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#pounditMonday, September 20, 2021

Deshaun Watson

Could Deshaun Watson be traded to this team before season?

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson’s status remains unclear as training camp quickly approaches, but there is a chance the trade market for him could still heat up before the start of the regular season. If it does, the Philadelphia Eagles may be the team to watch.

During a Wednesday morning appearance on “The John Kincade Show” on 97.5 The Fanatic, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said the Eagles are in the best position to make a run at Watson should there be more clarity surrounding the star quarterback’s situation in the coming weeks.

“The Eagles are more equipped to make a run at DeShaun Watson than any other team out there,” Schefter said. “And if you put DeShaun Watson on the Philadelphia Eagles they become a Super Bowl contender right away.”

Schefter added that the Eagles will be “waiting” for when Watson’s legal issues are settled. He noted that Philadelphia once gave Michael Vick a second chance, so they might be the type of organization that would welcome Watson despite the sexual assault allegations against him.

The Eagles are hoping Jalen Hurts proves he can be a viable starter this season, but Watson is already an established star. It’s possible that Philly could wait until next offseason to try to acquire Watson, as they may have an extra first-round pick by then via the Carson Wentz trade.

Watson has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women who say they did massage therapy work for him. The NFL is still investigating the claims, though Watson had not been interviewed by the league as of a few weeks ago.

Many assume Watson will either be suspended by the NFL or placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List. The league probably wants to come to a decision before the start of the season, even if the lawsuits against Watson have the potential to drag into next year.

Deshaun Watson has not been interviewed by NFL about sexual assault cases

Deshaun Watson

The NFL is conducting its own investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Deshaun Watson, but the Houston Texans star has not yet been given an opportunity to tell league officials his side of the story.

Rusty Hardin, Watson’s attorney, told KPPRC 2 in Houston this week that Watson has yet to be interviewed by anyone from the NFL. Hardin also said there are no talks ongoing about potential settlements with any of the 22 women who have filed civil suits against Watson.

The attorney who represents all of the alleged victims said recently that he and his team are preparing for the cases to be tried in front of a jury. Hardin said depositions are set to begin in September, though no specific date was given. That would be close to or beyond the start of the 2021 NFL season.

Many assume Watson will either be suspended by the NFL or placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List. The league probably wants to come to a decision before the start of the season, even if the lawsuits against Watson have the potential to drag into next year.

Watson informed the Texans earlier this offseason that he wants to be traded, and he reportedly has a specific destination in mind.

Attorney Tony Buzbee offers update in Deshaun Watson case

Deshaun Watson

There has been very little information recently regarding the sexual assault allegations against Deshaun Watson, but the attorney representing the alleged victims provided an update this week.

Tony Buzbee, the lawyer for the massage therapists who have filed lawsuits against Watson, said in an Instagram post on Thursday that his clients still have no interest in settling. He did, however, leave open the possibility of settlements when he said “at least not yet.”

“As I’ve said: There will not be a settlement, at least anytime soon,” Buzbee wrote. “I have my best people on the case. That should tell you a lot about our intentions.”

Buzbee said his legal team is in the process of preparing to try each of the alleged victims’ cases in front of a jury. He also shot down the theory that he has suddenly gone “quiet” because he is working on settling with Watson and the quarterback’s attorney, Rusty Hardin. You can see the full Instagram post below:

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk speculates that Buzbee and his clients may want to settle, but some of them could be unwilling to waive confidentiality. Keep in mind that all of the cases are civil in nature. No criminal charges have been filed against Watson.

The reality is the cases could drag on for quite a while longer — perhaps even into 2022. The NFL has been conducting its own investigation and must decide whether to suspend Watson prior to the 2021 season. The Houston Texans star could also be placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List.

Watson informed the Texans earlier this offseason that he wants to be traded, and he reportedly has a specific destination in mind.

Is Deshaun Watson hoping to make his way to this team?

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson’s status remains up in the air as the NFL investigates the sexual assault allegations against him. It is unclear if the Houston Texans have altered their stance on not wanting to trade the star quarterback, but the Denver Broncos could be the team to watch if they do.

