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Deshaun Watson trade agreed to, legal situation and NFL holding up deal

There’s a good chance that Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson will be calling another NFL city home this time next week.

With the NFL trade deadline approaching, rumors continue to insist that Watson will end up being a member of the Miami Dolphins.

That was taken to a whole new level on Tuesday via a report from John McClain of the Houston Chronicle indicating that the Texans and Dolphins have agreed in principle to a deal that would send the reigning NFL passing yards champion to South Beach.

However, there’s several caveats here — some of which threaten to derail a trade before it is finalized. McClain notes that Miami wants Watson’s legal issues consummated before agreeing to a trade. It’s also being noted that Fins owner Stephen Ross is looking for more clarity from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell regarding any potential punishment, including the length of a possible suspension.

Related: 5 quarterbacks who could be dealt ahead of NFL trade deadline

McClain himself attempted to clarify the initial report, indicating that no deal will be completed with the legal issues outstanding.

Remember, Deshaun Watson is being accused of sexual assault and/or misconduct by north of 20 women. While he’s yet to be charged criminally, there’s a chance that could happen pending the results of a grand jury session.

As for Goodell, he spoke at league meetings on Tuesday at about the same time these Deshaun Watson reports broke. The NFL lead indicated that the league does not yet have enough information to place Watson on the Commissioner’s Exempt List. Barring a criminal charge being levied against the quarterback or new information finding its way to the league office in New York City, it’s the NFL’s stance that Watson could suit up at any time.

“We don’t have all the access to that information and pride ourselves on not interfering with it. That process is ongoing,” Goodell told reporters.

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What does all of this new Deshaun Watson information mean?

deshaun watson trade, miami dolphins
Dec 13, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) drops back to pass against the Chicago Bears during the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Goodell’s statement is interesting in that the league has suspended other players without criminal charges being filed. Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott is the most-notorious recent example of that.

We’re also intrigued to see how married the Dolphins are to having the legal situation play out before making a deal for Watson. At this point, that won’t happen until well after the 2021 NFL season ends. In fact, it could still be outstanding once free agent opens up in March of 2022.

There’s a chance that Miami decides to pull the trigger and trade for Deshaun Watson if the first-round picks it sends to Houston are heavily protected for any potential criminal charges or punishment from the NFL.

It was earlier on Tuesday that NFL insider Josina Anderson reported interest in Watson is not limited to the Dolphins. We’ve confirmed this with at least one other team showing interest in the quarterback. Again, it’s all about the factors mentioned above.

With the NFL trade deadline a week away, we’re not sure if it’s reasonable to believe Watson will be moved. If other teams are dead set on the legal situation playing out, nothing is going to happen. If not, we could see something come together relatively quickly.

All of this could have a trickle-down effect, impacting current Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The sophomore signal-caller was forced to touch on these rumors following Miami’s most-recent loss on Sunday.

“I hear it. I do hear it. I just don’t listen to it,” Tua Tagovailoa told reporters.

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