The Houston Texans are set to keep Deshaun Watson past Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline, league sources told ESPN.
While many in the Texas organization want to turn the page and leave Watson as soon as possible, Houston is set to reopen quarterback-centric business talks during the offseason, according to league sources.
Texans general manager Nick Caserio has been unwavering in his position and determination to take full advantage of Watson and, to date, has been unwilling to trade him for anything less than what he thinks he is. Watson is worth.
Texans owner Cal McNair has privately told people he’d like the organization to trade Watson before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline, but leaves the decision to Caserio.
The Texans and Miami Dolphins have had trade talks at various times, and Miami has been in the driver’s seat with Watson’s desire to play, mostly, for Miami, according to sources.
But the Dolphins also prefer that Watson’s legal issues be resolved before they strike a deal. Watson faces 22 civil suits alleging sexual harassment and improper conduct and 10 criminal complaints, although no charges have been filed and the quarterback has denied the charges.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said last Tuesday that the league did not yet have enough information about the prosecution to make a decision on potential disciplinary action, and that the information it has is not enough to place Watson on the commissioner’s exemption list.
Watson’s uncertain future has impacted the Texans’ business talks with other teams, most notably the Dolphins.
The Dolphins are the only team Watson is known to have waived their no-trade clause, sources say. Watson did not do the same for the Carolina Panthers or any other team, sources told ESPN.
But the Panthers have been linked with Watson since the last offseason, and some have even speculated what a proposed package for the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback would look like.
Panthers head coach Matt Rhule and general manager Scott Fitterer each called Christian McCaffrey on Friday night to tell him that whatever the business rumors, including the running back star, they never discussed or even considered trading him in Houston for Watson.
Talks between the Texans and the Panthers never escalated as Watson did not agree to waive her no-trade clause for Carolina, who was therefore never able to assess potential business scenarios like the wanted the organization. The Panthers, with former owner Jerry Richardson’s story involving harassment, weren’t willing to make a trade until they were completely comfortable with it.
The Dolphins appear to be the only team that could attempt to close a trade before Tuesday’s deadline, but there isn’t much hope for a deal to be done on Sunday morning. There are compensation issues, legal issues and too much uncertainty for those involved in the talks to be confident a deal will come to fruition within the next three days, sources say.
Dolphins head coach Brian Flores has openly said Tua Tagovailoa is Miami’s starting quarterback and, barring injury, should be for the remainder of the season.