Sources say that the Texans will be evaluating their entire football operation, including the future head coach David Culley. They are embarking on a crucial offseason that could result in a trade for quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Houston is at 4-12 in the first season of Culley’s leadership. The 66-year-old general manager took over a transition team and was viewed as a possible bridge to the future. Nick Caserio is the new general manager. Watson has not been playing this season because of 22 allegations of misconduct sexually and a longstanding request to trade.
Sources claim that Culley is respected by the building as a person and it would have been difficult for any coach in his position to win big. Some players are becoming frustrated by some in-game communication and game decisions, and several key veterans have been disciplined or released during the season. According to sources, Culley will have to address the issues and make changes to his staff if he wants to be retained.
Caserio consistently stated the following in his public comments All evaluations will be done after the season.. Expectations are that the Texans decision-makers meet in private and will take their time before deciding how they want to proceed. Is Culley part the vision for the Texans’ future? If not, then it is worth considering moving on and bringing in a new coach to help the Texans reshape their roster. This will allow them to have access to potentially unparalleled assets once the expected Watson deal is done.
Sources say that multiple teams offered Watson packages which included three first-round and two third round picks. However, there was no resolution to Watson’s legal matter, which hampered the possibility of a finalized deal.
Now, the goal is to trade Watson before 2022’s league year starts on March 16. This will maximize the flexibility that the Texans have through free agency and the draft. There could also be some clarification on serious legal issues Watson may face soon.
According to sources, the Houston prosecutor who is handling the 10 criminal complaints against Watson will make it clear what her position is on any possible charges within the next few weeks. She may also turn over the case and give it to a grand jury. For the 22 women who accused Watson in civil court of sexual misconduct, deposits have already begun. Watson’s deposition cannot take place before February 22. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for May. Watson denied any wrongdoing.
A personal-conduct investigation by the NFL is also underway into allegations made against Watson. Watson has not played for the Texans in this season’s NFL playoffs, but he was not suspended or placed on a Commissioner’s Exempt List. He is still free to play and continues to collect his $10.54million salary. The deal that runs through 2025 will see Watson’s salary rise to $35 Million next season.
Watson has a no trading clause. He waived it this year only to his favorite destination, the Dolphins. In essence, he is the one who has the veto power. The Panthers showed renewed interest in Watson’s trade, just before November’s deadline. Other teams may also be interested, depending on how the legal case and any possible league discipline.
Watson doesn’t have any issues with Caserio and Culley. However, he has made it clear that he won’t play another snap in the Texans’ season for Cal McNair. This is partly because he felt misled regarding Caserio’s hiring. At this point, sources claim Watson isn’t in any hurry to decide where he wants to play in the NFL, as 2022 training camp is still six months away.
The Texans have begun to move on at the position by using a third-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft on quarterback Davis Mills. He has already shown glimpses of his potential in 12 starts (10 wins), including recent victories over the Jaguars (and Chargers). They are expected to also explore the QB market in this offseason.