Ask me a few days ago if I would care much at all about Deshaun Watson’s court proceedings scheduled to be held later today, and I would have told you ‘no’. While not much has changed since then, however, there is the possibility that it could.
Is there a chance, even if somewhat slim, that Watson is the next franchise quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers? I think yes, even if I wouldn’t bet money on it, nor would I personally encourage the team to do that. But no matter what comes, today will be an important day for him.
Watson is due in court to testify regarding civil lawsuits filed against him by 22 different female massage therapists who have accused him of engaging in misconduct through their services. He is expected to plead the fifth. Today, he is also expected to find out whether or not criminal charges will be filed against him, and if he escapes that, from the sounds of it, he will be on the move shortly.
Because his current team, the Houston Texans, are “very motivated” to get Watson’s situation resolved, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk told Clint Stoerner & The Show. The start of the new league year is around the corner, at which time his $35 million 2022 base salary officially comes on the books. And they can’t afford to have that money tied up when they have so many needs. And the fact that they want this resolved calls into question what price they can get for him.
“What the Texans need to do is develop a market with multiple teams”, Florio said, “in order to get a significant return for Deshaun Watson…I think the Seahawks would’ve just kept Russell Wilson if they didn’t get the package that they got. We know the Texans are very motivated to trade Deshaun Watson, so they need to get the Panthers and the Eagles to the table, and whoever else they can get to the table, as well”.
But Florio didn’t sound overly confident that there will be many realistic suitors, of teams who have both the desire and the capability of trading for him. How many suitors they might have will depend a lot on what happens today, as there are reports that a number of teams would be willing to follow through on a trade as long as criminal charges are not brought, even if civil cases remain.
“I sense a degree of optimism from Watson’s camp, not just that they’re gonna have a decision tomorrow from the grand jury, but the decision is gonna be, at a minimum, no felony charges, possibly no charges at all”, he told his hosts.
If Watson clears up his legal issues, or at least takes a major step toward that, Florio anticipates that a trade will quickly materialize, with somebody, and would be made official at the start of the new league year. That’s clearly what the Texans want, as he said, because Watson is never going to play for them again.