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Deshaun Watson Rumors: Trade Market to 'Ramp Up Quickly' After Grand Jury Decision

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIMarch 12, 2022

AP Photo/Justin Rex_file

A Harris County, Texas grand jury decided Friday not to indict Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson on charges stemming from criminal complaints by 10 women alleging sexual assault and misconduct during massage sessions.

Now ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the trade market "is expected to ramp up, quickly" for Watson, who still faces 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault and misconduct.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network expressed similar sentiments on Watson's trade market:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Now that the criminal matters are over — and Deshaun Watson won’t be charged — expect his trade market to ramp up quickly. Teams have been waiting. This clears the path for a deal by the start of the league year.

Watson officially requested a trade out of Houston in Jan. 2021, per Schefter. Two months later, attorney Tony Buzbee announced the first civil lawsuit against Watson. More allegations continued to emerge over the ensuing months.

Meanwhile, Watson stayed on the Texans amid rumors of him potentially being moved to the Miami Dolphins or Carolina Panthers prior to the 2021 trade deadline. That all went down as Watson sat out the 2021 campaign amid the allegations and the trade request.

Despite the grand jury's decision not to indict Watson, he could still face a lengthy suspension by the NFL under its personal conduct policy regardless of the outcome of the civil suits.

As for his landing spot, NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah reported on his Move The Sticks podcast Thursday (h/t Matthew Betz of The Fantasy Footballers) that the Seattle Seahawks should strongly be in the mix.

"In talking to friends around the league, the expectation from every single one of them is that when it's all said and done, Deshaun Watson's gonna be the quarterback [for the Seahawks]," Jeremiah said.

Rapoport also said to expect a "very, very strong market" for Watson and mentioned the Panthers, who reportedly "have been wanting Deshaun Watson for a year" and are "expected to be aggressive in pursuit of him."

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From our breaking news coverage on <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a>: The trade market for Deshaun Watson now that his criminal matters are closed will be active. <a href="https://t.co/OamLoszzC2">pic.twitter.com/OamLoszzC2</a>

Rapoport also mentioned the Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles as teams who could be involved.

The 26-year-old Watson is a three-time Pro Bowler who threw for an NFL-high 4,823 yards alongside 33 touchdowns (seven interceptions) and a 70.2 percent completion rate during the 2020 season.

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