With their training camp less than 24 hours away, the Texans are set to navigate a complex situation with their star quarterback. Deshaun Watson is expected to show for Houston’s Tuesday workout, but a criminal investigation and trade rumblings engulf the Pro Bowl passer.
Texans brass spent months denying Watson was available, but Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com report they are now willing to listen to offers for him (video link). Despite Watson’s legal entanglement, the Texans are asking for a historic return. They want three first-round picks and change for the 25-year-old standout, Pelissero notes.
The Texans and Watson met Monday, and while the summit was cordial, Rapoport indicates the fifth-year QB reaffirmed his trade stance. Under normal circumstances, Watson would bring back a bounty for the Texans and provide plenty of ammo to ignite their rebuild. Teams like the Broncos, Eagles, Panthers and Dolphins and perhaps select others loom as prospective suitors, and certain interested franchises have spent time examining Watson’s legal situation, per NFL.com. Watson has a no-trade clause. He was mentioned as interested in the Broncos, Dolphins and 49ers this offseason, but the talented quarterback likely has hurdles to clear before he gets his wish to leave Houston.
Watson’s legal drama clouds the trade environment, and the Houston Police Department’s investigation into his alleged sexual assault and sexual misconduct has seen some developments. Ten women have now spoken to police in this investigation, according to defense attorney Rusty Hardin (via ESPN.com’s John Barr). Eight of those accusers are part of the 22-woman contingent who have filed civil suit against Watson. Nearly half of the 22 women involved in the civil matter have spoken with the NFL, per Tony Buzbee, the lawyer representing them. No depositions have been scheduled, and, further complicating this investigation, Watson is not set to be deposed in the civil suit until February 2022.
Hardin’s team has cooperated with this investigation, but the NFL has yet to interview Watson. This would represent a key step before a Watson placement on the Commissioner’s Exempt list occurs. As of now, however, such a move does not appear to be on the front-burner. Although that could certainly change if the criminal investigation gains more steam, the Texans are now set to have a quarterback in camp entangled in a multifront legal battle and one who has no interest in playing for them again.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.