Sean Pendergast

Four Thoughts on the Texans' Stunning Randall Cobb Trade

The Texans plan on having a lot of speed on the field this season, starting with their top three receivers — (L-R) Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb.
The Texans plan on having a lot of speed on the field this season, starting with their top three receivers — (L-R) Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb. Photo by Sean Pendergast
Here is my quick update for Day 2 of Houston Texans Training Camp — Deshaun Watson was back out there sweating with his teammates, and sweating with them was about all he did with them. Compared to Day 1, Watson participated in even fewer drills, spent even less time chatting with teammates, and generally speaking, looked miserable to be out there.

You might say "Well Sean, it was a billion degrees outside, wasn't everyone miserable out there?" To which I would say "If I'm answering for the assembled media then YES, however, if there is one thing that new head coach David Culley has instilled in this team, it's a high level of energy and enthusiasm, so the team, aside from Deshaun, seems to be enjoying themselves!"

How much longer this can go on — Watson just showing up and going through the motions  — before it becomes a distraction should be a fascinating experiment. I could see either side tapping out next week, or I could see this becoming a months-long staring contest. It's pretty riveting stuff.

In the meantime, we interrupt Watson Watch for an actual football transaction, as Texans GM Nick Caserio was able to, somewhat miraculously, get out from under the horrific contract Bill O'Brien gave to Randall Cobb in March of 2020:

What do the Texans get in the deal? Well, A LOT OF STUFF.
The Texans really get three key benefits from this deal. First, they actually get a late round draft pick for an overpaid, nearly washed up slot receiver in his 30s. Second, they actually free up over $5 million in cap space. Finally, the Texans shouldn't feel forced to have play Cobb any more, as they might have if he were still here stealing money. Instead, they can spend 2021 assessing the newly acquired Anthony Miller and fourth year slot guy Keke Coutee, either of whom might figure into the Texans future plans.

Thank God for Aaron Rodgers!
If you hadn't heard, the other disgruntled franchise quarterback in the league, Aaron Rodgers, will be rejoining his team in what appears to be one of those marriages where both sides tolerate each other for another year. However, as part of his diatribe about his journey as a Packer on Wednesday, Rodgers listed a group of longtime teammates he felt were disrespected on the way out the door:
This led Green Bay GM Brian Gutekunst to bring back the one available, not-yet-retired player from that list, Randall Cobb. So Texan fans, thank God that Aaron Rodgers might be the worst future general manager in the history of the NFL!

The Cobb deal was one of the worst in team history
I say worst "future general manager" because to this point the worst ACTUAL general manager, hands down, was Bill O'Brien for the year or so that he ran the Texans into the ground. One of the worst deals O'Brien made — and my lord, is that saying something, because he made a LOT of bad ones — was giving Cobb three years, $27 million, just days after trading DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals for a second round pick and David Johnson. Caserio, mercifully, closed the book on the Cobb chapter of O'Brien's gruesome GM history on Wednesday. Evidently, Cobb is equally happy to be gone...

What else is left for Nick Caserio to clean up?
If I'm listing the remaining O'Brien mistakes that Caserio could conceivably clean up with trades, releases, or hypnotizing them into retirement, it's a fairly long list. Safety Eric Murray is still on the books for two more years and about $12 million. Whitney Mercilus had his horrific four-year, $54 million deal restructured one year into the contract by Caserio. The Texans are stuck with him for at least one more season. Defensive tackle Brandon Dunn, and his $4 million salary, can be cut loose for a dead cap money charge of a million bucks. I get nauseous just typing all of these sentences.

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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 the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast