It seemed inevitable even if fans didn't want to believe it. With the complete bungling of the franchise by owner Cal McNair apparently at the hands of the preacher-turned-football-guy Jack Easterby, the announcement on Thursday that franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson has officially requested a trade should come as no surprise.
It still stung.
According to reports, Watson requested the trade weeks ago, but official word hit Twitter on Thursday. Watson has not spoken to new general manager Nick Caserio or anyone with the team. Who the Texans hired as their new coach — it was reported yesterday that would be 65-year-old position coach David Culley would be named the head coach — is of little concern to Watson who wants a fresh start.
And, honestly, who could blame him?
The Texans have largely been a dumpster fire since their inception, punctuated by brief highs and stupefying, extended lows. After turning over the reigns of the entire team to Bill O'Brien rather than hiring a general manager of his equal, then bringing in former chaplain Easterby to somehow consolidate power, they made one bizarre move after another including the trade of DeAndre Hopkins in one of the worst deals in NFL history.
Watson has a no-trade clause meaning he can control where he is traded. And before you go all, "Well, the Texans don't have to do anything. Watson is under contract for five more season." True, but a simple question: When did the Texans ever choose to do the smart thing?
Barring some incredible change in fortunes or a direct hit from an asteroid on the NRG complex, Watson is going to get moved before next season and the most promising player since J.J. Watt (and probably Watt too while we are at it) will be but a distant memory for fans, whoever remains to watch what is left of the team in the aftermath.
And we say that because the group in charge of handling what is certain to be one of the biggest deals in NFL trade history includes the newly hired Caserio and, most importantly, Easterby. If any organization is capable of screwing up something like a trade of one of the best young QBs in football, it's this one.
For fans, how do you go back to the team after this? How do you cheer on a franchise that continues to value some fantastical "culture" over actually being good on the field? Because, make no mistake, that is what this is, plain and simple.
Deshaun Watson will be gone. Will "culture" be enough to keep you around too?