Eight teams were eyeing Deshaun Watson before allegations?
At one point, 25% of the league was interested in Deshaun Watson. Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to Aaron Rodgers taking his turn as the centerpiece of 2021’s complex quarterback saga, Deshaun Watson resided there. However, the Texans quarterback’s legal issues ground trade rumors to a halt. Prior to that happening, however, a fourth of the league pursued him.

While several of Watson’s suitors have been known, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports (via the Sporting News) the Patriots, Bears and Washington were among the eight teams to express interest in the three-time Pro Bowler. The others were previously known suitors — the Broncos, Dolphins, Jets, Panthers and 49ers. The 49ers have kept tabs on Watson this offseason, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. San Francisco also has inquired about Rodgers’ availability.

It certainly is not surprising the Bears and Washington reached out. Both teams have sought QB answers for a bit. Each moved on, but the Andy Dalton and Ryan Fitzpatrick deals are stopgaps. The Patriots join as a clear connection, having employed Texans honchos Nick Caserio and Jack Easterby previously. The Pats re-signed Cam Newton but are on the radar to trade up for a quarterback on Thursday night.

In addition to this octet of teams interested in a quarterback the Texans had previously refused to discuss in trades, McClain adds the Dolphins were preparing a big offer for the passer. Tua Tagovailoa was to be included in the proposal. As was the No. 3 overall pick. A future Dolphins offer would be different, with the team having traded that pick to the 49ers.

Dolphins GM Chris Grier has backed Tagovailoa on multiple occasions this offseason but has not been shy about making seismic deals — as the trade with the 49ers or the 2019 Laremy Tunsil deal showed. Tagovailoa was mentioned in Watson rumors at one point.

This market could heat up again at some point, but a few of these teams will have moved on to long-term QBs by Thursday’s end. The Jets and 49ers are prepared to select quarterbacks early in the draft. The Broncos and Patriots may do so as well, with Washington and Chicago looming as trade-up candidates.

This article first appeared on Pro Football Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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