NFL insider says Deshaun Watson could play in 2021

Star quarterback Deshaun Watson has played his last snap for the Houston Texans, but we could see him on the field for another NFL team in the upcoming 2021 season.

Watson, who is currently under both criminal and NFL investigations for multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, is preparing as if he’ll play in the NFL this fall. But with training camp approaching, many NFL teams are left with uncertainty around the 25-year-old’s future.

Houston’s franchise quarterback demanded a trade at the start of the offseason and immediately became the most coveted player in 2021. Eight NFL teams expressed interest in the franchise signal-caller and rumors swirled about his future home.

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Now facing more than 20 allegations of sexual misconduct in a civil suit, his availability for the upcoming season is unknown. But while a settlement to the lawsuits and conclusions to investigations aren’t close, he still might find his way back to the field this fall.

During an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport explained where things stand with Watson and why it’s possible he could play for another team before the 2021 season concludes.

“Oh, I could see him playing this year. If he’s going to be suspended by the NFL for some portion of time, which I don’t know but obviously is possible given the charges and circumstances. That would still probably allow him to play this year, I just don’t know what team it’s going to be for.”

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on chances Deshaun Watson plays in 2021

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Even amid the allegations against Watson, there are still teams interested in him. The Philadelphia Eagles are best positioned to acquire him, but there would be competition. Watson wants to play for the Denver Broncos and the Miami Dolphins are still open to the idea of acquiring him.

Of course, it all comes down to legal issues. Both Watson’s attorney and the lawyer representing his accusers have said a settlement isn’t happening. If that’s the case, it could be a long wait for the Pro Bowl quarterback with a deposition not set until 2022.

Watson is willing to cooperate with the NFL’s investigation and the league doesn’t need the legal system to find him liable for the alleged acts to suspend him. The first step will likely come right before training camp when Watson is placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt list, keeping him away from the team on paid leave.

At some point, the Texans will engage in talks on a blockbuster trade. But for the time being, NFL teams are going to let things play out before making any big decisions.