Deshaun Watson needs to demand a trade away from the Texans

Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images
Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images /

Deshaun Watson has given his heart and soul to the Texans during his NFL career. Houston has now repaid him by trading away his best receiver.

The Texans’ shocking decision to trade DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals should cost head coach/GM Bill O’Brien his job. It should also cost the franchise the services of their star quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Houston allowed Watson to take a physical pounding during his first several seasons in the NFL. He survived those beatings by building an exceptional rapport with Hopkins. The two formed what appeared to be a telekinetic connection out on the field. It was never enough to vault the Texans into the Super Bowl, but it created a lot of memorable moments for the team’s passionate fan base.

Trading Hopkins and a fourth round pick in exchange for David Johnson, a second round pick and another fourth round selection is a not-so-subtle slap in the face to Watson. It simply makes the degree of difficulty too high for Houston’s offense moving forward. The Texans may still have moves left to make this offseason, but Watson shouldn’t stick around to see how the dust settles.

The franchise hasn’t done nearly enough to support a star of Watson’s caliber. It might be out of character for him to turn his back on his teammates to demand a trade, but it’s the right thing for his professional career. The chances of the Texans ever surrounding him with the talent required to win a Super Bowl are almost non-existent.

Trading Hopkins doesn’t leave the Texans entirely devoid of talent at the wide receiver position, but it transitions the group from good to below average in a hurry. Will Fuller is an explosive target when he’s healthy, but he struggles to stay on the field every year. Kenny Stills was a good No. 2 target for Watson last season, but he’s horribly miscast as a No. 1 wideout.

The downgrade in receiving talent will force Watson to spend more and more time scrambling around the pocket to extend drives for his team. On a very basic level, that’s a dangerous strategy for Watson’s well-being. In the interest of preserving his body he has every right to demand a trade.

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The great irony is that O’Brien might genuinely believe he can turn a Watson deal into a net positive for his team. That idea might seem laughable to Texans fans at the moment, but the idea of trading Hopkins would have elicited a similar response just a few weeks ago. It’s time for Watson to make a formal trade request in Houston. O’Brien just might be foolish enough to grant it.