Are the Houston Texans still playing hardball when it comes to a Deshaun Watson trade? It sounds like that is the case.
FOX’s Jay Glazer reported on the network’s pregame show on Thursday that the Texans are not returning calls from teams inquiring about a Watson trade. He further says the team still thinks they will be able to convince Watson to play for them.
“They’re in a standstill because the Texans still think that Deshaun Watson’s going to end up wanting to play for them this year. … All the teams that have been trying to reach out to Deshaun Watson, they’re not calling any of them back,” Glazer reported.
This report runs contrary to a report on Wednesday that suggested talks were heating up between the Texans and Eagles.
Watson is 25 and so talented that teams are interested in trading for him despite the numerous sexual assault allegations he is facing. The NFL still has not handed out any discipline for Watson regarding the case.
Watson passed for 4,823 yards and 33 touchdowns last season.
The Houston Texans were adamant earlier in the offseason that they were not going to trade Deshaun Watson, but a lot has changed since then. If rival teams remain interested, the Texans are now all ears.
The Texans have been open to fielding trade offers for Watson “for quite some time,” Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network report. The asking price remains very high, however, as Houston wants at least three first-round picks and then some.
Watson reported to training camp on Sunday, which means he will avoid mandatory fines of $50,000 per day. Pelissero notes that the star quarterback carried himself in a respectful manner but has reiterated that he wants out of Houston.
It makes sense that the Texans are willing to trade Watson now, as he is being sued by more than 20 massage therapists who have accused him of sexual assault. The NFL is still investigating the allegations, and Watson seems likely to be suspended at some point. Until there is more clarity surrounding the situation, teams probably aren’t going to offer multiple first-round picks.
The fact that Watson was not placed on the commissioner’s exempt list prior to training camp may be a positive sign. That could indicate that the NFL does not believe a major violation occurred.
Most teams have their quarterback situation sorted at this point in the offseason. However, there have been rumblings that at least one still has strong interest in Watson.
The NFL has yet to announce any disciplinary action against Deshaun Watson, and the star quarterback appears to be proceeding with his offseason like he normally would.
Watson is expected to be in Houston on Sunday when the Texans begin the process of opening training camp, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports. Players will begin reporting to the team on Sunday to undergo COVID-19 testing to be cleared for training camp.
By showing up on time, Watson will avoid mandatory fines of $50,000 per day. However, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports that Watson still wants out of Houston.
Watson has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women who say they did massage therapy work for him. No criminal charges have been filed. The NFL is still investigating the claims, though Watson had not been interviewed by the league as of a few weeks ago.
There was recently speculation that the NFL could place Watson on the commissioner’s exempt list prior to training camp, but the league probably would have made that move by now.
Many assume Watson will be suspended at some point, even if the lawsuits against him have the potential to drag into next year. As far as a possible trade goes, one team may still be willing to negotiate with the Texas.
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.
It is unclear if Deshaun Watson will play at all in 2021 after he was accused of sexual assault by multiple women. And even if he does, it may not be for the Houston Texans.
During an appearance on “SportsCenter” Sunday morning, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that there is a belief around the NFL that the Texans have begun “slowly moving on” from Watson. Fowler said Houston is very high on rookie quarterback Davis Mills, according to Bleacher Report’s Tyler Conway.
The Texans drafted Mills in the third round, so it would be a surprise if he is not on their roster in 2021. They also signed veteran Tyrod Taylor earlier in the offseason and are likely planning to go into Week 1 with him as their starter.
“A couple of months ago, the Texans were turning down everybody who was calling them about Deshaun Watson. Carolina was willing to give them the world; they said no,” Fowler reported. “They’ve been far less committal recently. They don’t know when Watson’s even going to be cleared to play. The league will consider putting Watson on the Commissioner’s Exempt List later this summer if his case is still going on.”
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. It is unlikely that any team will be willing to trade for him without more clarity.
We know that at least these eight teams expressed trade interest in Watson at one point. Many of those teams have already gone in other directions while Watson’s future remains muddled.
The Houston Texans raised eyebrows on Friday when they used their first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on a quarterback. It sounds like the guy they picked didn’t see it coming, either.
With the 67th overall pick, the Texans selected Stanford quarterback Davis Mills despite a number of other roster needs. The Texans also devoted their first pick in the draft to a quarterback, having traded their earlier selections at various points over the past two years, especially in the trade for offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil.
On one hand, the Texans’ selection seemed to be an admission that quarterback Deshaun Watson’s future with the team is in doubt, and Tyrod Taylor and Mills may be the future. On the other hand, that apparently wasn’t communicated to Mills, who admitted that he had little contact with the Texans leading up to his selection.
It’s a bit unorthodox for a team to be interested in a quarterback but not really remain in close contact with him leading up to the selection. At the very least, a lot of quarterbacks know who’s digging heavily into them and have an idea of where they might land. That doesn’t necessarily make the pick bad, but it adds to the curiousness of it all.
Watson is facing 22 civil suits alleging sexual assault, and was already trying to force his way out of Houston before his legal problems began. With that in mind, it’s no wonder the Texans sound less certain about his future. Whether Mills is his replacement, or even a capable one, remains to be seen.
