The entire Deshaun Watson situation with his Houston Texans team has now lasted longer than a calendar year. It was last January that the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback requested a trade from the downtrodden organization.
Since then, north of 20 women have come forward accusing the star quarterback of sexual misconduct. Right now, we’re awaiting whether Watson will settle these civil cases out of court and grand jury findings when it comes to potential criminal charges.
What we do know is that the Texans are prepared to move forward without Watson and would prefer to trade him ahead of the new league year starting on March 16.
Just recently promoted to head coach, Lovie Smith talked on this subject at length with Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. He did not hold back.
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“As soon as possible. I’m not running away from the question, but as soon as possible. There are things that need to be taken care of before the football part comes into play. We’re patient, we’ve waited an entire year and I just feel like this offseason, it’ll come to an end and we’ll get it solved and it’ll be good for both parties, whatever that might be.”Texans’ Lovie Smith when asked when he wants to see an end to the Deshaun Watson situation (February 14, 2022)
It’s obviously been trending in the direction of Watson being granted his wish and finding another host NFL city over the next few weeks. However, a lot of this is reliant on how his civil cases go.
It was noted back in November that Watson was willing to settle the cases if it meant being dealt to the Miami Dolphins ahead of the NFL trade deadline. Embattled Dolphins owner Stephen Ross took a step back on his end, eliminating the possibility that Watson would head to South Beach.
Related: Deshaun Watson trade scenarios
Deshaun Watson trade: The when and the who
Outside of his legal issues, these are two of the biggest questions surrounding Watson heading into the offseason.
Sportsnaut reported back in early January that the Texans had set a March 16 deadline to move off Watson. That’s when the new league year starts. As we saw with the Matthew Stafford blockbuster trade from Detroit to the Los Angeles Rams in January of 2021, deals can be agreed to before being made official when the NFL opens its calendar for the offseason.
If Watson’s civil cases are settled, it stands to reason something will then come to fruition in trade talks with other teams. That could happen as early as this week.
As for who might be interested in acquiring Watson, the Dolphins seem to be out of the market. Former head coach Brian Flores was pounding the table in support of acquiring him. It’s one of the reasons Flores was ousted from South Beach. Right now, the Fins seem intent with new head coach Mike McDaniel helping Tua Tagovailoa progess under center.
New York Giants owner John Mara also went out of his way recently to shoot down rumors that Deshaun Watson could be headed to Jersey to replace Daniel Jones under center. These are two teams who had been linked to the Pro Bowler a lot in recent months.
- Deshaun Watson stats (2020): 70% completion, 4,823 passing yards, 444 rushing yards, 36 total TD, 7 INT, 112.4 rating
The New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, Washington Commanders, Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers have been among the teams most bandied about when it comes to adding top-end quarterback talent.
Obviously, Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers were seen as the cream of the crop when it comes to the trade market. Right now, it’s looking less likely that the two will be traded.
This creates an interesting and robust market for the Texans when it comes to a Watson trade. He’s seen as heads and shoulders above the No. 2 quarterback on the trade market, San Francisco 49ers veteran Jimmy Garoppolo.
With the Commanders, Panthers and Saints potentially looking to go big-game hunting, creating a bidding war for Watson’s services is not completely out of the realm of possibility.