If being designated inactive throughout the regular season wasn't enough of a sign that Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has played his last game with the team, general manager Nick Caserio offered another one on Tuesday. Asked during an appearance on SportsRadio 610 if there was a realistic chance of Watson playing for the club again, Caserio cast doubt on the possibility, but didn't dismiss it out of hand, either.
"There's been some commentary that more than likely would not be the case," Caserio said. "I think we just have to be open-minded and just take the information and process it, then ultimately make the decision we feel makes the most sense for everybody involved, whatever that looks like."
Watson is facing 22 civil lawsuits for alleged sexual misconduct, stemming from massage therapy sessions. He has not been charged criminally.
Watson was named to three Pro Bowls in his first four NFL seasons, and led the league in passing yards (4,823) in 2020. After that season, he requested a trade. Houston engaged with the Miami Dolphins in discussions about a Watson trade prior to the NFL's November trade deadline, but no deal was reached. The Texans could have their quarterback of the future in Davis Mills, and at an inexpensive cost. The rookie from Stanford impressed late in the season after getting the starting nod and taking over for Tyrod Taylor. Mills signed a four-year, $5.2 million contract as a third-round draft pick last year.
Caserio also told SportsRadio 610 that he would be open to trading the club's first pick of the 2022 draft, No. 3 overall.
"Absolutely. Always open for business. You never want to limit yourself," Caserio said. "I've always been open-minded when it comes to the draft. ... Every team and every individual has a different philosophy. 'We're not gonna trade, we're always going to pick, we're not going to move.' I think we're a little bit more open-minded, progressive thinking, move up and down. And it's not just move to move."
Caserio has a significant rebuild on his hands, so trading down for extra draft picks could make plenty of sense for the Texans. At 4-13, Houston struggled on both sides of the ball and will need help at nearly every position via free agency or the draft. The club has yet to replace dismissed coach David Culley, so Caserio also will face the task of getting on the same page, draft-wise, with a new head coach. There are plenty of moving parts in Houston, and Caserio is open to moving a few picks as well.
"Trades, specific to the draft, are always driven by A) player availability, B) where are you moving, what are you moving away from, and then C) what are you getting in return in terms of assets that can potentially fill out the rest of your team. So we're rolling up our sleeves right now, going through that draft process," Caserio added. "There's a number of a good players that will be available. Again, we're open for business on anything."