What was inevitable is now dubious.
Before, it seemed inevitable that the Texans would trade Deshaun Watson prior to or during the 2021 NFL Draft. Now, after the allegations, San Francisco moving up to No. 3, and Carolina trading for Sam Darnold, it’s no longer expected to happen. There are still rumors of Philadelphia being interested of Watson; regardless of who Watson truly is, teams will still want someone of his talent level.
What do you think? Do you think Watson will be traded before the NFL Draft? If so, which team will pull the trigger This is the question I asked the masthead for this week’s GroupThink. These are their answers.
I don’t see Deshaun Watson being traded before the draft because nobody knows how hard the NFL is going to flex on his inevitable punishment. Is Watson suspended four games? Eight? Two seasons? Nobody knows, and I think that’s too much risk for any general manager.
That said, I could totally see Cal McNair and Jack Easterby forcing Nick Caserio to trade Watson for a pack of used condoms and a Kevin Bentley bobblehead doll, and then Watson is suspended for only one game. BECAUSE TEXANS!
We are, still, an extraordinarily stupid organization until proven otherwise.
Barring an extremely unlikely (and likely massive) settlement between Watson and the accusers before the draft, Watson will still be in Battle Red/Steel Blue colors after May. Maybe Caserio, et al had visions of a massive trade before the draft, but that seems dead in the water.
That is not to say that some team wouldn’t take a chance to see if Watson could be off-loaded for a steal, but Caserio is not BO’B. Watson may be more toxic now than he was six weeks ago, but to off-load him for nothing would be the height of stupid, even for this team. Perhaps the team would be happy to dump Watson and not have the PR issue, but he still has too much value for that to happen.
I can’t see any team taking the short-term PR hit to offer a significant trade package in the next few weeks. If a team wanted to think longer term (presuming that Watson gets suspended for a significant part of either the 2021 or 2022 season, but would be eligible to play out the rest of this contract [2025 season] (and not subject to criminal charges/actions)), then they might make a move. However, that move would happen either later this year or in 2022, provided Watson would still want to be traded/could still play. Would the Texans really want to move on, or are they hopeful that this situation drives Watson back into the fold of the Texans on the field? Too many unknowns.
The bottom line: Watson stays in Houston past the draft and the team remains in a horrid limbo with no immediate end/resolution in sight.
As BFD said, it would be the most Texans thing ever to dump Watson on draft day in a crappy trade. Here’s how I could see it going down:
—We all see the “TRADE ALERT” banner flash by right before Miami makes their first pick at #6 overall.
—We hear it involves the Texans and everyone gets excited.
—Watson’s name and the words “huge trade” are floated, and everyone gets more excited.
—They announce it is indeed Watson going to Miami and we watch as the countdown graphic for the #6 pick doesn’t change off “MIAMI” and we start to wonder and worry.
—Then Miami’s pick is announced and they take phenom wideout Ja’Marr Chase.
—That all-too-familiar Texans feeling in the pit of our collective stomach rises up.
—We reach for the Pepto just as one of the talking heads says details for the “blockbuster” trade are coming in. Then, the network goes to commercial break. After the commercial break, they continue talking about the pick after Miami’s without any clarification on Houston. We flip between networks, scour Twitter, and text one another trying to figure out what’s going on. No one knows. Two picks later, Adam Schefter makes a comment about Nick Caserio’s trade resume, but no details.
—Finally, after four more picks have come and gone, the news comes out: The Texans have sent Watson to the Dolphins for Jacoby Brissett and a 2023 7th round pick.
—Jack Easterby tweets about the genius move he and Caserio pulled off to set the Texans up for another decade of success.
With the flurry of moves at the top of the draft and Carolina finding their guy in Mono Man, the time for Watson to find a new home may have passed.
I’m in the mindset that if the Eagles really are that interested, they also understand that the active market for Watson has dwindled and they can offer a slightly lower value package. It would be very on-brand for the Texans to settle for whatever comes their way on draft day, and nothing would really live up to the caliber of player that Watson is anyway.
With the allegations swirling and the walls seemingly closing in, Watson may have an extended stay in Houston while everything plays out. While we may not see him in a Texans uniform again, he’ll still be technically a Houston Texan for a good while.
With the current allegations, I don’t see Watson being moved by draft day. It isn’t worth for the Texans to take a lesser offer because the suspension details are unknown (if he’s even suspended at all). If Watson is suspended, Houston can eat his suspension, Watson can serve it on their roster, and then he can be moved after the season is over, once Houston knows what the picks they will be trading him for are worth. This could even open the door for the QB and organization to mend their previous relationship, whatever that may mean.
Trading Watson before the draft this year would be the all-time dumb move. Dumber than trading Jadeveon Clowney, dumber than trading for Laremy Tunsil, dumber than trading DeAndre Hopkins, and dumber than not addressing the cornerback position years ago.
That being said, there is no bottom. As we know, there is nothing outside the realm of possibilities regarding this football team.