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NFL teams ‘willing’ to make Deshaun Watson trade without civil case settlements

Matt Johnson

The timeline for a Deshaun Watson trade suffered a recent setback with the recent developments in his legal battle. Fortunately for the Houston Texans star, there is some good news on the trade front that makes it likelier he is moved.

Watson is currently facing 22 civil suits accusing him of sexual misconduct and assault, resulting in the Pro Bowl quarterback not playing in 2021 amid his trade holdout. Additionally, he is facing 10 criminal complaints and investigations by the FBI, NFL and Houston Police Department.

Related: NFL teams won’t pursue Deshaun Watson trade until legal issues resolved

Before the NFL trade deadline, the Miami Dolphins came close to acquiring Watson. However, the franchise wanted him to settle all 22 of his civil suits and multiple accusers reportedly weren’t willing to agree to a financial settlement.

Houston planned to trade him by March 16, the start of the 2022 league year. However, Watson’s deposition was postponed until a later date. While it will delay a trade slightly, the 26-year-old quarterback could still reportedly be moved before his civil suits are resolved.

According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, multiple NFL teams are willing to trade for Watson without any settlement in his pending civil cases. It’s a condition Miami required, but many clubs desperate for improved quarterback play are willing to remove it.

It’s great news for Watson, especially if his deposition is pushed back until late March. However, Florio’s reporting does include a caveat that still clouds when a trade will go down.

“Multiple teams are indeed willing to make the deal, as long as the criminal situation is resolved.”

Mike Florio on what NFL teams need to see before trading for Deshaun Watson, via Pro Football Talk

Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said in court that he believes a grand jury decision on whether or not Watson will face any criminal charges could be announced by April 1.

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Once that decision is made, NFL teams could accelerate efforts to acquire Watson. Even if he avoids criminal charges, though, the NFL can still suspend him multiple games for violating the personal-conduct policy.