Houston Texans management has essentially kept Deshaun Watson encased in bubble wrap so far this offseason. Despite Watson’s trade demands and incredibly ugly legal entanglements, the embattled quarterback showed up to training camp, presumably to avoid a $50,000 per day fine for not being on site.
While rumors have swirled for months that a trade was imminent, the chatter about an imminent Watson trade increased significantly yesterday thanks to a report by Chris Trapasso:
Notice the timestamp of 9:52 p.m. on August 4th, 2021. That preceded this tweet from Houston Texans beat reporter Aaron Wilson:
No trade imminent or developing at this time for Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, according to league sources. While there is interest and teams are conducting extensive due diligence, complex legal situation, no-trade clause are all difficult factors to work through still.— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) August 5, 2021
The Eagles, and several other teams, have been linked to Watson an awful lot lately for this to be nothing but a smokescreen.
Could the Philadelphia Eagles Trade For Deshaun Watson?
Offer: QB Jalen Hurts, DT Milton Williams, 2022 first-round pick (conditional from Colts), 2022 and 2023 first-round picks
The team with the most rumored interest in Watson from across the league is the Eagles. Unsettled at quarterback currently, the Eagles can make a big splash with the impressive assets they received from the Colts for Carson Wentz. Going from Wentz and Jalen Hurts to Watson would fast-track their efforts to win the open NFC East, but it wouldn’t make them an instant Super Bowl contender.
Though the Eagles lack some of the allure of other teams on the list due to their young offensive playmaking corps, they have more flexibility than their competition. Watson’s $40 million salary won’t inhibit their future moves nearly as much. However, this is also because the Eagles lack proven great playmakers on offense and are relying on players under 24 years old.
The Texans can give Hurts a trial run in 2021 before deciding their plan at the position, and would have several strong picks to rebuild with. Watson would have more attractive landing spots than the Eagles, though, who also have a first-year head-coach on top of the unproven surrounding offensive cast. He may flex his no-trade clause if other options present themselves as better options to win in.
There’s been no end of criticism over Nick Caserio, David Culley and Cal-Jack McEasterby’s treatment of Watson so far in training camp. After putting him on the scout team as a safety, presumably to help out the “not the worst secondary in the NFL”, Watson mysteriously developed a nagging injury, even though he didn’t do anything injury worthy - this is a guy who played with a punctured lung after all.
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson's injury that has sidelined him at practice the past two days is lingering calf and ankle tightness, per league sources. Injury is not regarded as major or long-term. Status is regarded as day-to-day and expected to improve with ongoing treatment— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) August 4, 2021
The only logical explanation is Houston protecting a valuable asset so they can consummate a trade, whether immediately or down the road.
As discussed on Battle Red Radio this week, the NFL is not likely to suspend Watson anytime soon or anytime prior to the resolution of his 22 pending civil lawsuits- if ever. As The Defector’s Diana Moskovitz stated, those civil suits may very well drag on for years and the NFL is highly unlikely to take action beforehand. In a “what have you done for me lately” league, the odds of a team willing to take a flyer on a guy who just might win them a Super Bowl before his career is derailed by one of the worst “humans behaving badly” downfalls of a sports hero to occur in ages, are much higher than the average person might think.
The NFL is all about the Benjamins.
Teams don’t care about proper treatment of women (just look at Dan Snyder and his sordid history of utterly horrific relations with the Washington Cheerleaders, the WFT female staff and his other business outlets. Or Robert Kraft allegedly buying his way out of disgusting behavior. Or Super Bowl MVP Ben Roethlisberger’s sexual assaults getting swept under the rug). If a player can make the league or a specific franchise a lot of money—as Deshaun Watson can—history says the NFL will find a way to slap his wrist to give the appearance of ‘not condoning his actions’ while doing everything they can to keep the golden goose laying eggs.
It appears that to the NFL, it’s not about the destruction of women’s lives; it's about rich men getting richer. While Hollywood has started rooting out this sort of criminal behavior, pro sports needs to follow suit and do the same.
In the meantime, someone will happily pay the price to bring in a franchise quarterback and kick the can of backlash for his actions down the road. Will that be the Philadelphia Eagles? We might just find out very soon.