This weekend has been all about the six-game NFL Wild Card slate as the playoffs begin and teams try to keep their Super Bowl hopes alive. For 18 teams, those dreams fell to the wayside last week or well before and this past week hasn’t been about preparation for a game but preparation for the offseason and trying to set themselves up moving forward.
Houston is among the group of teams that entered the offseason looking for a new head coach and a new general manager. They’ve brought in the latter, Nick Caserio who has long been the Patriots director of player personnel, and head coach interviews continue, with Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady as the presumptive favorite for many. What is most interesting about the Houston coaching search is the list of names not on their interview list, most notably Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy, who is considered one of the top candidates on the market.
Bienemy also happens to be the preferred choice for star quarterback Deshaun Watson, who has heard nothing but effervescent praise from Patrick Mahomes about the OC. That Bienemy isn’t getting an interview and Brady is a lead candidate with far less experience has reportedly left the star very upset, and, as ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported on Sunday morning, has him at least mulling the possibilities of pushing his way out via trade and where he’d want to end up.
Sources say Watson could play hardball with Texans about a trade. His new $156 million contract includes a no-trade clause but informed speculation from a source is that he would consider the @MiamiDolphins in which Tua Tagovailoa and additional compensation goes to Houston.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 10, 2021
Not only did they not take his request for coaching search advice — something they had previously promised to do — but they also apparently chose Caserio over the two GM candidates that their search firm had recommended, leading to even more frustration, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Also worth noting: One source said this week that, after Houston traded Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins last off-season, Deshaun Watson’s anger level was “a 2….This time, it’s a 10.” https://t.co/CsqZYbe3OK
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 10, 2021
The Dolphins make the most sense for a Watson trade for a number of reasons, most notably that they have a young quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa that is the kind of prospect that could pique the interest of the Texans in moving their face of the franchise should he want out. From Watson’s perspective, the Dolphins are a team on the cusp, with a terrific defense and an offense with some solid weapons that seemingly could take the proverbial leap if they just had a better quarterback under center.
The report from Mortensen is fairly soft in terms of there being anything resembling a formal trade request coming in the immediate future, but simply seems to note that it’s on the table with how this offseason has started for Houston. If Watson does push his way out, he would become the top trade target for just about half the league, as he represents an upgrade at quarterback for all but maybe five teams.