Deshaun Watson requested a trade from the Texans in January. Months later, he is facing lawsuits due to sexual misconduct allegations by 22 massage therapists.
While the 25-year-old is a talented quarterback, former Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints general manager Randy Mueller told NJ Advance Media trading for Watson “would be suicidal.”
On paper, adding one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL would help many teams, but according to Mueller, Watson’s legal troubles make a trade difficult.
Depositions for the civil suits will begin this September. Watson will not be deposed until after the NFL season in February 2022, as per an agreement between the two legal teams.
“I don’t know that they’re going to be able to vet it completely,” Mueller said. “I don’t know that the league is going to come clean with their investigation, and I think they’ve purposely put the brakes on it, thinking that it would take its legal course first. There’s just a lot of open-ended questions that I don’t think are [capable of being vetted] at this point.”
NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport reported Monday that the Texans are now listening to trade offers for Watson and are seeking three first round picks. Watson reported to training camp Sunday, but still is adamant about being moved.
“Him coming in is a good business move for him,” Mueller said. “It also starts the clock on some of this happening. This starts the clock on: what is the league and what are the Texans going to do? It would have stayed in limbo had he not come in.”
Mueller — the Sporting News NFL Executive of the Year in 2000 — has seen situations like this before.
He was a senior executive with the Chargers when Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger received a six-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy in 2010. While he was never criminally charged, Roethlisberger was accused of sexual assault by a 20-year-old college student.
After meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Roethlisberger’s suspension was reduced to six games, and he went back to his NFL career. Watson’s case is different, however, considering how many women have come forward.
“This [situation] is a few more cases, and there may or may not be charges,” Mueller said. “I don’t know if [Watson] plays this year at all. I don’t know how he could.”
Watson’s future — not just with the Texans, but in the NFL — is unknown. Nonetheless, once more information about the lawsuits he is facing come to surface, a trade could be more likely.
“Is he going to play or not? That’s what’s going to determine the value,” Mueller said.