Finally. What so many fans have been screeching for months is (about to become; there’s still about an hour before the deadline) reality. The Houston Texans are not trading Deshaun Watson, to the Miami Dolphins or anyone else, before the NFL trade deadline expires this afternoon. Here are a flurry of tweets and information from various credible sources to demonstrate the validity of the preceding statement.
Although the Dolphins did due diligence on Deshaun Watson and had conversations with Houston, Miami will not make a trade for the QB, per source. Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross, who had contingencies that needed to be met for any deal, made the final decision to not move forward.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 2, 2021
#Texans QB Deshaun Watson not settling his legal situation has resulted in him not getting traded, source said. Watson will stay put in Houston until the offseason.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 2, 2021
Adding to this: A contingency from the #Dolphins was that Watson needed to resolve his outstanding civil suits, which would have required a global settlement. That never came close to happening. And with the #Texans still refusing to give up draft pick protection, talks stalled. https://t.co/KMn7F1rZaQ— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) November 2, 2021
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson will not be traded to the Dolphins at this time, can be revisited in the offseason, according to league sources— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) November 2, 2021
The #Dolphins are not trading for Deshaun Watson. "They are out," I'm told by a league source. I was also told that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wanted a chance to talk to Deshaun Watson but "(it) was not granted in time. no deal."@AdamSchefter first to report it's over for sure.— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) November 2, 2021
This has been the likely conclusion all along. Texans GM Nick Caserio didn't bend on price. Without legal clarity other teams weren't going to meet his price. And Deshaun Watson has been very reluctant to pursue a settlement.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) November 2, 2021
No huge surprise to anyone this is where we are. https://t.co/iJPndRBVjC
As observers have said here at BRB and elsewhere, this was always the smart move. Waiting until the offseason to trade Deshaun Watson provides the opportunity to (1) know exactly where any 2022 draft picks coming to Houston in a Watson deal will fall, thanks to the conclusion of the 2021 NFL season and the resulting slotting of draft picks according to team record; (2) allow additional suitors in the form of other quarterback-needy teams to enter the negotiations; and (3) gain greater clarity on the status and/or outcome of Watson’s off-the-field legal exposure as well as any possible subsequent suspension from the NFL for his conduct stemming from same.
Granted, the risk of Watson’s criminal and/or civil liability growing or becoming worse between now and the offseason is real, but that has to be a lesser consideration for Nick Caserio right now. Caserio’s overriding goal has to be maximizing the return the Texans receive for their franchise quarterback, and there’s simply a sizably better chance of achieving that goal between the end of the 2021 season and the beginning of the 2022 NFL Draft. Standing pat and not being forced into making a lesser deal due to an artificial deadline is wise.
Presumably, this means Watson will continue to occupy a roster spot for the remainder of the season despite never setting foot on the field, and speculation about his future will swirl unabated. Not ideal, but that’s a far more tolerable discomfort than failing to properly recoup assets for the rarest of NFL commodities—a young, franchise quarterback signed to a long-term contract.