Watson, 25, requested a trade during the spring and was absent from offseason activities. The backdrop here being the north of 20 women who have come forward alleging sexual assault and/or misconduct on the part of the three-time Pro Bowler.
Watson’s decision to report to camp stems from the daily fine of $50,000 he’d face if the reigning NFL passing yards leader had decided to holdout.
However, this also puts Houston in a bit of a bind. While Watson has yet to be charged criminally, having him take part in training camp practices with these allegations still outstanding in civil court wouldn’t paint the organization in the best of lights. Below, we look at three options for the Houston Texans amid this drawn-out drama surrounding their franchise quarterback.
Houston Texans excuse Deshaun Watson from training camp
This could very well be the likeliest scenario for Houston. The idea would be to forfeit the opportunity to fine Watson for his absence. In turn, the quarterback is also given a pass when it comes to accruing a year of service time while sitting out from camp.
“This creates a potentially awkward situation for the Texans since the NFL hasn’t ruled on the matter and Watson still wants out,” Texans insider Aaron Wilson noted on Sunday. “The Texans have signed quarterback Tyrod Taylor to be their new QB1 and also drafted Stanford quarterback Davis Mills. The Texans could possibly excuse Watson from practicing and not fine him.”
Short of criminal charges being filed against Watson, it doesn’t seem like the NFL is willing to take action. Previously, it was almost a foregone conclusion that he would be placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List. That doesn’t seem to be in the cards. If not, this seems to be the best short-term fix.
Houston Texans bite the bullet, trade Deshaun Watson
It takes two to tango. Would any team be willing to trade for Watson with a resolution in his civil cases still seemingly months away? Heck, the Houston Police Department has opened up and is still conducting an investigation into the allegations.
There’s also a thing called compensation in a potential trade. If Houston were to bite the bullet and entertain trade offers for Watson with everything unsettled from a legal perspective, it would be moving off Watson for pennies on the dollar. Most recently, the Philadelphia Eagles have come up as an option. Perhaps, they decide it’s worth the risk to offer up Jalen Hurts and some draft capital. However, any package at this time wouldn’t come close to giving the Texans fair-market value. We’re not even sure if a first-round pick would be included.
Houston Texans let it play out
New Texans general manager Nick Caserio took over a sinking ship from Bill O’Brien this offseason. The drama that defined the latter part of O’Brien’s time in Houston has now extended into the early stages of Caserio’s tenure. Is the front office head willing to see this drama play out live during training camp this summer? We’re not too sure.
But at this point, the Texans are running out of options. Could Houston simply let Deshaun Watson take part in practice as everything else plays out behind the scenes? It seems to be a less-than-ideal scenario. With that said, excusing Watson from camp would set a bad precedent. Trading him for pennies on the dollar would also set the fledgling organization back big time.