Will Deshaun Watson be traded this week?

Houston Texans v Philadelphia Eagles
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As the 2021 draft looms, the biggest NFL story of the past six weeks has taken a back seat. It possibly won’t stay there.

There’s still a scenario in which the Texans trade quarterback Deshaun Watson before, during, or immediately after the draft.

The door swings open to a trade if Watson and his 22 accusers reach a global settlement of the civil lawsuits that have been filed against him. That will require plenty of work by the lawyers. The fact that the lawyers have been so quiet since last Friday’s status conference invites speculation that the lawyers are focusing their time and attention on a push to resolve the cases at a time when the claims have maximum settlement value for the plaintiffs.

If Watson can settle the cases, Watson can get traded. Once the window closes as a practical matter on the ability to trade Watson in 2021 (it’s unclear when that window would completely close), the plaintiffs have less leverage — and Watson has more incentive to dig in and fight. Even if he’s looking at placement on paid leave while the cases proceed, Watson can simply report for training camp with the Texans, accept an assignment to the Commissioner Exempt list, receive a salary of more than $10 million in 2021, use part of that money to finance aggressive efforts to expose any and all weaknesses regarding the allegations made against him, and make a push to settle the cases after the 2021 season, so that he can be traded next year.

As I’ve said for weeks, Watson’s best move would be to accept his reckoning, ensure that the 22 individuals believe that any compensation they receive represents fair and appropriate justice, and move on. Although at this point it’s extremely likely that he’d face an unpaid suspension in the range of four to eight games based on the Ben Roethlisberger precedent, Watson can get the civil claims behind him, close the book on a potential criminal investigation, avoid full cooperation by his accusers with the league, and then land with a new team, a new team for which he’d play at the earliest after a suspension ends and at the latest in Week One of 2022.

If a settlement-then-trade scenario is happening, the sooner it unfolds, the better it will be for all involved. The fact that the two lawyers at the center of the controversy, Tony Buzbee and Rusty Hardin, have fallen silent during draft week makes it hard not to wonder whether we’ll soon be hearing about the cases being resolved, followed by news of Watson being traded to a new team.

43 responses to “Will Deshaun Watson be traded this week?

  1. Unlikely because he has a huge contract and because there are serious allegations against him that he will need to refute to avoid suspension. Settling out of court will not save him.

  2. What team would want to take on this legal mess? There’s no guarantee Deshaun plays this upcoming season. Although the trade price for Watson’s services has probably drastically dropped.

  3. What happened to the Eagles would give up everything for Watson? They are not even listed as one of the 8 teams interested, sounds like a story from Houston.

  4. What team from a PR perspective could possibly bring him under his current circumstances? How could you even try to justify it? Ya can’t.

  5. The more I read of professional sports players, the more disenchanted I become with all of them.

  6. It may be a great time to get him for cheap. If this gets to court and he is found innocent, it would be quite the steal.

  7. I can’t imagine any team having a press conference saying – meet the new face of our franchise!!??

    In the woke society we live – I just don’t see how that works out well

  8. 22+ women. There’s no amount of settling that can make that go away.

    I remember when it seemed shocking enough when AB was first accused of this with one woman that he already knew. But 22?

  9. I would trade for him in a hearbeat.
    Worst case scenario – he gets suspended all of 2021.
    Then he’s free and clear and you have a very good QB at around 34MM (on average) for 4 years.
    Thats a good deal considering the bust rate of highly drafted QBs.

  10. With everything going on around him I am not sure what his value is for seller or buyer. He may be innocent (which I sincerely doubt) or he may be guilty. Both parties are taking a big chance. I do feel bad that he put himself in this position, and yes HE put himself in this position, with such a bright career in front of him. Good luck to all involved.

  11. You’re forgetting the criminal investigation, Florio. No one is going to trade for him until that is resolved.

  12. You all crack me up. There are plenty of owners who:

    1. Don’t care about these accusations.
    2. Will look at the long game. IE once this is settled and out of the news cycle, where can DW take the franchise? And the subsequent possible $$$$$ for the owner via playoffs and possible SB.

  13. There will always be a team–probably multiple teams–that will trade for a proven talent at a skill position, even a tainted one. But the concern I would have here is that if there is a big-money settlement with these 22 plaintiffs, won’t more massage therapists suddenly remember they had a problem with Watson?

  14. if he is traded to the Jets, he will only be suspended 1 game. If he is traded to the Patriots he will be suspended all year and draft picks will be taken away

  15. Two questions:

    1. HPD is already investigating him – would a settlement nullify and end any investigation? (If there’s evidence of criminal activity, I don’t think so but things are state-specific and differ widely) and

    2. Will the settlements relieve the Texans of any and all liability tied to their player’s actions.

    Just a couple thoughts/questions.

  16. Regardless of a settlement, there is likely some sort of punishment pending from the NFL, such as putting him on the exempt list for possibly the whole year. Any team that trades for him is going to have to give up a lot of draft capital and potentially pay his salary while he sits.

  17. Russ for Watson straight up. Salaries line up OK and given Watson’s devalued value and the fact that Russ is a few years older, it should be a match.

  18. I wouldn’t settle under any circumstance if I did nothing wrong. Not saying he did nothing wrong either. Just say’n.

  19. Seriously, what’s the point of this?

    Other than trying just to get his name in another headline, there needs to be a team at the other end of the “trade”. As such, you can’t make any justification WHY a team would even want to, even for a low 7th rounder in 2029…

  20. Sadly there are GM’s in the win now mode and they can see him leading their teams to victory and at least making them playoff bound and thats means mo money. Hey by now if you dont get it that the NFL is short for greed ball, then you need another sport.
    All the teams have seen the Mahomes and Murry scramble and win game and want to duplicate it. I would be shocked if the niners took Jones over Fields. He can make things happen that Jones cant.

  21. I can’t see any team picking up Watson. He has a huge contract and even if he settles with Buzbee, he can’t be guaranteed that others won’t come forward with a different lawyer.

    Even if he is cleared by the courts, the NFL can still suspend him simply for the allegations.

    The NFL would need to say that they won’t suspend him or put him on the Commissioner’s list.

  22. Not unless he redoes that contract for a lot less money. No team will want the baggage.

    Settlement clears the legal issues but does not clear the court of public opinion and an awful lot of people are disgusted with him at this point.

  23. It seems to me that the NFL is exhibiting a high level of hypocrisy in this situation! Why hasn’t Watson already been suspended pending the outcome of the cases against him? What it seems like to an observer is that the NFL, in a move to protect an owner who would make a lot of money by being able to trade Watson, is withholding any suspensions/fines until after all 22 cases have been adjudicated. By the way, what difference does it make if the cases are “settled?” Even a blind person can see that Watson, on some level, is guilty of some very serious offenses. WHY is he even allowed to remain in the NFL wherein he can be held as an example for your youth? HE NEEDS TO BE GONE.

  24. Houston should have traded him months ago, even before the allegations. He doesn’t want to play there regardless of what the Texans do. Could have got a lot for him, probably the #3 pick from the Niners.

  25. Watson is over-hyped to begin with. I don’t get it. Compare him to Dak Prescott honestly, and Prescott’s the better player by far. Yet Prescott gets half the hype. Why do people talk about Watson like he’s in Mahomes league?

  26. Shouldn’t the question be: Will Deshaun Watson be indicted this week?

  27. No. Who would seriously take him on in a trade right now? He is hotter than nuclear waste at the moment.

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