Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson demanded a trade this offseason, determined to move on from an organization he no longer trusted before the 2021 season began. Week 1 closing in, Watson’s future in the NFL and with the Texans remains uncertain.
Watson first requested a trade in January, instantly becoming the hottest name on the NFL trade market. But the Texans refused to move him, not even engaging when teams offered multiple first-round picks and young assets. Houston believed it repair a fractured relationship and had no intention of moving its star.
Months later, the first of 22 sexual misconduct allegations came out against Watson. He is now facing 22 pending civil lawsuits, 10 criminal complaints alleging sexual abuse and he is under ongoing criminal and NFL investigations.
According to Yahoo Sports’ NFL insider Charles Robinson, who lives in Houston, the Texans are not giving up on the possibility of convincing Watson to stay. While many believe it’s impossible, the front office and coaching staff are trying to convince the NFL star to stick things out for another year.
It’s not necessarily even about a long-term commitment to Watson, as Robinson notes. Instead, the franchise is just hoping it can achieve the same outcome the Green Bay Packers did with Aaron Rodgers. The reigning NFL MVP is returning for 2021 after the team promised it will grant a trade request next offseason.
Will Deshaun Watson play in 2021?
On the surface, this makes sense for Houston. Watson’s camp is reportedly bracing for potential grand jury proceedings and that would represent a significant step toward more serious criminal matters. It would certainly push inquiring NFL teams away, fearful that Watson won’t play at all in 2021.
Houston isn’t willing to trade Watson at a discount, which are the only offers currently being made. So, barring a much stronger proposal coming in or Watson’s legal issues suddenly being resolved, the Texans seem determined to keep him.
But even if he stays on the roster, that doesn’t mean the situation can be resolved. The hiring of David Culley as head coach, a decision made with the locker room in mind, didn’t sway Watson off his trade demand.
Watson was willing to sit out multiple games, potentially even the 2021 season to avoid playing for the Texans. He was extremely unhappy about the team’s hiring process of general manager Nick Caserio and reports detailed the organizational dysfunction under executive Jack Easterby.
Maybe Deshaun Watson is willing to put all those issues aside so he can get paid this season. That seems unlikely, but even if it’s true, the NFL could step in at any moment and place him on paid leave. Ultimately, it would be a stunner if he ever takes a snap for this franchise again.