By Joe Scibelli, Esq.
This offseason is continuing to be filled with more drama, and as a fan, I absolutely love it. The two biggest stories during this offseason are, however, Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson. Both have voiced their dissatisfaction with their respective teams, both are top 7 quarterbacks, and both have recently signed ridiculous extensions. Yet, both are extremely upset with their teams and both have caused the trade rumors to stir. Stir is too light, rather erupt.
One thing that is never talked about with all Russ and Deshaun drama is: are they justified with being unhappy with their respective franchises? I’m not saying that Russ and Deshaun shouldn’t be allowed to voice their grievances. Rather, the purpose of this article is to lay out all of what is known about Russ and Deshaun to allow you, the awesome/best JDF Sports fans and supporters, to determine if either one really has a leg to stand on. Obviously, we don’t know what is said in team meetings, conferences with the front office, or much of anything that was said internally concerning Watson and the Texans, or Wilson and the Seahawks. What we do have are stats, tweets, and reports.
Why the Texans Need to do the Right Thing and Trade Deshaun Watson.
We all can agree that last season’s outcome is probably a major bullet point in Watson’s argument why he deserves to be traded. Finishing third in the AFC South at 4-12 was terrible to say the least. If it wasn’t for the Jags almost putting up a goose egg in the win column, Houston would have been in a lot worse of a position. Well with that record, the Texans can at least draft a young talented player, right? Wrong. When Bill O’Brien was destroying the Texans internally by trading away DeAndre Hopkins, people forget that he also traded the Texans’ 2020 first round pick, 2021 first round pick, and 2021 second round pick for offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills. Yikes.
Did the trade pay off? No. Deshaun has still been taking a beating. In 2018, Deshaun was sacked 62 times, but in 2019 he was sacked 44 times and 49 times in 2020. That is a lot of hits for a QB to take. The Kenny Stills portion of the trade did nothing to further the Texans success as well. Kenny is not even a Texan anymore, so great job Bill O’Brien.
One thing that concerns me the most is what the Texans did arguably to two of the best Texans players in the short history of the franchise. We all know that Bill O’Brien probably made the biggest one-sided trade in NFL history (not favoring the Texans, of course), but also what happened with J.J. Watt in the begin of 2021. J.J. Watt apologized to Deshaun for wasting one of his years. Also, the release was terrible for an already disgruntled Deshaun. Watson had, as an individual, one of his best seasons, but the team captain still says, “sorry, we wasted it.” DeShaun lost the two best players he has played with and one of them apologizes about how bad the team is. Not encouraging to say the least.
Last, Cal McNair and Nick Caserio need to share a lot of the blame. After the departure of Bill O’Brien, players on the Texans acted like how Hogwarts acted after Dolores Umbridge was removed as Headmistress. O’Brien, however, was not the only problem. The front office in Houston seemed to be in chaos. There was no leadership, no order, and the Texans as a team did not have the footing to do well in 2020. The other issue was hiring a replacement, a decision in which McNair and Caserio didn’t do what Watson wanted either. Most rumors going around, and Deshaun, were expecting Eric Bieniemy, the Chief’s offensive coordinator, to be the replacement for O’Brien. However, the Texans decided to go with David Culley. Prior, Culley was the assistant head coach, passing game coordinator and wide receiver coach for the while Kansas City had the best. Baltimore Ravens. In 2020, the Ravens had one of the worst passing offenses in the league,
Initially reported by YahooSports and ESPN Chris Mortensen, Watson was unhappy with the move to hire Culley, though it’s unknown if it is a direct reason why Deshaun is upset. In my opinion, it probably had some effect on why Watson wants out. Bieniemy is the right-hand man for one the greatest head coaches in NFL history. Not considering what your franchise quarterback would like out of head coach added more fuel to the fire.
Why the Texans have Every Right to NOT Trade Deshaun.
Deshaun signed a four-year, $156,000,000 contract, $27,000,000 signing bonus and $110,717,123 guaranteed. Signing a contract like that means you are there for the long haul. It’s a well-deserved contract for how well he plays, but he just signed it last September. Whatever happened to “honor the contract.” The Texans put A LOT of eggs in the Watson basket, and just after one year, he wants out. No teams want to be in a situation where a player plays somewhere else, but you’re paying for his contract.
