Deshaun Watson trade drama has come back with a vengeance just two weeks before the start of the 2021 NFL regular season.
According to a report from ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio — citing team executives not directly involved in trade talks — two teams have distanced themselves in the Watson sweepstakes: The Panthers and Dolphins. He also reported there’s “mounting chatter Watson will be traded in the coming days.”
Florio reported that the Broncos and Eagles were also involved in trade talks with the Texans, matching reports from late July. That said, the Broncos reportedly have no interest, and the Eagles also seem set with their current quarterback room of Jalen Hurts, Joe Flacco and Gardner Minshew.
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Joe Person of The Athletic and Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports also claimed there was no interest on the part of Carolina, which is reportedly backing Sam Darnold, for whom they traded in the offseason. That leaves the Dolphins as the likeliest remaining trade target, according to reported discussions among NFL executives.
Miami was among the first teams linked to trade for Watson before the 2021 NFL Draft. At the time, Tua Tagovailoa — following a rough first season by the then-rookie — was considered part of any deal that would take place. It’s uncertain whether Houston would alter its asking price, assuming the Dolphins would also likely try to offload the second-year quarterback in acquiring Watson.
Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports corroborated Florio’s initial report. Citing a team that had dropped out of trade negotiations with Houston, Robinson reported the team is looking for three first-round picks and two second-rounders for Watson. He reported the quarterback’s ability to determine trade destinations has “weighed heavily on trade opportunities.”
Sources said the #Panthers, #Broncos and #Eagles were also in some element of trade consideration, but Watson’s contractual right to approve the trade destination – which was signed off on by Houston ownership in his last extension – has weighed heavily in trade opportunities.
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) August 28, 2021
Another significant factor in any trade discussions is Watson’s ongoing legal troubles: He faces 22 civil suits from women who accused him of sexual misconduct and sexual assault. He is now reportedly facing a grand jury investigation. To that end, Robinson reports that teams have sought pick protections in the event Watson faces suspension or criminal prosecution.
Watson is not scheduled to be deposed until early 2022, per multiple reports.