Deshaun Watson still has significant off-field issues to surmount before being in the clear to resume his career, but the embattled Texans quarterback’s deposition is not set to take place until after the 2021 season ends. This could put Watson on track to play this season, though our Rory Parks noted a Commissioner’s Exempt List stay may well enter into this equation. The Broncos were once a clear suitor for the Pro Bowl quarterback. Now, their focus has shifted. They prefer an Aaron Rodgers trade to waiting out the Watson saga, according to NFL insider John Clayton of 104.3 The Fan. Far and away the clubhouse leaders in Rodgers rumor mentions, the Broncos are planning to make an aggressive pursuit of the reigning MVP — if the Packers make him available for a trade. While Rodgers has not come out and said he wants to leave Green Bay or indicated where he would like to go, the Broncos were on his reported wish list from the start. The future Hall of Fame passer indeed wants to be traded to the Broncos, Clayton adds. Rodgers is not expected to show up for the Packers’ minicamp next month, according to Madison.com’s Jason Wilde.
Although we still appear a ways away from true trade talks, the June 1 date after which a Rodgers deal becomes less financially constraining for the Packers is approaching. Shifting to players already in the AFC, here is the latest from the conference:
- Tavon Young has become one of the NFL’s most injury-prone players, and the Ravens may have selected his heir apparent in Shaun Wade this year. The former early-round Ohio State prospect is expected to begin his career in the slot, and Young is not yet 100%. ACL tears sidelined Young for all of 2017 and 14 games last season, and he missed all of the 2019 season due to a neck ailment. Baltimore DC Don Martindale said Young has not been fully cleared from his latest round of ACL rehab, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com tweets. Young has missed an astounding 47 games over the past four seasons. Thanks to restructuring Young’s contract, the Ravens would be tagged with more than $9MM in dead money over the next two years were they to cut the veteran corner after June 1.
- Better news may be coming out of another AFC North contender’s headquarters. Odell Beckham Jr. has resumed sprinting after suffering an ACL tear last November, and Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer expects the Pro Bowl wideout to be in the Browns‘ Week 1 lineup. Beckham’s injury may have helped keep him in Cleveland, depressing the trade market for the talented wideout who has yet to truly take off with the Browns. Trade rumors have followed Beckham in Cleveland, but he is set to return at a $14.5MM salary this season.
- In more injury rehab news, the Colts had Marlon Mack back on the field this week. Mack did not participate fully in Indianapolis’ OTA sessions this week, but Stephen Holder of The Athletic notes the fifth-year running back was available for part of the voluntary workouts (subscription required). Mack sustained a torn Achilles in Week 1 last season. He re-signed with the Colts on a one-year, $2MM deal, pointing to optimism the former fourth-round pick will be ready to go to start this season.