With the Houston Texans having only spoken publicly about Deshaun Watson at the introductory press conference for David Culley a week ago, and with Watson himself only speaking on his situation through back channels and cryptic social media posts, we are somewhat short on the nuances in which we have 100 percent certainty involving this situation.
That said, as has been reported by many outlets, I think it is safe to assume as accurate that (1) Deshaun Watson is NOT happy with the Houston Texans and has requested a trade, and (2) NFL teams are calling the Texans to find out what it will take to land Deshaun Watson. Reportedly, at this point, the Texans are following through on Caserio's promise to keep Watson and not trade "the player," as Caserio referred to Watson last week.
However, eventually, if this drags on, Caserio will need to pick up the phone, and see what's out there to help trigger and fast track a rebuild for this football team. Whose caller ID can Caserio most expect to see pop up on his phone? Well, let's put the other 31 NFL franchises into categories for Caserio, and for you, the reader! Here is your roadmap to Watson suitors, put into eight different categories:
SHOULDN’T CALL and WON’T (5):
Buffalo, Kansas City, Seattle, Green Bay, Tampa Bay
These are the five teams whose quarterback situations are rock solid, and they don't need to view Deshaun Watson as an upgrade. To nobody's shock, this group of five teams contains the four conference title game participants and the team that employs Russell Wilson. None of these teams will call Caserio.
WON’T CALL, BUT TEXANS SHOULD CALL THEM (2):
Jacksonville, Los Angeles Chargers
The Jaguars and Chargers will likely not call the Texans, because one of them already has the reigning Rookie of the Year (Chargers, Justin Herbert), and the other has the odd-on favorite to win the 2021 Rookie of the Year. However, if the Texans want to try to mitigate the damage of moving Watson, getting a dynamic future franchise QB on a rookie contract is one way to do it. If Caserio gets proactive about moving Watson, these should be his first to phone calls.
WON’T CALL, IN SALARY CAP HELL (2):
Philadelphia, New Orleans
The Saints will likely see Drew Brees retire, and the Eagles would love to move on from Carson Wentz, but both teams are so mired in cap hell (Saints are $90+ million over, Eagles are $60+ million over), they can barely breathe, let alone entertain Deshaun Watson trade possibilities.
WON'T CALL, JUST GOT INTO NEW RELATIONSHIP (2):
Detroit, Los Angeles Rams
These two teams just started new relationships with quarterbacks this past weekend, in a Stafford-for-Goff (and draft picks) trade. They are out of the Watson market.
SHOULD CALL, WON’T CALL, IN A QB RELATIONSHIP (5):
Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati, New York Giants, Arizona
These five teams all have quarterbacks that are inferior to Watson, but they are all on rookie deals, and are all good enough to where management will rather see what they have long-term in these guys versus gutting future drafts to attach picks to them and go get Watson.
BLOCK ALL CALLS (4):
New England, Tennessee, Indianapolis, Dallas
As I've outlined perviously in this space, for a variety of reasons, I have no desire to do business with any of these four teams.
WILL CALL, TEXANS POLITELY HANG UP (6):
Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Denver, Washington, Minnesota, Chicago
These are all teams that will try to sell the Texans on future first round picks that are not high enough to draft a young quarterback, OR they will try to ship their young quarterback to the Texans and sell him as the solution to the Texans' QB problems (looking at you, Denver and Drew Lock). Any deal with any of these teams will end up being a major disappointment.
WILL ABSOLUTELY CALL, and TEXANS SHOULD LISTEN (5):
New York Jets, Miami, Atlanta, Carolina, San Francisco
These five teams are the sweet spot, as the first three all have picks in the top four of this year's draft, Carolina has the 8th overall pick, and the Niners pick 12th but have numerous established players they could mix into a deal. Most importantly, I think Watson would approve a trade to any of these teams.