Broncos safety Kareem Jackson, who was teammates with Watson in Houston, said on the “Catchin’ Fades with Aqib Talib” podcast this week that Watson told him he wants to play for Denver.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media disputed that report. He said Watson has been getting recruited by “countless” players and former teammates, but he doesn’t believe the 25-year-old is set on playing for the Broncos. Though, Rapoport does view Denver as a “possible spot.”

Watson’s situation is extremely complicated. Most people seem to believe he will be suspended, but no one is sure when or for how long. His legal proceedings could drag on for quite a while, though the NFL is conducting its own investigation.

One recent report claimed Watson is certain to be traded if one particular scenario plays out. The Broncos were said to be interested in Aaron Rodgers at one point (and may still be), so they can’t be ruled out as a suitor for Watson.

Deshaun Watson legal proceedings appear likely to last beyond 2021

Deshaun Watson

Barring a settlement, Deshaun Watson’s legal issues won’t be anywhere near over before the end of the 2021 season.

According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, the docket control order in the cases states that Watson will not sit for a sworn deposition any earlier than Feb. 22, 2022. For context, that would be nine days after next year’s Super Bowl. A trial date would likely be set in May 2022 if the lawsuits are not settled by that point.

Watson’s accusers can give depositions starting in September. With 22 accusers, that’s likely to take significant time, in addition to interviewing any other possible witnesses.

What it all means for Watson is that, unless there’s a settlement, this will not be resolved at any point during the 2021 season. It also means a decision will have to be made by the Houston Texans over what to do with the quarterback, and all parties will have to determine the potential risk or suitability of Watson being placed on paid leave while the allegations are outstanding. There’s also the outstanding question of whether any other team would trade for Watson without any settlements.

There are still some who believe Watson’s case won’t go to trial and the quarterback will ultimately be traded. If that doesn’t happen, it looks like this is going to be an ongoing issue for quite some time.

Attorney for Deshaun Watson accusers seeking settlement?

Deshaun Watson

Despite statements to the contrary, it appears there may be some willingness on the part of the attorneys for Deshaun Watson’s accusers to settle the outstanding cases.

According to ESPN’s Sarah Barshop, a member of the legal team representing Watson’s accusers reached out to Watson’s legal team to discuss “working things out.” This comes despite denials from the accusers’ lead attorney, Tony Buzbee, who said there have been no attempts to settle any of the lawsuits.

Buzbee also told ESPN that he was “the only one at this firm who has the authority to discuss settlement.”

There has been increased chatter of late about a possible settlement, though Buzbee has been adamant that it’s not even being discussed. There is some belief that settlements could allow Watson to play at least part of the 2021 season, though he still faces discipline from the NFL as it conducts its own investigation.

Beyond the obvious legal ramifications, a settlement could have a significant impact on Watson’s status with the Houston Texans.

Deshaun Watson certain to be traded if this happens?

Deshaun Watson

The Houston Texans were adamant that they would not trade Deshaun Watson earlier this offseason, but that was before the star quarterback was accused of sexual assault by more than 20 women. Now, the bigger question is whether any teams will be interested if the Texans change their stance. One NFL insider believes there is still a strong chance Watson is moved.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk spoke about the Watson situation during an appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show” on Friday. He was asked if the Texans would be ready to turn things over to Tyrod Taylor and rookie Davis Mills if Watson settles the civil lawsuits against him and does not face criminal charges. Florio said he is confident that will be the case.

“I know it’ll happen. The moment these cases are settled, if it happens, that’s when the land rush begins for the Deshaun Watson contract,” Florio said. “The Texans may still get a decent return. … If you get two, three, four teams at the table, the value gets pumped back into this potential trade.”

You can hear Florio’s full thoughts on the topic below:

Before the sexual assault allegations, the asking price for Watson was reportedly two first-round picks and a lot more. It’s unclear if teams would still be willing to offer that much given how much Watson’s reputation has been tarnished, but we know winning is oftentimes all that matters in the NFL. He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league and still just 25.

We know of one NFC team that may still have interest in Watson even amid the sexual assault scandal. If the cases are settled, Florio thinks that team will have plenty of competition.

