There was a time when a split between Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans was inevitable. The team kinda talked a big one about working things out with their frustrated franchise quarterback, but Watson seemed so resolute in his desire never to play another down for the Texans that surely a trade was gonna happen eventually.
And then the cascade of sexual assault allegations came, and Watson became radioactive in trade. It may eventually be the case that he’s traded in spite of that, though it’s hard to see.
For now, there is an expectation that Watson will be in town when Texans camp opens its doors:
Quarterbacks are reporting today in Houston, and #Texans QB Deshaun Watson is expected to be among them, source said. He’s showing up for testing to begin entry into training camp. However, Watson’s stance about the organization and desire to be traded remains unchanged.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 25, 2021
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reports a source expects Watson to show up to training camp with the rest of Houston’s quarterbacks. HOWEVER, don’t see that as a sign of things being patched up between the two sides. Rapoport adds Watson still wants to be traded. And by showing up to camp, Watson sidesteps $50,000 worth of daily fines he would have been facing for every day he didn’t report.
So, essentially, Watson is participating in a “hold-in” with the Texans where he shows up, but still maintains his desire to play elsewhere. As opposed to a “hold-out” that costs him money by being away from the team.
Even if Watson reports to camp, he is still facing considerable legal trouble off the field. Watson has been accused of sexual misconduct and assault by multiple massage therapists in civil suits. Altogether, there are reportedly 22 lawsuits from women alleging the misconduct. But as NFL.com’s Adam Maya reports, there have been no criminal charges, and Watson wasn’t placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List because the league has not (yet?) come to the conclusion that a major violation occurred. So, as of now, it’s up to the Texans to handle how they want to move forward with a player with civil charges ongoing.
In something that now feels like a lifetime ago, Watson was for a while the primary quarterback reportedly on the Bears’ radar. When the allegations surfaced, a March report out of Houston named teams that were still reportedly interested in trading for Watson, and although the Eagles, Panthers, Dolphins, Broncos, 49ers, and Jets were name-checked, the Bears were noticeably absent. Several of those aforementioned teams have since addressed quarterback needs via the draft and/or trade, and of course the Bears acquired Andy Dalton and drafted Justin Fields.