Understanding Deshaun Watson’s trade request
By Pavithr Goli
Houston Texans fans thought the team had hit rock bottom at the end of the abysmal 2020 NFL season, but the news of Deshaun Watson requesting a trade is truly a rock bottom feeling.
After regular season finale loss where the Tennessee Titans improbably withstood a Texans comeback, escaping Houston with a 41-38 win, Houston fans were disappointed and angry with the franchise.
Despite their despondent feelings, fans sought solace in the fact that they had their franchise quarterback — that being Deshaun Watson — and the franchise would build around him. After nearly 15 years of searching for a franchise quarterback, the Texans had finally had their longterm quarterback, and he just finished his fourth NFL season.
A true magician on the field, Watson truly epitomizes what a franchise would want out of a quarterback: a star player on the field, leader of men in the locker room, and generous philanthropist off the field.
Watson produced on all levels, playing at a statistically rare level this season — he led the NFL in passing — without his top wide receiver Deandre Hopkins, who was foolishly traded to the Arizona Cardinals for pennies this past offseason.
Despite all of the heartbreaking and head-hanging losses that the Houston Texans faced through this past season, Deshaun Watson pushed through the entire way, playing his best despite playing with the worst rushing offense and defense in the league.
The feelings of pity and grief for Watson’s wasted season was tangible throughout the Texans organization and locker room. From the Texans Week 13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts where fans witnessed Watson be emotional after a poor snap by Nick Martin cost him the game. There was also the viral video of J.J. Watt apologizing to Deshaun Watson for failing to deliver and for “wasting one of his seasons,” it was clear that this season was defined by heartbreak.
Despite this, Watson still persevered holding out faith that the Texans would turn the corner. He even came out and said, in his final press conference, that this team was in dire need of a cultural change.
At the end of a terrible season, Deshaun Watson still held his head high and gave fans optimism in an improvement of the situation. As a franchise quarterback and the voice for the locker room, Watson knew that the Texans franchise could be “fixed” and they could be set up for success in the future.
Watson urged that a culture shift would have to be achieved, and that this team needed a strong foundation for the future. After all, you can’t build a strong building without a solid foundation.
Despite the recommendations of their esteemed franchise quarterback, Houston Texans CEO Cal McNair and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Jack Easterby neglected to listen to his advice. This offseason, as important as it was, spiraled downward as the Texans found a way, as always, to dig themselves deeper in this massive hole that is getting incredibly difficult to get out of.
Deshaun Watson and the Texans have disagreed all offseason
Cal McNair hired Nick Caserio as the new general manager without communicating the details of the hire with Watson, let alone discuss it before hiring. Watson, who had only preached to be communicated to, felt betrayed and lied to. His feelings are completely warranted as the Texans’ front office has absolutely failed to make the right decisions that would ensure the future success and health of the franchise.
Angering Deshaun Watson not only set off a domino effect of trade rumors and speculation of Watson’s future but also immensely angered fans. Diehard Texans fans, who felt relieved after firing of former head coach Bill O’Brien, felt as though that they did not matter to the franchise. Clearly, Watson’s feelings were not just restricted to himself.
The Sports Illustrated articles exposing the role that Jack Easterby plays in the organization further fanned the flames of the dumpster fire that this organization. It is quite difficult to attract good head coaching talent and future team leaders for an organization like the Texans.
Despite preaching to start new and build a new foundation, brick-by-brick, the Houston Texans have utterly failed in their most important offseason since the franchise’s creation, and it has only been one month.
Many feel for fans who have spent hours a week dedicated towards their favorite franchise losing heartbreak of a game after another. These fans have to endure eight more months of pain brought on by their incompetent franchise that keeps on making the wrong decisions.
Many feel for Deshaun Watson who was drafted to be a leader and a legendary player. However, he has just felt let down consistently, never given the proper support, and has been merely failed around him.
From the terrible DeAndre Hopkins trade, to the poor investment in the offensive line, Watson has never been adequately valued by the organization. It is difficult to be a Texans fan right now, but it is important to endure through it all as it can only go up from here.