Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson will not be traded until his legal situation comes to a culmination off the field. After requesting to be dealt earlier in the offseason, Watson is facing allegations from more than 20 women of sexual assault and/or misconduct.
For now, this has put any potential trade talks on the backburner. However, there’s a pretty big caveat here. As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes, those representing Watson and others representing the women have gone quiet in recent weeks — leading to speculation that the civil cases could be settled out of court.
“The longer the silence lingers, the greater the possibility that that cases will eventually be resolved, allowing the Texans to trade Watson to a new team before the start of training camp,” Florio wrote.
Obviously, there are other factors that come into play here. Primarily, the Houston Police Department is conducting a criminal investigation into the allegations. The NFL is also conducting its own investigation under the parameters of the personal conduct policy.
Should Watson be charged criminally, there’s a darn good chance that his football career is over. Meanwhile, the NFL is more than likely prepared to suspend Watson regardless of the outcome of the legal situation.
This is a long-form way of saying that everything remains up in the air as it pertains to Watson. Nevertheless, there’s a possibility that he will be traded should things work out in the quarterback’s favor from a legal standpoint. If that happens, the Philadelphia Eagles are among those favored to land him (odds via NBC Sports).
Right now, ascending second-year player Jalen Hurts is slated to start for the Eagles in 2021 after they traded away Carson Wentz. Philadelphia’s brass seems committed to the former Oklahoma standout despite rumors that the Eagles were looking to trade up for a quarterback during the 2021 NFL Draft.
Instead of adding a signal caller, the Eagles opted for reigning Heisman winner Devonta Smith to provide Hurts with an electric receiving option.
Even after that move, the idea of general manager Howie Roseman and Co. adding someone of Watson’s ilk has to be seen as enticing.
Philly also has at least two first-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft and a potential third Round 1 selection stemming from the aforementioned Wentz trade. It has the capital to make a trade work with Hurts potentially acting as the centerpiece heading back to Houston. Again, this depends on Watson's legal situation.
As for the other teams favored to land Watson, the Miami Dolphins were among those most linked to him before the allegations against him became public record. Could they opt to move off 2020 top-five pick Tua Tagovailoa for the generational signal caller? It seems to be the most-likely end result outside of Philadelphia now that the Carolina Panthers traded for Sam Darnold.
We have absolutely no idea right now. Should Watson and his side opt against settling out of court, there’s a darn good chance that this situation will interfere with the start of training camp in late July. If that happens, Watson will more than likely be placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List. There’s also a pending suspension likely heading his way.
At this point, it stands to reason that Watson will not be on the field with the Texans or another team come Week 1. Even then, there’s a chance the legal situation could be headed to a conclusion here soon — leading to a blockbuster Watson trade.