson was asked for his view on Watt saying the Texans’ 0-4 start had been brutal.
Bill O’Brien was about to be fired as head coach/general manager/offensive playcaller. The Texans’ 2020 season was basically over with 12 games still to be played.
Watson’s reply was resilient and upbeat. He had overcome too much early in his life to allow four lost football games to affect his personal view of the world and his love for the sport.
“I’m not going to let it take my joy,” Watson said on Oct. 4. “I’m going to continue to live life, continue to work my (butt) off, continue to come in here every day and play football. It is what it is. But at the end of the day my joy, my spirit, my smile, my energy, the love of the game is still going to continue to be there. That’s how I see it.”
Andre Johnson stood up and put his name on his anger at the Texans.
As poorly as Harden handled his forced exit from the Rockets, the mysterious Beard at least directly told the team that he wanted to be traded.
Just four seasons into Watson’s NFL career, he’s already facing a defining moment.
Watson is coming off the best season by a Houston QB since Warren Moon. D4 lost Hopkins and still emerged from 2020 as one of the best field generals in the NFL.
But has Watson already played his last snap with the Texans?
Are McNair’s (and Easterby’s) Texans so backward and dysfunctional that Watson just wants out?
If so, it’s time for the franchise QB to speak for himself. Say it, get it over with and let the trade market catch fire.
If not, it’s time for Watson to give Caserio and the Texans’ next head coach a chance to prove that the old ways on Kirby Drive won’t be the new ways.