New England Patriots

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 03: J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans walks off the field with Deshaun Watson #4 following a game against the Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium on January 03, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

By Alex Barth,

Just when it seems like things can’t get worse for the Houston Texans, the hole gets dug a little deeper. Following reports of infighting and mistrust, it now sounds like a pair of franchise cornerstones may not be members of the organization much longer.

According to Houston radio host John P. Lopez, the Texans are “leaning towards accommodating” a trade request from All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt, and “he’ll likely be moved” in the near future. Watt has one year remaining on his contract, and moving on from the 31-year-old would take the entirety of his $17.5 million off the books.

Expect the Patriots to be a rumored landing spot for Watt if and when the trade discussions begin. Their pass rush took a step back last season, and their projected cap space would allow them to absorb Watt’s contract while not limiting themselves in free agency. Plus, any negotiations would see them dealing with former Patriots’ director of player personnel Nick Caserio, who left New England for the Houston GM job last week.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – DECEMBER 13: Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt #99 hits Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky #10 during the second quarter at Soldier Field on December 13, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Lopez also shared that Texans starting quarterback Deshaun Watson is “legit alienated,” and that his relationship with the team is “pretty much irreparable.” Watson’s unhappiness with the Texans has been a major NFL storyline in recent weeks, especially after the team didn’t consult him in their general manager search.

It’s unheralded for a 25-year-old quarterback of Watson’s ability to be available in any way in the NFL. His value is only increased by the fact he is under team control through 2025 after signing a four-year, $156 million extension last spring. He also has a no-trade clause in his contract, and will have to approve of any deal the Texans set up.

These revelations from Lopez on the Texans organization come on the same day Sports Illustrated published an inside account on the turbulent start to the offseason. That report itself was a follow up from a December piece highlighting Jack Easterby’s rise in the organization, and how the former Patriots’ character coach has been at the center of the instability in Houston.

A first-round pick in 2011, Watt has been the face of the Texans’ franchise for just about half of their existence. Still, his time in Houston looks like it’s coming to and end, with Watson – the logical replacement to replace him as the organization’s star – likely not far behind. Could New England be a landing spot for either, or anybody else jumping ship ahead of what seems like an inevitable rebuild? With so many Patriots’ coaches and players migrating down to Houston in recent years, it wouldn’t be out of place to see some start making the trip the other way.

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at