The NFL Network's Ian Rapoport appeared on the Pat McAfee Show on Monday and said that four to five teams are interested in potentially trading for Deshaun Watson and have the draft capital needed to land him, though the New England Patriots aren't among them.
Pat McAfee @PatMcAfeeShow
"Some teams who were interested in him, are still very much interested in him" @RapSheet says there are still 4-5 teams with the capital & opportunity that would like to trade for Deshaun Watson.. Are the #Patriots one of them? "I have not heard that" #PatMcAfeeShowLIVE https://t.co/cWiCKLxtGf
Rapoport also said he's spoken to several teams, and the current allegations of sexual assault and inappropriate misconduct levied against the quarterback—13 lawsuits have been filed against the Houston Texans quarterback—has not "deterred them" in seeking potential trades.
"There are teams I know that still very much believe in Deshaun Watson," he reported.
According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, the Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos are among the teams reportedly still interested in a possible Watson trade.
But Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reported Monday that "every single team that has been interested is gathering string on what is being alleged. Teams are not sprinting to cut a deal. And the Texans still aren't taking calls, by the way."
And Jeff Howe of The Athletic added more context on the Patriots:
Jeff Howe @jeffphowe
The entire situation with Deshaun Watson has changed with the civil suits. If there are teams that are still actively pursuing him, as has been reported, I can confidently say the Patriots were not one of them as of late last week. We'll see if that changes, pending civil cases. https://t.co/BfjMWZhtfD
Watson denied any wrongdoing in a Twitter post on March 16 after Houston attorney Tony Buzbee made the first lawsuit against the quarterback public:
"I'm extremely proud to represent Deshaun Watson and wholly stand behind him against what we believe are meritless allegations," Watson's lawyer Rusty Hardin said in a statement Friday. "However, we'll wait to comment in detail until we've completed our review of the numerous, evolving allegations from Mr. Buzbee. We will respond next week and ask you to keep an open mind until we do so."
As for the Patriots, the team's quarterback situation remains in flux. Last year's starter, Cam Newton, signed a one-year deal to return for 2021, while Jarrett Stidham will also be back. The 31-year-old Newton didn't particularly impress last year, throwing for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions while completing 65.8 percent of his passes.
He also rushed for 592 yards and 12 scores. The Pats went 7-8 in his starts.
So Watson would be an upgrade, though it sounds as though the Patriots aren't among the teams considering a trade for him.