The Houston Texans got better on Friday. They traded away franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson to the Cleveland Browns, but put their future on great footing. In fact, you could make the argument that Houston fleeced the Browns in the Watson trade.
In exchange for Watson and a fifth-round pick, the Texans received three first-round picks, a third-rounder and a fourth-rounder. They also got out from under the remaining money on the four-year, $160 million deal Watson signed in 2020, and the headache surrounding his legal troubles.
Watson is an incredible talent and a true franchise quarterback, but he was never going to play for Houston again. He made that clear in early 2021, and it became even more obvious after he faced numerous allegations of sexual assault and misconduct early last year. The Texans sat him for the entire 2021 season and he was never going to put on the uniform in the future.
Considering Watson had a no-trade clause and could basically pick his next destination, the Texans had very little leverage. And they still brought in a huge haul for him. That's just brilliant work by Houston general manager Nick Caserio. He now owns the No. 3 and No. 13 picks in the 2022 NFL Draft to kick off the franchise's rebuild.
When was the last time we could compliment a move made by the Texans' front office? It truly is a new day in Houston.
The Texans obviously have to make the most of those picks. They need to hit on their first-rounders. They'll have two in each of the next three drafts and they have to plan this perfectly. With a fairly weak quarterback class this year, maybe they don't draft their next franchise signal-caller this year. Roll with Davis Mills in 2022, tank a bit and have their pick of the litter in 2023. That might be the play. Tear it down and bullid with young guys.
No matter what they decide, the Texans did as well as they possibly could have with a terrible situation. They got an enormous haul for Watson, freed up a ton of salary cap space and can now fully begin their rebuild. The trade was a huge win for Houston.