Teams are making plans to acquire veteran quarterbacks — officially as of March 16 and unofficially before then. For Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, his legal situation complicates any effort to work out a long-expected trade.
He faces two tracks, criminal and civil. His lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said Monday in open court that he expects the grand jury to make a decision regarding whether Watson will be charged with any crimes and the level of the charges (felony or misdemeanor) will be determined by April 1.
The civil cases, brought by 22 massage therapists, undoubtedly won’t be. So the question becomes whether teams would refrain from trading for Watson while the civil cases are pending.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, multiple teams are indeed willing to make the deal, as long as the criminal situation is resolved. Last year, the Dolphins insisted on settlement of all cases before a trade would be finalized. The Panthers were willing to make the deal regardless of the civil (or criminal) cases, but Watson didn’t want to waive his no-trade clause for a trade to Carolina.
The teams currently willing to do a deal without a settlement of the civil cases aren’t known. But they’re out there, lurking and strategizing and planning as the quarterback carousel prepares to spin.