Deshaun Watson Apparently Really Didn’t Like Texans Hiring David Culley as New Head Coach

Within hours of Culley's hiring being announced, Watson officially asked for a trade out of Houston

Quarterback Deshaun Watson walks the field during warmups with a towel on his head
Quarterback Deshaun Watson walks the field during warmups prior to a game.
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Though the skids already seemed greased for the city of Houston to lose yet another superstar athlete following the departure of James Harden, the Texans moving ahead with the hiring of David Culley as their next head coach appears to be the straw that figuratively broke franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson’s back.

Within hours of Culley’s hiring being leaked out by media members, Watson officially asked for a trade out of Houston, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. It has been a well-known secret for weeks that Watson wanted out of Houston and the hiring of Culley “has not and will not” alter the superstar QB’s thinking, according to Schefter.

“Deshaun Watson hasn’t spoken to new Texans general manager Nick Caserio nor executive Jack Easterby,” Schefter wrote on Twitter. “Watson is moving on and waiting to see where his NFL future takes him.”

Culley most recently served as the passing-game coordinator for a Baltimore Ravens offense that led the league in rushing but ranked last in moving the ball through the air. He also oversaw Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen’s 10/12 TD/INT rookie season as the team’s quarterbacks coach and was the wide receivers coach for the Chiefs when Kansas City had zero touchdowns to its wideouts in 2014.

The second minority coach to be handed the reins to a team during this hiring cycle, 65-year-old Culley has been in the NFL since 1994 but has never called plays or been anything more than an assistant.

Given all that, it isn’t too surprising Watson — who reportedly wanted the Texans to go with Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy when the door was still open for the 25-year-old to remain in Houston — made his trade request official on the heels of Culley getting the job.

Now, while Culley looks to fill out his coaching staff with options like former quarterback Josh McCown and longtime NFL coach Lovie Smith as assistants, Caserio and Easterby will be tasked with attempting to get fair value for Watson.

While that may be a little tricky because he has a full no-trade clause in his contract, the team can fine Watson $95,877 for missing minicamp and $50,000 per day for each day of training camp he doesn’t attend. If it gets to the point where Watson is sitting out preseason games, the team can fine him a week’s salary — $620,000 — for each one he misses.

No matter what happens, it’s fairly shocking a Texans team that finished in first place two years in a row with Watson at QB and DeAndre Hopkins at wide receiver will head into next season without either of them following a 4-12 campaign in the 2020 season.

Mismanagement has been Houston’s biggest problem, and Culley’s hiring may just be the latest, but likely not the last, example of that issue.

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