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8 teams were interested in Deshaun Watson trade ahead of assault allegations

Vincent Frank

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It’s crazy to think about. If circumstances were different, Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans would likely be the talk of the coming NFL Draft.

If you remember, Watson requested a trade from the Houston Texans several weeks ago due to dissatisfaction with the direction of the organization. At that point, he was the focus of numerous rumors with a ton of teams interested in the star quarterback’s services.

Boy, how things have changed since. It was last month that a woman came forward and accused Watson of sexual assault. Since then, north of 20 women have filed civil cases claiming the same type of misconduct on the part of last year’s NFL yards leader.

Now, with the draft set to take place, things have died down on the Deshaun Watson trade front. The Houston Police Department has opened up a criminal investigation into the allegations while the NFL is conducting its own investigation into the matter under the guise of the league’s personal conduct policy.

We can now forget about a potential Watson trade at any time soon. That wasn’t always the case.

Read More: NFL executive Troy Vincent up about Deshaun Watson allegations

Eight teams were interested in Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson sexual assault allegations
Sep 20, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) walks off the field after a play during the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (h/t Pro Football Talk), the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, Chicago Bears and Washington Football Team were all in on Watson prior to the aforementioned allegations becoming public record.

In case you’re not good at math (gets out calculator), that’s more than a quarter of NFL teams not named the Houston Texans who were interested in Watson.

It’s somewhat of an unfortunate situation for these teams. They can’t justify sending draft capital and players to the Texans for a quarterback facing such serious allegations, whether said allegations prove to be true. The PR hit said team would take on adds another layer to this.

When looking at the eight teams that were seemingly in on Watson, something jumps out big time. It was a month ago this week, in the midst of the early stages of the Watson story breaking, that the 49ers dealt away a total of three first-round picks and a third-round selection to the Miami Dolphins for the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Perhaps, the 49ers had been willing to offer up said bounty to Houston for Watson. Once these allegations became public record, San Francisco likely changed its plans.

The Chicago Bears ultimately settled on Andy Dalton after showing interest in both Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson. The Washington Football Team went with Ryan Fitzpatrick as a stopgap option during NFL free agency.

The Jets are honing in on Zach Wilson with the second pick in the 2021 NFL Draft after moving Sam Darnold to the aforementioned Panthers in a blockbuster trade. You get the point, right? These teams quickly moved off the possibility of acquiring Watson after the allegations broke.

Read More: 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Expert Picks & Analysis on Round 1 Prospects

Deshaun Watson situation as it stands

As for the Pro Bowl quarterback, he has a lot more to worry about than a potential trade right now. The civil suits are unlikely to be settled outside of court, leading to a drawn-out process. Meanwhile, the Houston Police Department investigation has not been completed.

All of this is happening with Deshaun Watson facing a likely suspension from the NFL regardless of how the justice system perceives the allegations in the end.