We're only in the early stages of the Deshaun Watson situation in Houston. Rumors leaked about a month ago he might want a trade. Last week the official report made the rounds that he requested Texans management to send him elsewhere. New Texans GM Nick Caesiro said the team does not want to do that. That's where we're at. Until now.
The latest report comes from Chris Simms, who said a source he trusts very much said Watson would refuse to suit up if Houston does not acquiesce to his trade demands by the start of next season (starting at the 2:15 mark of the below video).
"I've been led to believe this, Mike: There is no way Deshaun Watson will play for the Houston Texans again. I'm saying that. I have been told by somebody I trust that says Deshaun Watson will never play for the Houston Texans again, and he's willing to sit out football for the year if he has to. "- Chris Simms
It would be a shock if Watson actually did sit out. We have only seen one major NFL holdout since the 2011 CBA renegotiations essentially eliminated that strategy for players with Le'Veon Bell sitting out the 2018 season amidst a contract dispute with the Steelers. Usually, the player either sorts it out with the team with a contract renegotiation if the issue is money or the team finds a willing trade partner if he wants out.
But we've also never seen a player of Watson's caliber in this situation before in modern-day football. He's a top-three QB on his best days and a top-seven QB on his worst. He will elevate any franchise he goes to. He's a legitimate superstar. Even the most incompetent of organizations usually figure it out for a guy this good before things come to a head in such a definitive manner.
The Texans are apparently the exception to that rule. The team will do everything they can to mend the relationship with Watson, but it might be too late already. It would only get worse if they tried to play hardball and threaten to fine him if he chooses to sit out. They would be able to recoup the money, sure, but it is very difficult to imagine that situation unfolding with Houston coming out better off on the other end.
Just about any team in the NFL would happily fork over a king's ransom for Watson. But obviously the Texans need to be willing. Even if the Simms report is just a part of a larger PR battle being waged behind the media scene by Watson's camp and Houston, this threat will loom ominously as the 2021 season approaches.