The 49ers will be among a number of NFL teams coveting Deshaun Watson if he becomes available via trade, but the Houston Texans reaffirmed their commitment to the star quarterback on Thursday.
David Culley, who the Texans hired this offseason to replace Bill O'Brien as head coach, told reporters in a Thursday press conference that the team is moving forward with the belief that Watson will be under center in 2021.
Watson hasn't publicly said anything about requesting a trade, but there has been plenty of reporting that he wants out of Houston.
He also has sent out cryptic tweets about loyalty, and earlier in the offseason sought out a photo of himself wearing a Joe Montana jersey and commented his approval.
When asked if Watson's commitment mirrors the Texans', Culley said he does believe the 25-year-old QB feels the same way.
Culley is in a tough spot, as the first-year head coach wasn't around for much of what likely has fueled the reported discontent with the franchise from Watson's camp. Nevertheless, he continues to emphasize that the organization and Watson won't be parting ways.
Prior to Thursday's press conference, Culley joined NFL Media's Jim Trotter and Steve Wyche on the "Huddle and Flow" podcast, and sounded less convinced of Watson's future with the team, calling him the starting quarterback "for right now."
Trotter's takeaway from his conversation with Culley was that the "writing is on the wall" for a potential trade involving Watson.
Reports have surfaced indicating Watson -- who has a no-trade clause as part of his new deal with Houston signed just before the 2020 season -- would prefer trades to either the Miami Dolphins or the New York Jets, but the 49ers reportedly "intrigue" him.
Everything remains speculation at this point surrounding Watson, and until we hear something official from Watson's camp that is all this will be.
Houston has a star quarterback with multiple years of team control under contract, and they understandably don't want to part ways with him. But in the era of player empowerment we've seen over the past few years in the NFL, if the Texans get the right offer, it would be wise to entertain it rather than deal with a potentially unhappy QB coming into camp in 2021.