As the offseason continued, rumors of a Watson trade gave in to allegations from north of 20 women claiming sexual assault and/or misconduct on the part of last year’s NFL passing leader.
While the legal situation has yet to be settled in civil court, the Houston Police Department has opened up a criminal investigation into the allegations. Meanwhile, Roger Goodell and the NFL has opened its own investigation under the guise of the personal conduct policy.
We now have some more information on the Deshaun Watson saga and his future on the gridiron. To say it’s not good would be an understatement.
“I don’t think you’re going to see Deshaun Watson in an NFL building for a long time, certainly not until there’s more clarity about (it). This is a legal situation,” CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora noted recently (h/t 247 Sports). “This is a league situation. This is a civil situation. I don’t think Deshaun Watson has any short-term future playing football. Long-term, I think, will depend on these various findings and how some of the cases are adjudicated.”
Recent reports have indicated that Watson will likely be suspended by the NFL, even before the legal situation plays out in the Houston area. The league reserves the right to suspend a player without charges having been filed in criminal court or a guilty verdict. Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is the most-recent and notable example of that.
Will Deshaun Watson play in 2021?
It seems to be a highly unlikely scenario right now. Watson and his attorney are pushing back against the idea of settling these numerous cases outside of court. That could lead to a long, drawn-out process. Meanwhile, the NFL is not going to let him suit up with these allegations outstanding.
As La Canfora noted, it’s going to be all about how the legal proceedings play out. If Watson is indeed charged with a crime, he’s unlikely to ever play in the NFL again. With that said, a verdict in his favor when it comes to these civil cases or a settlement out of court could lead to a path back to the football world.
As for a potential Deshaun Watson trade, the time has certainly passed in that regard. Teams seemingly interested in the Pro Bowl quarterback have moved on to other options. That includes the San Francisco 49ers (Trey Lance), Chicago Bears (Justin Fields), New York Jets (Zach Wilson), New England Patriots (Mac Jones) and Denver Broncos (Teddy Bridgewater).
Should evidence come out that Watson is innocent of these crimes ahead of the start of the 2021 NFL season, he could very well be traded. Right now, that seems to be a long shot. That fits in with what La Canfora reported.