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The Houston Texans don’t need to be in the situation they find themselves at starting quarterback.
After giving up two first-round picks and mortgaging their 2018 NFL draft stash to take Deshaun Watson in Round 1 of the 2017 NFL draft, the Texans could be finding a new signal caller. Never mind they signed Watson to an extension in September of 2020 that keeps him under contract through the 2021 season.
The Texans’ recent ranking in Pro Football Focus’ quarterback situation rankings is proof the organization has made a mess of things. Rather than being in the “low” category, meaning teams that have their guy but just need a capable backup in case of injury, Houston is in the “medium” category, where teams like the Las Vegas Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans, and Los Angeles Rams find themselves: settled for now, but keep your eyes open.
At any point this offseason, Houston can move into the top tier of this list or back down to the very bottom. The Texans’ front office has reiterated on several occasions that the team won’t trade Deshaun Watson despite his demands, but the franchise sits here at the “medium” need tier because it cannot afford to act like he is absolutely coming back until he says so. The Texans need a Plan B heading into the 2021 season.
The obvious best-case scenario is making amends with Watson. He is fresh off a season in which he was one of the three highest-graded quarterbacks in the NFL (92.5) and is on the path to a Hall of Fame career. If Watson’s mind is made up, Houston’s attention has to turn to the 2021 NFL Draft and quarterbacks Zach Wilson and Justin Fields.
Houston should already be in the “low” category. What kind of a world is it where the Cleveland Browns have their quarterback situation figured out way before the Texans do, and Houston has their guy signed to his second contract while the Browns’ starter, Baker Mayfield, is still on his rookie deal?
Speaking of the Browns, they have used five first-round picks on quarterbacks since reviving in 1999. Mayfield appears to have finally worked out, but Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden, and Johnny Manziel did bupkis for Cleveland. It took them nearly 20 years to get a competent quarterback.
Even in Houston’s case, the journey between Matt Schaub in 2013 and Watson in 2017 was difficult. The Texans even threw money at the problem with Brock Osweiler in 2016 to no avail.
It seems as though since the Texans have finally conquered the problem, they are taking for granted how difficult it truly is to find the guy quarterback to lead your team.