Sean Pendergast

Deshaun Watson Has a Right To Be Angry With the Texans

Deshaun Watson has been dealt the worst hand of the elite quarterbacks around the league.
Deshaun Watson has been dealt the worst hand of the elite quarterbacks around the league. Photo by Eric Sauseda
Despite not having been quoted directly on the subject, it's no secret that reliable sources claim that Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is not happy with his employer. Reportedly, the franchise quarterback feels jilted from being left out of the communication loop on the hiring of general manager Nick Caserio, when it was believed owner Cal McNair valued his input, and would at the very least, communicate with Watson throughout the process.

Only Watson and McNair know exactly what was promised between the two of them, but the fact of the matter is that McNair should feel very fortunate that it took this long for Watson to begin rumblings of displeasure with the Texans, because there are any number of other reasons Watson could have sounded off a long time ago.

Let's explore this further. Deshaun Watson is a Pro Bowl quarterback. That's not an opinion, it's a fact. Somehow, amidst a 4-12 dumpster fire of a season for his team, Watson managed to make his third consecutive Pro Bowl. He was THAT good, leading the league in yards per attempt, and ascending to a top three all-time career passer rating. He was the only quarterback to have an above average game grade from Pro Football Focus in EVERY game he played this season.

Somehow, Watson has done this with far fewer resources, far worse decisions being made around him, and far less hope that his employer will do competent things moving forward. If we are to use a pool of quarterbacks to whom we can draw a comparison, this is a convenient week to do it, as there are eight quarterbacks left in the postseason. Honing in more specifically, in Watson's AFC alone, all four quarterbacks remaining are draftees of the first round of the 2017 and 2018 drafts — Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Baker Mayfield. These are the quarterbacks that Watson will be competing with for the next decade (barring a trade to the NFC).

So how has Watson's life as an NFL player stacked up against the football lives of these peers? Well, it's safe to say that all four of Mahomes, Allen, Jackson, and Mayfield have had a pretty nice 2020 professionally, what with all four still playing football. Meanwhile, in 2020, Watson had to endure the following:

* Bill O’Brien trading Watson's primary receiver to Arizona for a 2nd round pick and a washed up David Johnson.
* Bill O’Brien dishing out a TON of bad contracts to the likes of Whitney Mercilus, Randall Cobb, and Eric Murray, to name a few.
* The Texans started 0-4, resulting in O'Brien getting fired.
* The offensive line looks like they are being coached by a junior high volunteer parent, allowing 49 sacks and paving the way for the worst running game in football.
* Watson's top 2020 target, Will Fuller, was suspended for the final five games of the year for a PED violation.

That's a fairly atrocious way to be living, if you're an NFL quarterback in 2020. Let's draw the direct comparison to the four quarterbacks above, and point out the following, as well. Among those five quarterbacks (Mahomes, Allen, Jackson, Mayfield, Watson):

* Watson had the worst defense
* Watson had the worst offensive line, and running game
* Watson had, by far, the worst head coach
* Watson had, by far, the worst general manager
* Watson had, by far, the worst deterioration of weapons during the year, starting with the Hopkins trade, and ending with Fuller's suspension

So, yeah, Watson is angry at Cal McNair for ignoring him during the GM search. That's disrespectful. However, the fact of the matter is that Watson plenty to beef about with his employer LONG before the search for new leadership began. That he didn't speak out at any time during the season is yet another reason why the Texans have to find a way to make it right with Watson.

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast