The Houston Texans are facing some significant decisions this offseason, some more important than others.
One thing the team has to square away is the future of running back David Johnson. The veteran back is set to make roughly $8.5 million against the cap next year, and the Texans could save $6.9 million by cutting him. It’s a big cap number for a player who ran for 691 yards and six touchdowns in 2020.
According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Johnson and the Texans have mutual interest in his return to the team. However, the Texans want to reduce his salary in order to do so.
Johnson was an elite running back a few years ago, but injuries have caused him problems and he’s failed to consistently recapture his Pro Bowl form.
Sorting out Johnson’s situation will be important for the Texans, but the organization has much bigger issues right now.
DeAndre Hopkins will not be letting the Houston Texans forget what they had in him — or what they gave him away for.
Hopkins shaded the Texans on Friday in a brutal tweet. The Arizona Cardinals wide receiver spotlighted his Pro Bowl-worthy numbers, along with the reminder that Houston let him go essentially for a second-round pick.
The Texans also got running back David Johnson in the deal, though that hardly makes it better. The running back scored six touchdowns, but only racked up 691 rushing yards.
Hopkins hasn’t missed any chances to twist the knife since leaving Houston. There’s no love lost here, and you can bet as long as the Texans continue struggling, Hopkins will let them have it.
Deshaun Watson has not softened his stance on wanting a trade from the Houston Texans, and the star quarterback is reportedly willing to go to great lengths to get his way.
During Friday’s edition of ESPN’s “Get Up,” Jeremy Fowler reported that Watson is willing to hold out all the way into the 2021 regular season if need be.
“I’m told there’s a very real possibility that he could not show up for the preseason and not show up for the regular season if he’s not traded,” Fowler said. “He could incur $3 million-plus in fines during that process, but he does not care. I’m told the relationship is simply too far gone right now.”
Watson has a no-trade clause in his contract, but the list of teams to which the quarterback would approve a trade is apparently quite lengthy. As Fowler described it, Watson has an “anything but Houston plan” at the moment.
While there is still a long way to go before mandatory offseason workouts, this is not the first we have heard of Watson’s willingness to hold out. One AFC executive said last month that the situation in Houston has gotten so ugly that Watson may need to just skip the 2021 season, though we doubt it will get to that point.
The Texans and Watson are in a full-blown stalemate at the moment. Watson met with new Houston head coach David Culley last week, and he reiterated that he has no intention of ever playing for the team again. Despite that, the Texans have committed (for the time being) to completely ignoring teams that inquire about Watson.
Deshaun Watson reiterated to the Houston Texans recently that he still wants to be traded, but the team remains fully committed to not fulfilling that request.
A report on Thursday said Watson met with David Culley last week and informed the new Texans head coach that he has no intention of playing for Houston again. That meeting apparently did not convince the Texans to start listening to trade offers for Watson.
According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, some teams have resorted to calling the Texans and leaving voicemails with their offers for Watson. Rather than turning away trade inquiries for Watson, the Texans have been ignoring them altogether.
Watson and the Texans are in a total stalemate. Team owner Cal McNair said recently that there is “a lot of misinformation” circulating about the Watson situation. He says he is confident Watson will remain with the team for a very long time. Watson obviously feels much differently.
At this point, there is no reason to believe the Texans can smooth things over with their franchise quarterback. Watson has made it clear through leaked reports and his social media activity that he wants nothing to do with the franchise.
The Houston Texans have maintained that they are not going to trade Deshaun Watson, but the star quarterback’s feelings about his situation remain unchanged.
Watson met with new Texans head coach David Culley last week, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports. During that meeting, Watson reiterated that his stance has not changed and he has no intention of playing for the Texans again.
That isn’t really a surprise. Watson and the Texans are in a full-blown stalemate, and there was no reason to believe the hiring of Culley would have a major impact on Watson.
Texans owner Cal McNair said recently that there is “a lot of misinformation” circulating about the Watson situation. He says he is confident Watson will remain with the team for a very long time. If neither side flinches, Watson may be forced to hold out when offseason activities begin.
Teams have expressed interest in acquiring Watson, but the Texans are reportedly not even acknowledging them.
Houston Texans executives have said on multiple occasions now that Deshaun Watson is not going to be traded. Some have chalked that up to media speak, but the team continues to deliver the same message to rivals.
