Texans to assess head coach David Culley’s future as Deshaun Watson trade looms

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The Texans will assess their entire football operations – including head coach David Culley’s future – in the coming days as they embark on a critical offseason that could result in a long-awaited trade from the quarterback Deshaun Watson ahead of the free agency opening in March, the sources say.

Houston is 4-12 in its first season under Culley, 66, who took over a team in transition and was seen as a potential bridge to the future. Freshman general manager Nick Caserio has embarked on a total roster and salary cap overhaul, and Watson has not played this season amid 22 allegations of sexual misconduct and long commercial demand. dated.

Sources say Culley respects the building as a person, and it would have been difficult for a coach to win big in his position. But some players have become frustrated with certain in-game decisions and communication issues, and several key veterans have been released or disciplined over the season. If Culley is selected, he will have to resolve these issues and likely make changes to his staff, the sources say.

In his public comments, Caserio has always said all ratings will come after the season. Texas decision-makers are expected to meet and take their time before deciding how to proceed. Is Culley part of the Texans’ vision for the future? If not, then there is a need to move on and bring in the next coach now, so that person can have a say as the Texans continue to reshape the roster – with potentially unprecedented assets once they get there. an early Watson agreement will be reached.

Several teams were willing to come up with packages that included three first-round picks and two third-round picks for Watson, 26, before the trade deadline, sources say, but the lack of resolution of Watson’s legal situation has undermined the chances of finalizing a deal.

The goal now is to trade Watson before the start of the 2022 league year on March 16, maximizing the flexibility the Texans have in terms of free agency and draft. And some clarification on the serious legal issues Watson faces may soon come.

The Houston prosecutor responsible for 10 criminal complaints against Watson is expected to clarify his position on any potential charges in the coming weeks and refer the case to a grand jury, sources say. Depositions also began for the 22 women who charged Watson with sexual misconduct in civil court; Watson’s deposition can take place no earlier than February 22, and a pre-trial conference is scheduled for May. Watson has denied any wrongdoing.

The NFL has also opened an investigation into the allegations against Watson under the league’s personal conduct policy. Although Watson has not played for the Texans this season, he has not been suspended or placed on the commissioner’s bye list, meaning he remains free to play and is receiving his salary from $ 10.54 million. His salary will rise to $ 35 million next season under a deal that runs until 2025.

Watson has a no-trade clause and has only given it up this season for his favorite destination, the Dolphins. In essence, he has a right of veto. However, the Panthers have also shown renewed interest in a potential trade with Watson ahead of the November deadline, and other teams appear interested as well, pending further information on legal matters and possible discipline from the league.

Watson has no problem with Culley or Caserio, but he’s made it clear he won’t play another snap for Texans owner Cal McNair, in part because he felt misled by the hiring of Caserio. . And at this point, sources say Watson is in no rush to find his new NFL destination, as training camp 2022 is still over six months away.

The Texans have already started playing the role, using a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on quarterback Davis Mills, who has shown flashes of his potential in 12 games (10 starts), including recent victories against the Jaguars and Chargers. . They are also expected to explore the QB market this offseason.

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