Deshaun Watson Rumors: Insider Says Texans Playing 'Chicken' on Trades Involving QB

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVAugust 30, 2021

Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) practices with the team during NFL football practice Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Justin Rex)
AP Photo/Justin Rex

The Houston Texans have a little less than two weeks to finally make a decision regarding Deshaun Watson's status for the 2021 season: trade him for a discount or pay him to sit out.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported the team is playing a game of "chicken” with Watson's status, allowing the situation to linger to the last possible minute in hopes of getting what it desires in a trade. Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported the Texans have a starting-point ask of three first-round picks, but hesitant teams have asked for any draft picks to be conditional on Watson's playing status. 

Watson is currently under criminal investigation for sexual assault in Houston and faces 22 civil lawsuits for sexual misconduct. The three-time Pro Bowler requested a trade before the allegations came to light and has not backed off his desire to leave the franchise since then.

The Carolina Panthers and Miami Dolphins have been the two teams most regularly associated with Watson. Carolina owner David Tepper has been open about his desire to land a franchise quarterback, while the Dolphins have enough draft picks to trade for Watson and not greatly gut the team's future prospects. Miami could also send out second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in any trade.

The overwhelming likelihood is that Watson will remain on the Texans roster for the entire 2021 season. He's too valuable of a football player to trade at a massive discount but also too risky from an off-field perspective for other teams to mortgage their future. There will also be a significant public relations backlash against the team that eventually trades for Watson, regardless of the result of the criminal investigation.

The NFL is also conducting an investigation of its own and may levy a suspension even if no charges are filed.

With so much uncertainty associated with the situation, it's near-impossible to expect any resolution by Week 1.