The Texans won’t even listen to offers for Watson, according to Peter King of NBC Sports. At least two teams have made actual offers for Watson, and those offers were not declined. That’s because the Texans gave them zero feedback and have not even bothered to respond in any capacity.
One line of thought is that the Texans are driving up the price for Watson as much as possible by insisting he is untouchable. That could show teams that they need to literally make an offer Houston can’t refuse if they want to land the star quarterback. However, King was told by a source that new Texans general manager Nick Caserio is “categorically opposed to trading Watson, period.”
Texans owner Cal McNair said recently that there is “a lot of misinformation” circulating about the Watson situation. He says he is confident Watson will remain with the team for a very long time.
Assuming Watson is committed to never playing for the Texans again, he may eventually have to hold out. That could cost him a lot of money, but we have seen from his social media activity that he wants nothing to do with the team. Perhaps he is willing to take things that far.
Texans executive Jack Easterby is far from the most popular man in Houston at the moment, and one local restaurant is currently reminding patrons of that.
Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports shared a sign that is currently on some tables of what he described as a “very popular” Houston restaurant. The sign reads “Reserved for anybody other than Jack Easterby for social distancing.”
Deshaun Watson probably appreciates that.
Easterby came to the Texans from the New England Patriots, where he was a character coach and eventually became team development director. He was in charge of character development rather than talent evaluation, which is why Bill Belichick recently gave this brutally honest quote about him. Easterby is now the executive vice president of football operations in Houston.
Watson wants a trade from the Texans, and Easterby is said to be one of the reasons for that. It does not sound like other veteran players are fond of the exec, either.
Former Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson made clear in January that he’s backing Deshaun Watson in his conflict with the organization, and he recently added some context as to why.
Johnson urged Watson to stand his ground in a tweet last month, ripping the Texans’ organization as “pathetic.” In a recent podcast appearance with ex-NFL receiver Harry Douglas, Johnson said his familiarity with the organization, even in retirement, allowed him to see and understand when things were off.
“I’ve been around the organization for a long time,” Johnson said, via Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk. “I worked there last season. It’s just certain things you see. Being able to be on that side of it, it’s just certain things that you see that you know are not right.”
As Johnson noted, he did serve in an advisory role with the Texans before stepping down last August. That does at least give him some knowledge of what’s gone on behind the scenes that has so alienated Watson.
The Texans have made clear where they stand on a Watson trade demand. For now, Watson is taking Johnson’s advice. Whatever the case, it’s a bad sign for the organization when arguably the franchise’s greatest player who spent nearly his entire career there is advocating for current players to get out.
The Houston Texans parted ways with JJ Watt on Friday, and many believe Deshaun Watson could be the next to go. According to team owner Cal McNair, that is not going to happen.
McNair spoke with reporters about the Texans releasing Watt, and naturally there were some questions about Watson. While McNair said he wanted to keep the focus on honoring Watt, he emphatically shot down any talk of Watson being traded.
“There is a lot of misinformation out there. I’ll leave it at that,” McNair said, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “Today we want on focus on J.J. Deshaun is our quarterback, he is a Texan, and we expect him to remain a Texan, and we’ll leave that.”
The Texans have maintained that stance for weeks now, at least publicly. New general manager Nick Caserio said in his introductory press conference last month that he expects Watson to remain with the team for years to come. Houston has also reportedly been turning teams away when they inquire about trading for Watson.
Watson was said to be furious with McNair after McNair told the quarterback he would be involved in the GM hiring process and did not consult him.
Watt reportedly asked the Texans to release him. McNair says making Watt a free agent now will allow him more time to find a new team. McNair is almost certainly trying to save face in the wake of unflattering reports like this one.
There has been a growing sense for weeks that the Houston Texans could move on from JJ Watt, and the team has officially parted ways with the star pass-rusher.
Watt shared a video on social media Friday confirming that he has been released by the Texans. He thanked fans in Houston for their unwavering support through the years.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Watt asked for his release.
Watt was entering the final year of his contract with the Texans. He was owed $17.5 million, which is why many expected Houston to release him amid some major organizational changes. Watt also seemed to make it clear that he is unhappy with some of the recent moves the Texans made.
While Watt has battled injuries in recent years, there should be numerous teams interested in signing him. He had five sacks and two forced fumbles this season. Most importantly, he played in all 16 games.
Now that Watt is out in Houston, all eyes will remain on Deshaun Watson. You can read the latest on the situation between Watson and the Texans here.