Sean Pendergast

Five More Potential Houston Texan Swerves in Crazy 2021 Offseason

Benardrick McKinney should be released, but maybe the Rockets pull another swerve.
Benardrick McKinney should be released, but maybe the Rockets pull another swerve. Photo by Eric Sauseda
Say what you will about the Houston Texans (and if what you're saying has anything to do with front office ineptitude, head scratching decisions, or a poorly constructed roster, it's probably true), but they do manage to stay in the news and keep things spicy. Granted, it's the same way that a crackhead probably keeps things spicy for his or her parents, but it is truly never a dull moment. The dull moments will come when A.J. McCarron is the starting quarterback for this team.

Since the end of the 2020 season, there have been no shortage of moments involving the Texans where the initial reaction was "holy $%#&", and that's not just a small font, lowercase expletive. We are talking font size 72 and all caps. Maybe even BOLD, too! Let's quickly list just a few of the unexpected swerves that the Texans have given us in the last two months:

* The "speed dating" hire of Nick Caserio as GM
* The Deshaun Watson trade request
* The hire of formerly anonymous and unknown David Culley as head coach
* The release of J.J. Watt (although we kind of knew that was coming, but still, it's J.J. Watt)
* The release of Nick Martin and Duke Johnson
* The new contract for David Johnson
* J.J. Watt's signing with the Cardinals

That last one really had nothing to do with the Texans, but Watt-to-the-Cardinals might have been the biggest swerve of all! Needless to say, this has been bad for our hearts and good for cardiologists looking to add a new wing to their mansions. So it begs the question, what else could happen in the coming weeks that would be “holy $%#&” worthy? Don't think the Texans don't have more weird decisions left in them, people.

How about these?

Texans decide to keep Benardrick McKinney and his big contract
The Texans are switching to a 4-3 defense under Lovie Smith, which means they have one too many overpriced inside linebackers. Since Zack Cunningham is younger and better at football, he will be the one that the Texans keep. The Texans SHOULD cut McKinney and realize another $6.5 million in cap savings, but it would be very 2021 of them to hang onto McKinney "for leadership purposes", ask him to take a small pay cut, and find some way to wedge him into the lineup.

Texans just eat the guaranteed money and cut Whitney Mercilus
At this point, the 2021 season is probably a lost season, with or without Deshaun Watson under center, so cutting Whitney Mercilus and eating a $15 million cap hit doesn't really make a whole lot of sense. The sensible thing is to just let Whitney play out 2021, and then cut him for a much smaller cap hit in 2022. So, of course, we will probably see an announcement that the Texans swallow a $15 million cap hit to release Whitney, whose contract is the worst of the O'Brien Era, and that's saying something.

Laremy Tunsil demands a trade
Once Deshaun Watson is traded and gone, Tunsil will be the only Pro Bowl player left on this roster. The whole experience for Tunsil, other than him getting a huge contract extension, has worked out the opposite of what he envisioned when he was traded here from the Dolphins in 2019. The Texans are now, basically, the 2019 Dolphins. So if he sees Watson demand a trade and get out of here, what would stop Tunsil from doing the same thing? Doesn't hurt to ask.

Deshaun Watson lays down his weapons, and announces his love for the Texans
Right now, both sides are dug in — the Texans aren't trading Watson (so they say), and Watson will never play for the Texans again. If I'm picking a side that will flinch in this staring contest, it's definitely pick the Texans, which means it would be a shock to see Watson come in, profess his love for the Texans, and say "OKAY, LET'S GO!"

Jack Easterby and the Texans part ways
Yeah right. Like this would ever happen.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at and like him on Facebook at
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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