It appears the Houston Texans may have finally changed their stance regarding disgruntled quarterback Deshaun Watson.
According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport, the Texans are now willing to listen to trade offers for Watson. However, the price is high for the three-time Pro Bowler, and it would likely take three first-round picks and more to get a deal done.
Watson reported to Texans training camp on Sunday, but he reportedly only did so to avoid a daily fine of $50,000. When he reported to camp, Watson was respectful, according to Pelissero, but reiterated he does not want to remain in Houston.
When he reported to camp Sunday, Watson was respectful, but his demeanor reiterated he doesn’t want to be in Houston. The question is, will a team step up with the type of massive offer that would compel the #Texans to move him now? Watson also would have to waive his no-trade.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 26, 2021
According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, two NFL executives said the price for Watson has been some combination of five high draft picks and starting-caliber players.
For Deshaun Watson, the @Texans price has been some combination of 5 high draft picks and starting caliber players, per two league executives.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) July 26, 2021
Watson, who is facing over 20 civil lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct during massage sessions, requested a trade out of Houston months ago. The Texans were previously unwilling to listen to trade offers for the 25-year-old, holding onto the hope that his stance might change.
Several teams have expressed interest in acquiring Watson this summer, provided his civil lawsuits are resolved. The Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos were reportedly among those teams.
In addition to draft picks, the Dolphins (Tua Tagovailoa), Eagles (Jalen Hurts) and Broncos (Drew Lock) would have to part ways with their current starting quarterbacks to get a deal done. However, that shouldn't be an issue for a team acquiring a player of Watson's caliber.
Although the Texans weren't initially willing to move Watson, the additions of Tyrod Taylor and Jeff Driskel, and the drafting of Stanford's Davis Mills this offseason suggests Houston knew the situation wasn't going to get any better.
Watson has spent the first four years of his young career in Houston, putting together his best season in 2021. Despite the Texans going 4-12, Watson completed 70.2% of his passes for 4,823 yards and 33 touchdowns against seven interceptions. He also ran for 444 yards and three scores.
So, while the Clemson product's price tag will be high, teams around the NFL looking for a significant upgrade at quarterback might be willing to offer everything they have for the star signal-caller.