Houston Texans head coach David Culley told reporters Monday that Tyrod Taylor will be the team's starting quarterback in Week 1. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport added that the news "confirms what appeared clear: Deshaun Watson will sit on the roster but not play."
Watson's status for the 2021 season has been one of the biggest storylines of the offseason. He's facing lawsuits from 22 women who have accused him of sexual assault and misconduct, and criminal complaints from 10 women based on those or similar accusations.
While the Houston police department is investigating Watson, no criminal charges have been filed to this point.
The NFL is also investigating Watson and has said he will have "no restrictions" on team activities while that continues.
Aaron Reiss of The Athletic reported: "The NFL has not been given access to speak to many of the plaintiffs of the 22 civil lawsuits filed against Watson, or to relevant third parties. The league also does not yet have access to evidence gathered by police, whose criminal investigation is ongoing."
There has been some question as to whether Roger Goodell would put Watson on the commissioner's exempt list, though Lindsay Jones of The Athletic noted such a move has never been used for a player who is facing civil lawsuits.
Combined with the NFL's "no restrictions" stance, this suggests the commissioner's exempt list won't be utilized unless criminal charges are filed or the NFL gets more clarity on the situation through its investigation.
In the interim, multiple rumors suggest the Texans are trying to trade Watson, who requested a trade in January, per ESPN's Adam Schefter, though no deal has materialized. Amid Watson's uncertain future, the Texans will start Taylor against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
The 32-year-old has spent the past three seasons as a backup for the Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Chargers, last serving as a regular starter for the Buffalo Bills in 2017. He went 8-6 during that campaign, throwing for 2,799 yards, 14 touchdowns and four interceptions while completing 62.6 percent of his passes and rushing for 427 yards and four scores.
Taylor is a solid veteran, but he's a major downgrade from Watson, a three-time Pro Bowler who is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. However, it appears increasingly likely that Watson will never take another snap for the Texans.