It was not all that long ago that the Houston Texans were insisting Deshaun Watson would be the face of their franchise for years to come, but suddenly they do not sound so certain.
Texans general manager Nick Caserio met with reporters on Friday, and naturally he was asked several questions about Watson. Since Watson is facing sexual assault allegations from at least 22 different women, Caserio said he cannot comment on the situation. He said he has nothing to add beyond the statement the Texans already put out.
“I would say, I really don’t have any comment,” Caserio said, via NFL.com. “I know Cal [McNair] and ownership put a letter out a few weeks ago relative to the organizational stance, relative to where we are. I don’t have anything to add other than its legal process and we respect the legal process and where that is. We’re focused on today, we’re focused on getting ready for the offseason program and getting ready for the draft, so that’s where our focus is.”
One new lawsuit was filed against Watson this week, which brought the total to 23. One woman then dropped her suit this week citing privacy and security concerns, so there are now 22 civil suits outstanding against the star quarterback. Houston police also confirmed earlier this month that one of the alleged victims has filed a complaint.
Caserio said he has heard a lot of speculation but isn’t going to add to it.
“We’re not going to get into a lot of hypotheticals, a lot of speculation,” the GM said. “I’m not really good at that. Maybe someone else is better at that than me. If you want to speculate, probably go buy Bitcoin and focus on that.”
Regardless of what happens with Watson from a legal standpoint, it would be a shock if he is not suspended by the NFL. He has maintained his innocence and admits to having sexual encounters with some of the massage therapists who are suing him, but the NFL will conduct its own investigation.
One of the alleged victims, Ashley Solis, delivered a powerful statement last week in which she spoke about how Watson’s alleged misconduct has negatively impacted her career and life. You can see that video here.
The Houston Texans have said numerous times this offseason that they are not trading Deshaun Watson and expect him to be a franchise cornerstone for years to come. Of course, all of those public endorsements came before 22 women accused Watson of sexual assault. Now, the team appears to be distancing itself from the quarterback.
Rivers McCown noticed on Sunday that the Texans have removed Watson entirely from the introduction to their in-house TV show, “Texans 360.”
We highly doubt that is a coincidence.
Watson has maintained his innocence, though his legal team did admit last week that the 25-year-old had consensual sexual relationships with some of his masseuses.
The identities of at least a dozen women who have accused Watson of sexual assault will soon be revealed. Nine of the alleged victims have volunteered to publicly reveal their identities, and several others will have to due to a court ruling on Friday.
One of the alleged victims, Ashley Solis, delivered a powerful statement this week in which she spoke about how Watson’s alleged misconduct has negatively impacted her career and life. You can see that video here.
Watson had demanded a trade before any of the sexual assault allegations came to light. It seems highly likely that he will be suspended for at least some of the 2021 season, which complicates the situation.
The Buffalo Bills lost to the Houston Texans in the playoffs two seasons ago in part because of a controversial call it overtime. It took more than a year, but the NFL has finally admitted the Bills may have been robbed.
Buffalo and Houston went to overtime tied 19-19 in their 2020 postseason game. The Texans got the ball first, but the Bills stopped them with a three-and-out and had a chance to win the game with a field goal. They were in field goal range after Josh Allen scrambled for four yards on 3rd-and-9 from the Houston 42-yard line, but offensive lineman Cody Ford was called for a blindside block. That backed Buffalo out of field goal range and forced a punt.
The Texans went on to win 22-19. On Friday, the NFL shared a video on Twitter explaining what officials look for with blindside blocks. One of the examples of a clean block that should not have been called was Ford’s block. You can see the play at around the 1:10 mark below:
Had no flag been thrown, Stephen Hauschka would have been able to attempt a game-winning field goal of around 55 yards. That is hardly a chip shot, so there’s no guarantee the Bills would have won. However, the NFL has confirmed that Buffalo at least deserved a shot.
As New Orleans Saints fans could tell you, the blindside block penalty wasn’t the most egregious officiating blunder we have seen in an NFL playoff game. A certain non-call on this pass play still holds that title. That said, it has to sting Bills fans to see the NFL admit the mistake now.
There are several reasons why Deshaun Watson might not be with the Houston Texans at the start of the 2021 season, and the team has to prepare accordingly. If they decided to bring in another quarterback, Alex Smith is reportedly a name to watch.
Tom Pelissero of NFL Network said Friday that the Texans may consider signing Smith. The 36-year-old has a history with new Houston head coach David Culley, as the two spent four seasons together when Culley was an assistant coach with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Texans signed Tyrod Taylor last month, but the contract indicated they view him as a backup more than a potential starter. Of course, the signing came amid all the talk that Watson does not intend to ever play for Houston again.
Now, the situation is even more complicated. Even if he’s not traded, Watson could be placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt list or suspended. The troubling sexual assault allegations against him have continued to pile up. You can read about some of the latest here.
Smith was released by Washington earlier this offseason, but he still wants to play in 2021.