If you believe betting odds to be at all accurate and somewhat instructive on what the future holds, then the headline "Texans remain the favorite to employ Watson in 2021" should, on the surface, feel really good for Houston Texan fans (assuming that most fans would like to hold onto the services of one of the five best quarterbacks in the league).
Like a lot of things in sports in general, and with this Watson saga specifically, things aren't always as they appear. Even something as innocuous and seemingly optimistic as these odds are a mirage. Actually, they're more like a wolf in sheep's closing, because these latest Watson "where will he next play?" odds actually are more likely indicative of what I feel is the WORST case scenario for all of this.
For the record, here are the details:
The Texans, via PointsBet, are +250 to be the team with which Watson takes his next snap. That means a $100 wager will win $250 if the Texans keep Watson.
Frankly, that seems too high. By all indications, Watson means what he has said, even if it’s only been said privately. Watson isn’t playing for the Texans again, and no one has reported otherwise. Thus, if it’s a bluff, it’s a very good one.
The Panthers are just behind the Texans, at +300. Then come the Broncos at +400, the Dolphins and 49ers at +700, the Jets at +800, and the Bears at +900.
I can hear you now — "Sean, how could any scenario with Watson's next snap being in a Texans uniform be a BAD thing? Not just a bad thing, but the WORST thing?"
Well, stay with me on this, and let's look at the things we KNOW. We KNOW that Deshaun Watson is entrenched in not wanting to play another snap for the Texans, and for their part, Nick Caserio and the Texans seem equally entrenched in not wanting to trade the fifth year quarterback. Reportedly, they end conversations immediately when opposing GM's raise trade possibilities as a topic.
So how then can Deshaun Watson possibly be playing another snap for the Texans, if he is reportedly hellbent on withholding his services? Well, here's the thinking — while Watson appears ready to sit out of training camp and a big part of the regular season, rather than play for the Texans, the belief is that at some point he will come in for at least a portion of the season so that he gets credit for the season, and his contract doesn't just toll for the full year.
Under this scenario, Watson would come in at the last possible week to where he can get credit for the season, likely with about half the season remaining. Make no mistake, this is the WORST case scenario, even worse than Watson sitting out the entire season. Under a scenario where Watson just stays at home and never comes back, at least the Texans (a) recoup some of his signing bonus money and (b) probably stink it up so bad on the field that they'll get the number one pick in the 2022 draft.
If Watson were to come back, say, in Week 10, and the Texans are, say, 1-9 — a very likely scenario, as without Watson and no competent replacement, they will be the worst team in the league — a few things are likely. First, Watson's mere presence brings unwanted drama, because he will be disgruntled and back in the building. Second, if he does play, he probably wins a few games, which would knock the Texans out from getting the number one pick in the draft. Finally, what if he gets hurt? Then his eventual trade value gets damaged severely.
So again, Watson returning for part of the season unhappy is a worst case scenario, even worse than him staying home for good. This is the scenario these odds are forecasting, a reluctant return by Watson, not a joyous one. How do I know this? Well, the same site that has the Texans as the favorite to keep Watson also have them as the longest shot on the board to win the Super Bowl at +15,000.
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