The Texans’ coaching decision is not expected to change Deshaun Watson’s thinking, as the quarterback is still expected to want out of Houston, no matter who the head coach is, sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
The Texans are expected to request second interviews with Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy after Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, sources told ESPN.
Frazier privately has told some people that he thinks he has a legitimate chance to land the Texans’ job and has tried assembling a coaching staff in the event that he does. Bieniemy had a strong staff, but some of his candidates are beginning to accept other jobs.
But Watson has been upset with the Texans over, among other issues, the process they used to hire general manager Nick Caserio, sources told ESPN, leading to widespread speculation that Houston could trade the star quarterback this offseason or be faced with the real possibility that he could decide to withhold his services and not report.
A source told ESPN’s Sarah Barshop last week that the Texans have had internal conversations about possible trade partners and what their quarterback position would look like in the future without Watson.
Watson had implied his unhappiness with multiple tweets since Caserio’s hiring, although sources told ESPN that those feelings are not directed specifically at the former New England Patriots executive. Watson found out on social media, not from the team, that the Texans had hired Caserio, sources told ESPN.
The quarterback has a no-trade clause in his five-year, $156 million deal with the Texans, which would give Watson some control over where he is traded because if it wasn’t the destination he wanted, he could decline to report.
Frazier is said to have had a strong interview with the Texans and has previous head-coaching experience from his time with the Minnesota Vikings. Bieniemy is viewed in many circles as a head coach in waiting, though he has recently been passed over by several teams.
As Houston’s head-coaching search ramps up, the winning coordinator from Sunday’s game could be the loser in the Texans’ search, as they would have to wait to hire him. The Texans could act quicker with the coordinator from the losing team.
This scenario played a key role in the Los Angeles Chargers’ hiring of Brandon Staley last weekend over Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. Once Staley’s Rams were eliminated from the playoffs, the Chargers were unwilling to wait for Daboll and hired Staley.
Other candidates the Texans have interviewed include quarterback Josh McCown, former Lions and Colts coach Jim Caldwell, Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, and Ravens assistant head coach David Culley. Some around the league believe that Caldwell also is in prime consideration for the Texans’ head-coaching job.