Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans have both had a historically damaging offseason. With 22 lawsuits pending against the QB, it’ll be a tough situation to diffuse.
In January, Deshaun Watson requested a trade from the Texans. The former Clemson signal-caller led the league in passing yards and the team still went 4-12.
Obviously, whenever a star player requests a trade there is generally a negative feeling surrounding it. Watson and the front office clashed which would have been bad enough, but the situation got much, much worse.
Once the sexual harassment lawsuits (22 of them) starting rolling in, the landscape became entirely different. For the Texans, it meant that a possible trade package shrunk overnight.
While they could have traded him for multiple first rounders, and other compensation, they would now have to settle for a dime on the dollar.
From Watson’s perspective too, for obvious reasons, the lawsuits couldn’t come at a worse time. Even if he settles it off the field, his career has taken a very real hit.
A possible trade went from unlikely to near impossible and his future in the NFL itself has been questioned.
Will Deshaun Watson Play in 2021?
Realistically, there hasn’t been much movement in the conflict. It is likely to continue this way, given that the football outcome depends heavily on the legal proceedings which will take time.
However, there is one interesting thing to look out for. Assuming Watson doesn’t get traded, there is still a chance he could re-unite with his Texans teammates soon.
If the lawsuits aren’t settled before training camp, Watson will have to gamble on whether or not the league places him on the Commissioner’s Exempt List (he won’t be able to play, but will be on paid leave).
If he believes the league will punish him, he will likely show up to camp. This way he gets his money but still doesn’t have to step on the field for the Texans.
Alternatively, if shows up but the league is lenient towards him, then he’s stuck. He’ll probably be forced to fake an injury which would certainly be an interesting scenario.
As of now, he is not expected to play for Houston. Most betting sites have the Texans as underdogs in every game assuming that Tyrod Taylor will start, and some don’t even list Watson as a betting option for Houston’s week 1 starter.