For a PR look for Deshaun, how much maturity does it show when you sign a major deal, second highest paying deal at the time, to now wanting out of it? Signing a commitment needs to mean something. This season has been a bust in 2020, but the Texans have been a playoff team the two years prior with O’Brien and Deshaun. One bad season isn’t an excuse for a player to get out of a contract so massive. Deshaun is an elite NFL quarterback, but his behavior could be perceived in a negative light. It’s reasonable to see his actions as disloyal, immature, selfish, etc… Though he is probably a great person, demanding a trade after signing this large of deal, shows some questionable behavior.
Another main reason why the Texans would be out of their mind if they traded Deshaun is that no team can create a package worth sending Watson away. Hypothetically, there are 5 Watson clones, and each one individually enters a draft from 2021 to 2025. One Watson per draft. Each Watson would go number one in their respective years. Five first round picks or equal to, which is an impossible demand. Teams offered entire drafts, or all pro players with multiple first round picks, but the Texans still refused. Arguably so, the quarterback position is the most important position in team sports. Deshaun’s value in the league is too hot because quarterbacks as talented as him don’t come by often.
Last, to counter the Bieniemy argument, maybe Bieniemy doesn’t want to leave Kansas City. KC will have the best quarterback in the AFC for the next 10 years, who has already been to two Super Bowls. Andy Reid is 62 years old, which makes him the 6th oldest head coach in the NFL. Maybe Bieniemy is getting ready to take over in Kansas City, when or if Big Red retires.
Russell Wilson is Wasting his Years in Seattle.
Russell has started every game, has won 98 out of his 144 games, and won Seattle’s only Super Bowl. Wilson also only missed the playoffs once in his career. He has done a lot for Seattle, and sometimes things must end. After his rookie season, he went to the Super Bowl twice in a row. Since then he’s never been to the NFC championship game. His time in Seattle peaked too early. Russell has always been an amazing quarterback, arguably one of the best since joining the NFL, but I can imagine the frustration. Being an incredible quarterback and winning a Super Bowl when you’re young, but don’t make it back. Rumors about Aaron Rodgers leaving the Packers happens every offseason. Why? Because Rodgers won his first Super Bowl after his third season as the starter, and he hasn’t made it back either. (Took over as the starter in 2008, won his first Super Bowl in 2010). He and Russell have very similar careers, except Rodgers has won MVP.
Another reason why Russell is right to want out: sacks. Throughout his career, Russell has been mauled by defenders. With about 400 times sacked, he has taken a beating. Other than his rookie year, Wilson was sacked over 40 times each season. What people don’t know is that the NFL really stands for is Not For Long. Russell has been fortunate when it comes to injuries, but a quarterback shouldn’t jeopardize his career and health because his team does not have a reliable offensive line. Being always under pressure, definitely isn’t good for your stress and health.
Seattle is Where Russell Belongs.
In 2012, Seattle selected Russell Wilson with the 75th overall pick in the third round. Pete Carroll took a chance on a quarterback that was described as too small or should have stuck with baseball and turned him into an elite quarterback. Seattle changed their team’s culture from an elite defensive team to an elite offensive team to complement Wilson. Also, out of the 32 teams where Wilson could have ended up, he was allowed to develop knowing the Legion of Boom was the star of the show. Seattle has been a playoff team, and the question about why Seattle has been having the success it has as of late (2017 – Present): thanks to Russell Wilson. But prior, it was an elite defense that carried the load which allowed Wilson to develop into the player he is now.
Seattle has been very good to Wilson. They gave him an opportunity that no one was expecting. When he was announced to be the starter in 2012, people were shocked, as he beat out expected starter Matt Flynn. Flynn was expected to be the starter due to his performance as a Green Bay Packer. Yet Pete Carroll rolled the dice and started his 3rd round pick.
Wilson and Seattle have had tremendous amounts of success. Seattle put a lot of faith in Wilson and Wilson has given Seattle his all. I don’t see why both sides should come together and figure out how to regain the success they had in 2013 and 2014. I still believe that can be possible, and if you are a Seattle fan, you should as well.
Conclusion, It’s the Player’s Choice.
Watson and Wilson each are very respected in the NFL and can turn an organization around into a Super Bowl contender. Both Houston and Seattle have shown their respective quarterbacks they’re committed to them with massive signing. We as fans and/or analysts can only see what is reported and not see the private conversations and how they unfold. Whatever your opinion is on the Watson drama or Wilson drama is your opinion and yours alone. However, the two people who know the best about their respective situations are Russell and Deshaun. My hope is that both play in 2021 and neither sits out games. Obviously, I hope the Patriots sign either one, but I’d rather see them play compared to not at all. This article was solely written to further the conversation, to create debate, and to appreciate decision making in the NFL.