THE PALLILOG

Here's what a Deshaun Watson trade could look like for Texans

A bidding war could benefit Houston. Composite image by Jack Brame.

The Texans finally have a new head coach! The Texans finally have a new head coach!

Deshaun Watson: "And?"

In 65-year-old David Culley the Texans hire the oldest first time head coach in NFL history. If you are in the seeming teensy weensy minority that believes in Texans' organizational competence of any extent, then going with a 65-year-old isn't of itself horribly concerning. 65 isn't 85. He's going to coach, not run down the field on special teams. Pete Carroll turns 70 in September, Bill Belichick 69 in April. Both are still going strong (Patriots' 2020 season aside). Of course, Carroll and Belichick weren't Social Security eligible when hired, and both had much better resumes than Culley.

That Culley has never been a coordinator of any kind on the pro level, also isn't horribly concerning. At least not if a currently credible organization had made the hire. Culley can succeed provided he isn't a power-hungry, arrogant, borderline egomaniac who wants to handle far more than he is qualified or competent to handle. Sound familiar? Those Bill O'Brien traits are not part of any Culley background one reads or hears. He won't call the plays on offense, he'll have nothing to do with running the defense. Culley's job will be that of a commander and leader of men, who hopefully isn't prone to clownish game management decisions.

Culley worked for 18 seasons under Andy Reid before spending two with the Bills (the second as quarterback coach for rookie Josh Allen) then the last two in Baltimore.

The Texans turn out to be the only of the seven franchises to hire a black head coach this offseason. So there are now three in the NFL (Culley, Mike Tomlin, and Brian Flores). Three out of 32. Ron Rivera and new Jets' head coach Robert Saleh bring the minority total to five. The Falcons, Lions, and Washington Football Team all hired black general managers.

Dealing Deshaun?

Now, what is the play out with Deshaun Watson? Is he truly past the point of no return? It's not as if he retires if the Texans absolutely refuse to trade him. The Texans would probably stink with Watson in 2021 just as they stunk with him in 2020. Trading him would be an absolute fiasco in how ineptly the Texans got to that point, but it's not like they'd be pulling the linchpin of a budding dynasty. The near 22 million dead dollars salary cap hit they'd take wouldn't be costing them a run at Super Bowl LVI. If Watson is ultimately to be a goner, new GM Nick Caserio's tenure will largely ride on the return from the trade. Initially it will be judged on the haul reaped in return, and over time much more significantly on what the Texans make of whatever bounty of draft picks they harvest and who their next "long term" quarterback is.

The Texans are fortunate if the Jets and Dolphins indeed top Watson-acceptable trade destinations. The Jets have the second and 23rd first round picks in the upcoming draft, plus their own and Seattle's first rounders in 2022. If the Texans were to get those four picks plus not yet 24-year-old quarterback Sam Darnold, they would not be getting fleeced in the deal. Would the Jets pay that much? Even more? The Texans could keep Darnold and use or auction off the second overall pick, or trade Darnold and use the second overall pick on BYU QB Zach Wilson or Ohio State's Justin Fields.

The Dolphins have the third and 18th first round picks, in 2022 they hold only their own first rounder. Number three overall was part of the Texans' overpay for Laremy Tunsil. The Dolphins also have the fourth pick of the second round from the same swap. QB decision in a Dolphins deal would be about the soon to turn 23 year old Tua Tagavailoa.

The Dolphins and Jets both being in the AFC East in theory makes for an ideal bidding war, provided both covet Watson and both fear the other acquiring him. Oh yeah, and Watson would have to accept the trade since as one more jewel in the Texans' imbecile crown they gave Watson a no-trade clause. In fairness, the Chiefs gave one to Patrick Mahomes so Team Watson no doubt wanted the same, and who five months ago would have foreseen the current mess? Newsflash on the other hand: Watson isn't Mahomes.

Buzzer Beaters:

1. So take your pick: Darnold, picks 2 and 23 this year, 2022 Jets and Seahawks first rounders OR Tua, choices 3, 18, 36, and 50 this year plus Dolphins' 2022 first rounder.

2. If there is an MLS lockout will you notice?

3. Most lopsided trades ever: Bronze-Celtics get Kevin McHale and Robert Parish from Golden State for Joe Barry Carroll and Rickey Brown Silver-Yankees buy Babe Ruth from Red Sox for $125,000 Gold-Peter Minuit buys Manhattan for 24 dollars

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Zack Greinke earned his 10th win of the season in Sunday's finale agains the Rangers. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With the first two wins of the series under their belt, the Astros entered Sunday looking to take care of business before heading on the road. Despite the Rangers taking the first lead of the day, the Astros responded on offense and defense to erase the deficit to get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 3, Rangers 1

Astros' Record: 61-39, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (10-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dennis Santana (0-1)

Greinke, with some help, notches a quality start

Zack Greinke was doing well in the early goings of Sunday's finale. Despite allowing back-to-back singles to start the game, he stranded both runners to finish the top of the first. He followed that by erasing two more runners in the second, starting a stretch of eight straight batters which he would retire to make it through one out in the top of the fifth without allowing a run.

Texas finally added a blemish to his day at that point, getting a solo homer to grab their first lead in weeks. Greinke rebounded from it, sitting down the next two batters to finish the frame, then posted a 1-2-3 sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh, but would end his day with a struggle, loading the bases with no outs on a single, hit batter, and walk. That prompted Dusty Baker to bring in Cristian Javier, who saved Greinke's stat line by getting a strikeout and double play to keep the Rangers from scoring. Greinke's line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 86 P.

Houston grabs the lead

Houston's starter would leave in line for the win, thanks to the work of Cristian Javier, but also some timely offense in the two innings prior. With not much going for them in the first four innings, the Astros tried to take advantage of Chas McCormick being on base in the bottom of the fifth, sending him for a potential hit and run with Abraham Toro swinging.

That turned into two runs, with McCormick able to slow his run as Toro would launch a two-run go-ahead homer to erase the Rangers lead quickly. They extended the lead to two runs in the next inning, with Yordan Alvarez working a walk and then later scoring on an RBI single by Kyle Tucker, making it 3-1.

Astros finish the sweep

After cleaning up the inherited mess in the top of the seventh, Javier remained on the mound in the top of the eighth and made it through a 1-2-3 inning to give him six outs against five batters. With it still a two-run game in the top of the ninth, Ryan Pressly entered for the save opportunity. He notched it, sitting down the Rangers 1-2-3 to finish the sweep, handing Texas their twelfth straight loss.

Up Next: The Astros will head out west for an eight-game road trip starting with a three-game set with the Mariners kicking off at 9:10 PM Central on Monday. In the opener, Luis Garcia (7-5, 2.86 ERA) for Houston is slated to go opposite Darren McCaughan (0-0, 1.80 ERA), who will make his second career appearance and first start for Seattle.

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