Houston Texans: With one win, what happens at trade deadline?

houston texans, j.j. watt

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Do the Houston Texans have a shot at the playoffs, or will they have a fire sale at the deadline?

In what has been a disastrous season for the Houston Texans as they fell to 1-5 overall following their overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans, they are a team to keep an eye on at the trade deadline.

The Houston Texans are in an interesting spot as the deadline looms less than two weeks away because they have several quality players that could help a team make a playoff push.

The problem?

After firing Bill O’Brien as general manager and head coach, the Texans appointed Jack Easterby as interim GM, and despite being in a position to sell at the deadline, does Texans Chairman and CEO Cal McNair trust Easterby enough to pull the trigger on trading a franchise cornerstone such as J.J. Watt? Do any teams make an offer enticing enough for an interim GM to make a move?

Another thought that may be running through McNair’s mind is even with the Texans having one win and five losses, with the expanded playoffs, could Houston try and run the table with Deshaun Watson’s talent and attempt to sneak in as the sixth or seventh seed?

While the odds are not in favor of Houston, you can’t ever count out a Watson-led team.

Even if the Texans made a run and somehow squeaked into the Wild Card round, it’s unlikely they will be able to go toe-to-toe with the kings of the AFC in the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens, two teams the Texans have already lost to in the regular season this year.

So which makes more sense for the Houston Texans: Play for playoffs, or play for their future? That will be the discussion internally over the next two weeks.

With the Green Bay Packers coming into Houston this Sunday, this game should be the deciding factor for McNair and Easterby. A loss Sunday all but ends the Texans playoff hopes and will send them to 1-6 going into the bye week. However, regardless of the outcome, this game will likely be a final showcase game for the players that have the potential to be traded at the trade deadline.

Who can the Houston Texans trade to regain draft capital?

There are only a few Texans whom interim GM Jack Easterby should reject offers for, including Deshaun Watson, Laremy Tunsil, Tytus Howard, Zach Cunningham and Ross Blacklock. While you could make the argument for several Texans such as Bradley Roby to stay, Easterby needs to entertain all offers and only make a deal if he’s blown away. Any draft capital Houston can get back is a big deal to a team with no first- or second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft next April.

One of the most obvious candidates to be traded is wide receiver Kenny Stills. Stills is a free agent after the 2020 season and has yet to find the chemistry he had in 2019 with Deshaun Watson.

Stills hasn’t started a single game for Houston this season and has only eight catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. Stills could be a big addition to a playoff team that needs a wide receiver such as the Packers. Stills would likely only fetch a late-round pick, but the Texans would receive a pick rather that letting Stills walk in free agency.

The other big name that has swirled in the rumors is J.J. Watt. The man is Houston. After everything he’s done for the city, it would be hard to imagine Watt in another uniform; however, Watt has one of the largest cap hits, and for a team that is desperate to get rid of money, it’s hard to ignore Watt.

Watt has only three sacks on the season, and for the Texans to send away one of its best players — especially on the side of the ball they’re weaker at — would hurt, but for a late first-round pick, it is a no-brainer football decision.

According to The Athletic, a Watt trade to the New Orleans Saints or Packers would make sense for a late first-round selection the Houston Texans desperately need, along with shedding some serious money.

Trading Watt to a championship contender is something much deserved, as he’s one of the best to ever play on that side of the ball, and for a guy who’s given everything to the city of Houston, it’s time for us to give back.

While this decision by the Houston Texans will hurt most fans, we have to look at this strictly from a business standpoint, and trading players away for draft capital may be the best for the future of this franchise.