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Houston Texans say they have ‘zero interest’ in trading Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson has requested a trade from the Texans. (Kamil Krzaczynski/AP)

The Houston Texans have “zero interest” in complying with quarterback Deshaun Watson’s request that the team trade him, General Manager Nick Caserio said Friday.

“Organizationally, just want to reiterate our commitment to Deshaun Watson,” Caserio said. “He’s had a great impact on this organization, a great impact on a lot of people, a great impact on this team. And we look forward to the opportunity to spend more time with him here this spring once we get started. And, you know, we have zero interest in trading the player. We have a great plan, a great vision for him and for this team and his role on our team.”

The comments by Caserio came during the Texans’ introductory video news conference for their new head coach, David Culley.

Culley, a veteran assistant coach who most recently was the wide receivers coach for the Baltimore Ravens, expressed similar sentiments about keeping Watson in Houston despite the quarterback’s trade request.

“He is a Houston Texan,” Culley said, “and I want him to be a Houston Texan. And the reason I’m in this position today is because I knew he’s going to be a Houston Texan.”

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If the Texans refuse to trade Watson, Caserio and Culley face the task of attempting to convince him to change his mind and be content — and productive — in Houston.

“The best way that you handle relationships is to communicate and be honest and be forthright,” Caserio said.

The Texans have time on their side, given that it’s not even February yet.

“Our timeline is we’re a one-day-at-a-time organization,” said Caserio, a longtime New England Patriots executive hired earlier this month as general manager of the Texans.

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Watson’s formal trade request was made recently, before the team decided Wednesday to hire Culley as its coach, a person familiar with the situation confirmed Thursday. Watson is said to be displeased that the team offered to allow him to have input into its organizational overhaul this offseason, then didn’t follow through.

Caserio and Culley replaced Bill O’Brien, who was fired by the Texans in October as their GM and coach. Culley is retaining Tim Kelly as the team’s offensive coordinator and adding Pep Hamilton as its quarterbacks coach.

Watson has a no-trade clause in his contract and therefore would have to approve any deal. The Miami Dolphins and New York Jets have been mentioned among the possibilities, although Watson is reported to prefer the Jets. He signed a four-year, $156 million contract extension with the Texans in September.

Watson, 25, is one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks and could command a hefty return if the Texans trade him, possibly a trio of first-round draft picks. Watson has been selected to three Pro Bowls in his four NFL seasons while throwing for 14,539 yards and 104 touchdowns. He threw for 4,823 yards and 33 touchdowns this season and was the NFL’s second-rated passer, behind only Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and just ahead of Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Buffalo’s Josh Allen.

The formal trade request by Watson puts at least two prominent NFL quarterbacks potentially on the market. The Detroit Lions agreed to explore trade possibilities for quarterback Matthew Stafford as part of discussions with Stafford about his desire to leave the organization. The Lions, like the Texans, have a new general manager and head coach, having hired Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell, respectively.

The Philadelphia Eagles must decide whether to consider trade options for quarterback Carson Wentz. He was benched in favor of Jalen Hurts late in the season by former coach Doug Pederson. But Nick Sirianni, the team’s new coach, might attempt to make things work with Wentz so he can remain in Philadelphia.