To: Houston Texans management
From: Deshaun Watson, two-time NFL Pro Bowl quarterback, Clemson national champion, two-time Heisman Trophy finalist
Re: Recent developments and other disturbing stuff
Being too nice is a mixed bag.
It works out great — a tribute to my family, my upbringing, all of my mentors — when I can inspire others as the quarterback leader of an upstart NFL team by donating my first NFL game check to Houston stadium workers impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
It’s not so good, however, when the people who run a pro sports organization take advantage of someone’s good nature and “team guy” reputation by continually making bonehead roster moves harmful to the stability of the franchise.
The universally panned, hopelessly lopsided trade of DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals on Monday was the last straw. While I shall continue to give full devotion to winning while in Houston, it’s as clear as the view of the Gulf of Mexico from Galveston that it’s no longer a good idea for a 24-year-old to sign a long-term deal to remain with the Texans.
Trading me ASAP is the best thing for my career, my family, for NFL fans that need all the capable healthy quarterbacks they can get.
Getting Houston to the playoffs the last two seasons of my three-year NFL career has been miraculous, experts agree. I have taken many hits along the way (too many, people say) and was willing to sacrifice for victories.
You know of my value without Fantasy Football stats that show I was No. 4 among quarterbacks for both the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
But we have two chances to make the playoffs in 2021: slim and none.
And slim is shopping online for a house in Scottsdale, ideally something with a big pool and cool cactus landscaping.
Why not Emmitt Smith?
Forget that “Nuk” Hopkins, like me, played at Clemson.
Or that he’s the single most valuable wide receiver in the NFL.
Or even that he was my only reliable weapon in the Texans’ offense.
It’s the trade details. When I first heard about it, I thought it was a prank.
Hopkins and a 2020 fourth-round pick for running back David Johnson, a 2020 second-round pick and a 2021 fourth-round pick?
Sweetheart of a guy, probably.
But he hasn’t been good since 2016, back when I was at Clemson.
Why didn’t we just try to coax Emmitt Smith or Jerome Bettis out of retirement?
Hopkins, on the other hand, is an early Christmas present for Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray and Cardinals fans.
If we were going to trade Hopkins, we had to get a first-round pick in return, as the Vikings essentially did Monday in sending Stefon Diggs, a receiver not nearly as good as Hopkins, to Buffalo.
Jadeveon Clowney, too
Some people made fun of my Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney when, as we were on the way to a national championship victory over Alabama, he compared me to the great Michael Jordan. You know, the “Space Jam” star who was also a pretty good basketball player?
Remember, I never said that.
But not as many people were laughing when the Texans with a mediocre roster won the AFC South in 2018 and 2019.
As for Swinney’s MJ comparison, the lost point was the full love and commitment a head coach was showing for a quarterback. I have been in Texans head coach Bill O’Brien’s corner; I expressed support when he was under heavy fire in January after Kansas City beat us, 51-31, in a playoff game we led 24-0.
But what kind of coach, general manager or owner lets a star player like Hopkins get away?
Or gets so little in return?
I saw on ESPN’s “Get Up!” that former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky said O’Brien as a head coach has Bill Belichick’s power but Marvin Lewis’ record.
That’s not a good combination.
The Texans let ace pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney get away to Seattle last year. He’s a proud South Carolina Gamecock and I’m a proud Clemson Tiger but we sure could have used him chasing Patrick Mahomes around in that playoff game.
Meanwhile, one of our AFC South Division rivals made what looks like a brilliant move Monday: the Indianapolis Colts traded a first-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers for DeForest Buckner, one of the best defensive tackles in football.
It’s time for the Texans to double-down here on trading Clemson guys.
If they were bright enough to get a second-rate running back and a second-round pick for DeAndre Hopkins, they can probably get a late first-round pick and some used weight room equipment in exchange for me.
Then maybe they can use that pick to draft a nicer guy.
A concerned quarterback
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff