Watson wants out

Photo courtesy of CBS Sports

Watson wants out
February 10
12:34 2021

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson wants out and wants out now.  

Watson is one of the best quarterbacks in the league and is looking for a new opportunity with another team. Houston is willing to accommodate him; however, the price will be steep.

There are only a few teams that have the assets to acquire Watson from the Texans. There have been several reports that they are looking for three first round draft picks, along with young players in exchange for Watson. With him being so young and so talented, some team is going to pony up what it takes to obtain Watson and it will probably happen before the draft in April.

Watson has been phenomenal since he entered the league in 2017.  He has earned three Pro Bowl berths in four seasons. To thank him for his efforts, former head coach and general manager, Bill O’Brian, traded his favorite target and arguably the best pass receiver in the league in DeAndre Hopkins last offseason.

The Texans only managed a 4-12 record this season, but Watson was fantastic as he led the league in passing with  823 yards with 33 touchdowns, to only seven interceptions.  Watson put up those gaudy numbers with a very average receiving corp. I can’t blame him for wanting to be in a better situation after how the team has continued to spiral downward over the past year.

What I find odd is the negative backlash that Watson has received from players and those in the media for expressing how he felt and why he wanted out of Houston. The response from some has been appalling, to be honest.

Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre said, “I’m kind of old school. I think you play.  You get paid a ton of money to do a certain job and just do it and let the chips fall where they may. I think we make too much money to voice an opinion, but I’m not saying he’s wrong. Again, I think it’s a different day and time, and it will be interesting to see how the organization handles it.”

I was surprised Favre would have this kind of take, especially since he is a former quarterback who played for one of the most stable franchises in the history of sports. He also was surrounded by great talent on both sides of the ball for the majority of his career, so I thought he would understand where Watson was coming from, but I guess not.

Maybe Favre didn’t mean his comments in the negative tone that I interpreted them. It just didn’t sit well with me when he said, “We make too much money to voice an opinion.” That statement just doesn’t make sense to me. So, you mean to tell me that just because Watson is a highly-paid athlete, he doesn’t have the right to express his feelings in a respectful manner? What if he made the league minimum, would that be OK?

Favre wasn’t the only high-profile person to object to Watson wanting out of Houston. Super Bowl winning coach, Dick Vermeil, expressed his thoughts on the situation and he went all in.

“I think they change his diapers, OK? Nowhere in his contract does it say that he’s involved in making the decisions of who coaches or who leads the organization,” Vermeil told TMZ. “He’s a great NFL football player and always has been a great kid, but I think he just shuts his mouth and becomes a better football player and leads the football team and lets the leaders of the organization lead him.”

Vermeil didn’t stop there. While appearing on ESPN’s First Take, Vermeil said, “I’m a little disappointed to be honest with you, because, you know, the image that he has presented coming out of college and through the draft and through his career so far in Houston has been so positive. So positive. I don’t think that this approach really reflects what he has presented over the past few years. So, I’m disappointed. I just don’t think that anybody – whether it be that football team or the other 31 football teams – start allowing players to step in and make decisions who runs them, who coaches them and all these kinds of things. If you want to make all the decisions as an owner, then buy your own team.”

I really don’t know where to start with these comments. Of course, it doesn’t state in his contract that he is involved in making decisions for the team. However, as a franchise quarterback in the league, it makes sense to at least hear what he has to say about certain aspects of the team and how it should be constructed. Those accommodations have been made for other quarterbacks; why not Watson?

The image Watson has presented since college has not changed in my mind. He is still the humble hardworking player who strives to be the best that he can. His approach has just been that he wants to be with a franchise that supports his talent and doesn’t get rid of his best weapons. So, Vermeil can be “disappointed” all he wants, for those who understand what Watson is feeling, he remains a class act.

Thankfully, not everyone feels the same as Vermeil or Favre. Stephen A. Smith, an ESPN personality, went to bat for Watson and really shed some light on how misguided the comments made by Vermeil actually were.

“I’m disappointed to hear what Dick Vermeil has to say. I understand where he’s coming from because he’s very very old school;  by all accounts, he’s a good man. He’s a champion.  He’s somebody that we respected. I know how loved he is in Philadelphia, but that’s a very archaic point of view, and thank God he’s not coaching in the NFL today because with that kind of thinking, he would have been fired because nobody would have wanted to play for a man who thinks like that.”

Smith brought up the fact that Favre did something similar during his playing career by threatening to retire on multiple occasions, holding the Green Bay Packer franchise hostage during several off-seasons. And let us not forget how Eli Manning basically told the San Diego Chargers not to draft him in 2004, because he did not want to play for them. He was drafted by the Chargers, but then immediately was dealt to the Giants in exchange for Phillip Rivers. So now that Watson is using his leverage just like others have in the past, it’s a problem?

I have been accused of race baiting in the past with some of my columns; however, I don’t see it that way. I try my best to simply call it how I see it and how I see this situation is that white players have done the same thing in the past, but with Watson being a Black quarterback, it’s all of sudden an issue. I am not saying that is how it is, it’s just how it looks from my perspective.

Black quarterbacks have made tremendous strides in the last 25 years or so, but we still have a ways to go in my opinion. Just because we have more Black starting quarterbacks than ever, that doesn’t mean that they receive the same privileges as their white counterparts.  

Watson is a great quarterback who hasn’t even reached his prime. Even his own teammate, J.J. Watt, has come out and apologized for wasting a year of his career. I just want people to put themselves in his shoes and honestly ask themselves if they would want to stay with a dysfunctional team or use what little leverage you have and start fresh somewhere else? I bet most would choose the latter. 

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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