Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson reported for training camp without knowing whether the NFL will place him on paid leave. Watson still doesn’t know whether that will happen.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Watson and his representatives have heard nothing either way regarding the team’s intentions in this regard.
Many are interpreting the fact that Watson wasn’t promptly placed on paid leave as an indication that he won’t be. That may not be a certainty. The NFL possibly decided to wait until Watson showed up for camp before making a decision that would have been irrelevant if he’d held out.
Whatever the explanation, the fact that Watson hasn’t been told he won’t be placed on paid leave means that he still possibly could be placed on paid leave. That surely complicates Houston’s reported quest to get at least first-round picks in exchange for his contract.
As one executive from another team remarked on Monday morning, in response to various reports regarding Houston’s potential return and the fact that few in the media were pushing back on it, “Are we really pretending it’s like it was in January?”
The first lawsuit against Watson, filed in mid-March, changed the equation. The next 21 dramatically altered it. With all 22 cases still pending, the criminal investigation still open, and the league able whenever it wants to put Watson on paid leave, those factors need to be considered before anyone will give anything to the Texans for Watson — from three first-rounders down to one third-rounder.