More than a year ago, Deshaun Watson requested a trade after the world stopped so the Houston Texans could finally hire Nick Caserio this time. He assumed he would be moved swiftly, likely before the 2021 NFL Draft. Then the sexual assault allegations came out. After coming close to acquiring him at the trade deadline, the Miami Dolphins no longer want Watson, and the New York Giants remain disinterested despite appearing to be a match on paper. It’s a year later. Watson is still on Houston’s roster, and this situation still is murky and muddy.
Watson is now set to head to court. The depositions have begun, but Watson cannot be deposed before Feb. 22nd. With pending lawsuits, teams refuse to offer market value, Watson is currently stuck. We may live in a world where Watson would actually have to play for the Texans again to improve his trade value enough to finally get traded. Yes, anything is within the realm of possibilities.
That said, ESPN”s Jeremy Fowler published a piece that contains the newest Watson rumors that came up during Super Bowl week. Watson is apparently evaluating possible places he’d like to play. The Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are allegedly “on his radar.”
The Texans quarterback, who spent the 2021 season on the team’s active roster but did not play, has begun evaluating potential fits for his services in 2022, with the Buccaneers and Vikings among teams on his radar.
One source noted that Watson — who has a no-trade clause — is still early in the evaluation process, but he’s looking for the right blend of offensive system, coaching, talent and, most importantly, the chance to win.
Watson preferred the Dolphins before last November’s trade deadline, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, but talks didn’t result in a deal, and Miami appears committed to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa playing under new coach Mike McDaniel.
The expectation leaguewide, however, is that the Texans will once again explore trade options for Watson, possibly around the start of the new league year March 16 or the NFL draft in late April.
The Buccaneers will exhaust all options to resolve their quarterback situation after the retirement of Tom Brady, per sources. The goal is to maximize the championship window instead of rebuild. Second-round pick Kyle Trask and veteran Blaine Gabbert remain in the fold, but big-name quarterbacks such as Watson or Russell Wilson could be options Tampa Bay at least explores.
The Vikings have intriguing young pieces in Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook, and they face a decision on the contract of Kirk Cousins, a 2023 free agent who has a $45 million cap hit in 2022. New coach Kevin O’Connell, however, conveyed a strong belief in Cousins during his interview process with Minnesota, relaying a vision for maximizing his skill set.
Regardless of the current situation, I still expect Watson will be traded before the 2022 NFL Draft. Even if it means Watson having to rescind his no-trade clause to go somewhere he never imagined playing. I mean, Kawhi Leonard once played for the Toronto Raptors.
Watson could end up in Minnesota. Strange things have happened, and stranger things are still to come.