In possibly the most bizarre day in Houston Texans training camp history, fledgling head coach David Culley decided to line embattled quarterback Deshaun Watson up as a safety.
Deshaun Watson is playing scout team safety again today. Yesterday’s reps weren’t good enough. #Texans— Brian T. Smith (@ChronBrianSmith) July 29, 2021
Culley’s handling of Watson in training camp doesn’t bode well for what fans can expect from the senior rookie head coach.
Video: McClain, Smith on 'dumbest and worst day in Texans history' https://t.co/wqb9tC9gcg via @houstonchron— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) July 28, 2021
“You start a conversation, you can’t even finish it. You’re talking a lot, but you’re not saying anything.”— Brian T. Smith (@ChronBrianSmith) July 29, 2021
The #Texans celebrated the start of a new era by being a mess again. https://t.co/iap7bGFbvJ #NFL
Column: #Texans are the idiots if they think we're that stupid https://t.co/iap7bGFbvJ #NFL— Brian T. Smith (@ChronBrianSmith) July 28, 2021
Since the smart thing to do (I know, I know, we’re talking McEasterby here, so ‘smart’ isn’t always a proper characterization...) is tuck Deshaun Watson away in bubble wrap and wait for the general manager to make a trade, that’s what a savvy head coach would do right now.
But, this is David ‘I cancelled mini camp after an historic level of roster churn’ Culley we’re talking about. Yes, the same guy who was surprised to learn young players benefit from practicing. So, why not have Watson line up as a safety? I mean, competition might reveal untapped potential, right? We have hybrid DE/LBs, why not a hybrid QB/FS?
Over at Complex.com, Ian Wharton put together a few viable trade scenarios for Watson that McEasterby should sign off on immediately if one materializes.
Let’s take a look:
Houston Texans Trade Deshaun Watson to the Miami Dolphins
Offer: QB Tua Tagovailoa, CB Xavien Howard, 2022 first-round pick (from 49ers) and 2023 first-round pick
Miami would vault from an up-and-coming team with a great defense to seeing their dreams as a contender come true. This trade would complete a massive overhaul under head coach Brian Flores. Moving Tua Tagovailoa, either to the Texans or being rerouted for Houston to collect more assets, for Watson removes any question marks about whether the Dolphins have what they need at quarterback to win big.
Watson would love Miami’s deep corps of receivers. DeVante Parker, Jaylen Waddle, Mike Gesicki, and reconnecting with Will Fuller would be the most dynamic and speed-oriented offense he’s been a part of throughout his career. Though Miami’s offensive line is still a project, Watson’s a master at overcoming issues along that unit. His ability to extend plays would immediately make Miami one of the scariest offenses in the NFL.
In return, Houston would get a quarterback they loved in the 2020 NFL Draft in Tagovailoa, a plethora of picks, and a superstar cornerback. Xavien Howard could immediately be the face of the defense or be peddled elsewhere for another draft pick. Houston’s rebuild would significantly benefit from taking Miami’s unique set of assets.
Howard recently requested a trade out of Miami, Houston desperately needs a CB1 and the Dolphins could certainly do worse than taking a flyer on Watson.
Xavien Howard: pic.twitter.com/CdeL70tUqh— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 28, 2021
Howard’s comments regarding his recent contract sound eerily similar to the Why-did-Watson-sign-his-extension-then-want-out questions. This could certainly present an x-factor in this trade scenario. But, having Howard line up across from Bradley Roby, with Justin Reid and
Deshaun Watson Eric Murray behind him in the safety positions, the Texans secondary is suddenly legit. Add that to the team of 10,000 linebackers and opposing offenses are suddenly forced to kill the Texans with a thousand cuts by running for short gains that lead to first downs repeatedly, instead of passing all over them as we saw in 2020.
Houston Texans Trade Deshaun Watson to the New York Giants
Offer: QB Daniel Jones, TE Evan Engram, 2022 first-round pick (from Bears), 2022 and 2023 first-round pick
Quietly, the Giants have assembled one of the stronger defenses in the league. Gambles on linebacker Blake Martinez and cornerback James Bradberry paid off handsomely as each had career 2020 seasons. Combined with a star-studded defensive line and high-end potential of edge rusher Azeez Ojulari and corner Adoree’ Jackson, this unit can be special.
The offense has similar highlights but one major concern: quarterback Daniel Jones. He’s been a turnover machine through two seasons with 29 fumbles and 22 interceptions. Imagine where this team would be if they could simply win the turnover battle.
That concern not only dissipates with Watson at the helm but becomes a strength for this explosive offense. Watson would have tremendous deep playmaking skill around him thanks to Kenny Golladay and Darius Slayton. He’d also benefit from Saquon Barkley’s return from an ACL tear.
The Giants would immediately become a second-tier NFC team with the potential to reach the Super Bowl.
Daniel Jones and another tight end aren’t nearly as exciting as Tua and Howard, if Pep Hamilton could bring Jones along, this might work out well. If nothing else, Jones, Davis Mills and Tyrod Taylor would give the Texans plenty of trade bait after they pick a QB in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Houston Texans Trade Deshaun Watson to the Denver Broncos
Offer: QB Drew Lock, CB Patrick Surtain II, WR Tim Patrick, 2022 and 2023 first-round pick, 2022 second-round pick
The best roster in the league simply needs a quarterback to make it competitive. Denver’s current options of Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock might get them to the playoffs, but surely won’t get them far beyond the Wild Card round. Deshaun Watson makes them a Super Bowl contender.
Denver has excellent receiving talent and a solid offensive line to surround Watson. They also have a tenacious defense loaded with playmakers. Head coach Vic Fangio could entrust the playmaking quarterback to run his offense with Pat Shurmer and focus on the defense.
The return for Houston has considerable upside. Lock would be a flier to develop at quarterback along with Davis Mills in 2021. Patrick Surtain profiles as a lockdown cornerback on a rookie deal. Tim Patrick is incredibly underrated and starting-caliber, but also won’t break the bank to extend if they choose.
Any mention of “quarterback” and “Denver Broncos” in the same breath triggers nightmares of [NAME REDACTED] in most Houston Texans fans, as it should. However, like Xavien Howard, landing a cornerback of Patrick Surtain’s skill level would go well with Roby and Reid. Drew Lock is another clipboard holder who may, or may not, push Davis Mills to grow up fast, when Mills isn’t running for his life that is...
Complex.com goes on to detail potential offers from the Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers and Washington Whatevers (read them all here) and an argument could be made for a few stalking horse teams such as the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers.
However, the most intriguing for H-Town still seems to be the Dolphins and Broncos who offer the best package of young talent and future draft picks.
Hopefully, Culley doesn’t screw the
pooch golden goose and Nick Caserio can make this trade happen sooner rather than later. They clearly have no intentions of using Watson as the QB1 in 2021, so best to move on now instead of risking injury or simply paying him to hang out with the defensive backs for the entire season.