• Elliot Mulley-Goodbarne

Have the Texans overestimated Watson's value?



What started as a supposedly dream landing spot has ended in fits of tears, laugher and sackings.

Drafted in the first round, two picks after a soon to be Super Bowl champion and apple of the NFL's eye, DeShaun Watson was in many ways the answer to the Texans frustratingly inadequate performances in the post season.

You see, before Watson Houston went through a series of plainly average quarterbacks in free agency, until finally blowing signing Brock Osweiler (remember him!?) to a $72 million contract.

It was only after the 9&7 season from the 2015 Super Bowl champion that the Texans finally decided to draft their next superstar instead of hedging their bets on a break out QB seasons past.

And yet, four years on, the Texans are a shell of their former self, with no ability to rebuild from the draft, and void of any talent in key areas. To give you an idea, Texans 2016 roster hosted names such as JJ Watt, Lamar Miller, Jadeveon Clowney, AJ Bouye and DeAndre Hopkins, all of which have now scattered through trades, retirements and free agency.

The only sign of quality in the roster now is a pair of journeyman Wide Receivers in Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb, and injury list regulars David Johnson (RB), acquired through the disastrous trade for DeAndre Hopkins, and Will Fuller V who has only managed to play two-thirds of Texan games since being selected with the 21st overall pick in the 2016 draft.



The Market

The Texans are clearly rebuilding. A new GM and Head Coach have been installed after Bill O'Brian's rather undignified exit, and a spring clean appears to be taking place.

But this is no normal rebuild. As it stands, Houston's first opportunity to recruit top young talent is in the third round of this year's draft, and a lot of their recruitment will rely on free agency.

That puts Houston at a disadvantage. No one is doubting Watson's value as a quarterback, but the Texan's lack of draft capital and no real other names to trade with undermines their position.

The other factor is the other quarterback trades that have already happened. Rams exchanging Goff, a 3rd round pick in the upcoming draft and two 1st round picks over the following two years for Matthew Stafford, and Wentz arriving at the Colts for a 3rd round pick in the upcoming draft and a conditional 2nd round pick in 2022.

Both Goff and Wentz have been a part of teams that have reached the Super Bowl, although the latter was injured for the post season, and have yet been traded away.

Regardless, in valuing those young quarterbacks so lowly, there is less justification for the multiple first round picks that Houston are doubtlessly asking for. In fact, the only saving grace in these two trades has been that Matthew Stafford, who has a worse completion percentage, inferior win rate and less touchdowns than Watson, has been deemed worth two first round picks.



Loyalty

The Rams are used to setting the market. Firstly with Aaron Donald, then with Gurley, Goff and now, with Stafford.

The difference is that there is an argument to be made that the Los Angeles Rams are a slightly better QB away from the Super Bowl. With the defence they have and the receiving core reliant on a top 15 quarterback, the only obstacle to an NFC title is the division they are in on the West coast.

The same can not be said for Houston. If Will Fuller V leaves, any quarterback that starts under centre will effectively have a mixture of slot receivers and a couple of Tight Ends to pass to.

To part with him, Houston will want to take a similar deal to that the Lions received. The issue is that they don't have much to bargain with and Watson is young enough to build a team around. A temptation may be that the Texans keep him and his latest Tweets certainly indicate an appreciation for the opportunity he's had in Houston.

Whether that is a result of the Texan’s reluctance to listen to offers or a market exhausted with unattainable demands is the key to answering how this offseason will end in Houston.

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