The partnership between Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans has been terrible for several months, to the point that most casual observers have already written it off as unsalvageable. So this morning's news — brought to us by the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero —that the team has been willing to listen to trade offers shouldn't have caused anyone to fall off of their chairs.
Watson reported to camp on Sunday against the backdrop of 22 civil lawsuits and though "respectful," made it quite clear that he doesn't want to be there. Which we knew and certainly the Texans knew. Hours later this story aimed at drumming up some sort of bidding war for the 25-year-old quarterback appears on an NFL-owned property. All Houston wants in return is at least three first-round picks and more. Which would be conceivable if there weren't, you know, a litany of legal issues to resolve. That could take a tremendous amount of time or never be resolved to a place that affords Watson the ability to play football again. A pretty significant elephant in the room that seems to be conspicuously absent in this morning's initial discussion of trade value or lack thereof.
Then there's the chance the NFL could place Watson on paid administrative lead at any point and face a prolonged extension.
There's no doubt surrounding Watson's talent. He's clearly a top-five quarterback in the league and teams would be falling all over themselves to get a chance at bringing him in during his prime. There's just far too much doubt surrounding his future on the field and off of it. As we sit here today, it's very possible to imagine a scenario in which he never plays football again.
Why on Earth would any team give up a king's ransom to take on that type of risk? Even in the win-at-all-costs NFL? The cost-benefit scale is wildly out of balance right now and there should be absolutely no reason to be first in line giving up tons of future assets for a player who either has an uncertain future or no future in the league.
One should never rule out a rogue team doing something crazy but the Texans probably don't need to sit by the phone waiting to be wooed by offers.