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BRB Groupthink: Watson, Watson, Watson

Tennessee Titans v Houston Texans Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

It’s all Deshaun Watson all the time. Training camp has opened up and Watson is there to save 50K a day, stand in the deep middle, and petulantly and reluctantly carry on through practice, sweltering, sweating, as a deep middle safety—he could probably teach Lonnie Johnson Jr. a thing or too. Most of us thought Watson would sit out, then end up traded at the end of the 2021 season, and this was a done deal. His emergence from the abyss has complicated things. The future we accepted has shifted.

For this week’s groupthink I asked the masthead the following question. With Deshaun Watson at training camp, playing scout team safety, and acting as the team’s fourth quarterback, how do you think this plays out for this season? Do you think he sits out and is traded next offseason, plays for Houston this season, or is traded before the 2021 season begins.

These are our responses:

L4BLITZER:

While it was certainly surprising to see Watson report to camp, perhaps it should not have been so headline-worthy, given that he can ill-afford the $50K/day fines that would be coming his way, after the loss of the endorsement money and mounting legal bills. He will be in camp so long as it is mandatory, but to expect him to do more than the bare minimum so that he can keep his salary would be the art of the naive. There are no signs that Watson will change his stance that he wants out of Houston, and he will continue to have his agent press to make that move happen.

However, it will be interesting to see what the team will do this training camp. Watson is the best trade asset the team has, and perhaps, if the team can play its cards right, the key to a faster rebuild to get out of the failure of the BO’B/McEasterby debacles. However, the team cannot simply ship him out for a mere second rounder. They need the proverbial offer they can’t refuse. Concurrently, it is very unlikely that any NFL team, unsure about the final status of Watson, whether he can contribute on the field this season, or ever, will fork over the assets that the Texans should seek.

Thus, the Watson situation will continue to leave all concerned in a weird, painful form of limbo. Watson will try to hold to what little principled high-ground he has, and the Texans, looking to keep Watson as attractive an asset as possible, will do what they need to in order to keep Watson out of physical harm (at least one the field). Perhaps McEasterby can pressure the NFL to try to come to a decision on the Commissioner’s Exempt List, but Cal doesn’t have the clout of Bob McNair. This means that barring a massive settlement out of nowhere, 2021 will not offer any clarity on Watson, and we will wait for the legal system to make the call, which is not set up for speedy, expedient decisions.

MIKE BULLOCK:

At this stage, trading Watson ASAP is the best bet. There’s no guarantee’s his value will grow after the 2021 season ends, and the longer he sits on the shelf, the greater the chance his value diminishes. Barring a settlement, the civil cases will drag on well past next offseason. And, with the NFL essentially acknowledging there are no restrictions on Watson right now, another team could bring him in and immediately add to their win column in 2021.

As sad as it is, there are multiple NFL franchises who have no qualms with employing athletes who aren’t exactly boy scouts. And, should Watson achieve exoneration, the team that takes him could pedal that to fans as championing the underdog. If the cases go the other way, then it’s certainly a black eye for said franchise, but this is a win now league and 2021 is now. By the time this mess resolves, the current general manager-head coach combo of said team could be long gone.

Keeping Watson around just adds to the “Dumbest Show on Turf” reputation the Texans have built for themselves over the last few years. Especially in light of the training camp ridiculousness.

Can Tyrod Taylor, Davis Mills and whomever else is in the QB room learn from Watson in the meantime? Sure. But can Watson’s utter disdain of Jack Easterby and Cal McNair poison the well? Definitely.

As David Culley continues to masquerade as an NFL head coach, and Nick Caserio continues navigating the giant cluster[KITTEN] his friends Easterby and Bill O’Brien created in H-Town, it makes no sense at all to keep Watson around.

CARLOS FLORES:

Judging by how Watson got an ice age level of cold shoulder from higher ups, I think this all gets passed off to another franchise before the season begins.

The Texans are in a really strange position here as they know Watson is as good as gone and there’s no reason to give him any meaningful reps. However, because he decided to show up, it’s making things painfully awkward. This giant elephant in the room will only serve as a distraction from the wholesome family-fun football brand that they’re creating.

While the team may be fielding offers (like they haven’t been fielding since forever ago), I’d be willing to bet that the team won’t have the diamond hands necessary to hold for best value. Goodell is sitting on his hands and holding the team responsible for the Watson situation. I’m sure they’ll want to get past this sooner rather than later.

BIGFATDRUNK:

I have no freaking idea. This is such an unprecedented situation, and the Texans are handling this like spurned children, which complicates things more.

It’s just a long-running swordfight between Watson and the front office, but neither side has either the high ground OR the upper hand.

My best guess is that the Texans trade Watson for pennies on the dollar to rid themselves of his uncleanliness, then Watson sits on the bench the first half of the year for his new team.

In this battle between Watson and the FO, there are no winners, only losers. This sucks.