The transaction will be a trade, but it has a distinct free-agency feel.
NFL Media reports that Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson wants to meet with interested teams before making a decision as to the team(s) for which he’ll waive his no-trade clause. Per the report, trade offers have been made by the Saints and Panthers.
Watson’s desire to do his own due diligence necessarily will slow down the process. As previously mentioned, that could hurt Watson, given that: (1) he’ll testify in the civil lawsuits pending against him on Tuesday; and (2) teams may want to see the testimony before making a final decision about trading for him.
Indeed, Watson likely won’t be able to meet with any teams until Wednesday, at the earliest. With his deposition testimony happening on Tuesday, lawyer Rusty Hardin undoubtedly will want to spend all of Monday preparing him for the experience.
The ensuing delay, even if the meetings happen virtually, necessarily will cause some potentially interested teams to move on to more immediately available options. It will cause some potentially interested teams to not proceed at all, given the damage that open pursuit of Watson could do to the relationship with the current starting quarterback.
Thus, while it’s smart for Watson to want to meet with teams (given the various factors he needs to consider), some teams won’t be willing to do the dance. As a result, this move necessarily will trim the list of interested teams to those who are serious about Watson, since they’ll have to be serious about waiting for him, about meeting with him, about answering his questions, and about eventually pausing to anticipate his final decision. If, of course, they’re also willing to give the Texans whatever they want.