Tony Buzbee criticizes NFL for handling of Deshaun Watson situation

Deshaun Watson

The NFL has been investigating the sexual assault allegations against Deshaun Watson, and the attorney representing the alleged victims does not feel his clients are being shown a proper level of respect.

Tony Buzbee told Mark Berman of FOX 26 on Wednesday night that four of the 22 women he currently represents have met with the NFL. Buzbee said he is unsure if he will allow others to do so because some of the women who already spoke with the league “did not feel like they were being respected.”

Buzbee said members of his staff attended meetings between the NFL and three of the women. He attended a meeting with the fourth. The lawyer stressed to NFL officials that “every time these women recount this situation, they have to relive it.”

Berman shared a more detailed recap of his conversation with Buzbee:

It was also noteworthy that Buzbee said none of his clients are considering settlements with Watson. There has been speculation recently that settlements could be in the works, as not much has been said about the lawsuits from either side.

Buzbee said eight to 10 of the alleged victims have spoken with the Houston Police Department. No criminal charges have been filed against Watson at this point.

The Texans are in somewhat of a holding pattern with Watson. It’s probably safe to assume the star quarterback will be suspended in 2021, but no one really knows when or for how long. At least one NFC team is said to have interest in Watson despite the ongoing scandal.

Deshaun Watson unlikely to be suspended for entire 2021 season?

Deshaun Watson

Very little has been said in recent weeks about the situation surrounding Deshaun Watson and the sexual assault lawsuits he is facing. The assumption is that Watson will either be suspended or placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt list, but is there still a possibility we could see him on the field this season?

Rich Eisen thinks so. When discussing the Watson saga on his show this week, Eisen said he heard around the time of the NFL Draft that Watson was working on settling cases with some or all of his 22-plus alleged victims. He believes that could allow Watson to play at some point in 2021.

“I think it’s quiet right now for a reason. You don’t hear a word from a lawyer (Tony Buzbee) who was on Instagram like he was a 16-year-old sophomore,” Eisen said. “Every single thing was going on Instagram. You don’t hear a word from him right now, do you? Why? Anybody who knows the legal system knows that means something’s being discussed and you don’t want to upset it.

“You could (say) settling doesn’t remove anything with Deshaun Watson. That’s correct, he could still get suspended, but not for the entirety of the 2021 season.”

Watson’s case is unprecedented in some ways. We have yet to hear of him facing any criminal charges, as all of the cases are civil in nature thus far. However, the allegations have been made by so many different women that there are a number of ways the NFL could handle them.

Antonio Brown was suspended eight weeks to start the 2020 season after he faced sexual assault allegations, so Watson could face a similar penalty. His suspension might also be longer given that more than 20 women have made similar claims against him.

We know of at least one NFC team that is still interested in trading for Watson. If there comes a point when there is more clarity with the sexual assault scandal, the trade talks could quickly pick back up.

Is this NFC team still interested in a Deshaun Watson trade?

Deshaun Watson

The Texans have been in a holding pattern with Deshaun Watson since multiple women accused him of sexual assault. It is unclear whether the star quarterback still wants out of Houston or if a trade is possible given the circumstances, but apparently at least one team remains interested.

Peter King wrote in his latest NBC Sports column that his “gut feeling” is Watson will be with a new team when the 2022 season begins. He then listed some of his own odds for where Watson might end up, and the Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers topped the list at 3-to-1. The Eagles will have an extra first-round pick next year if Carson Wentz plays at least 75 percent of the offensive snaps with the Indianapolis Colts, which could put them in a strong position to deal for Watson.

The Eagles are hoping Jalen Hurts proves he can be a viable NFL starter this season. That said, Mike Fisher of TexansDaily.com was told by a source that Watson is “still in play” for Philly. The timetable for when a Watson trade might take place is unclear, but Fisher reports that the Eagles are definitely still interested.

Watson is facing sexual assault lawsuits from 22 women who say they provided massage therapy for him in the past. The NFL is conducting its own investigation of the allegations, and Watson will almost certainly be suspended if not placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt list.

A recent report claimed the Texans are in the process of moving on from Watson.