Despite being on the team’s list, Watson faces 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault and inappropriate behavior. Watson asked for a deal in January before the lawsuits were filed because he was not happy with the direction the team is headed. It remains to be seen if another team will act for Watson amid the ongoing legal proceedings.
Here’s a look at the Texans’ quarterback situation and where things are in Houston:
Why did Watson report to the training camp?
It’s pretty simple: he didn’t want to be fined $ 50,000 for every day he didn’t get in touch. The new CBA, which went into effect in 2020, says fines can no longer be awarded for holdouts.
The Texans decided to cancel their mandatory mini camp in June. Watson would have been fined $ 95,877 if the Texans held a mini camp and he hadn’t shown up.
Two sources, who were at the facility on Sunday when Watson reported, said it was clear the quarterback’s stance on trading had not changed and that it had come forward to prevent it from being fined.
General manager Nick Caserio and trainer David Culley realized in January that they had no intention of trading Watson. But as the lawsuits were filed in March and April and Watson’s legal position emerged, it became increasingly clear that the quarterback would eventually be traded.
It remains to be seen whether this is this week, before the November 2nd trading deadline, or after the season when the slots for draft picks have been set. However, don’t expect Caserio to trade Watson just to be struck off the list when the return value isn’t there. The Texans’ price for trading with Watson was a combination of five high draft picks and starting players, two league executives told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
Where are the complaints now?
After much public sparring between attorneys Rusty Hardin (Watson’s attorney) and Tony Buzbee (attorney for the 22 plaintiffs), it was quiet as the sides progress through the discovery phase.
According to the case file, testimony is slated to begin in September if those lawsuits continue. Plaintiffs would be deposed before Watson, who, according to the court plan, cannot be deposed until February 22, 2022.
Without a settlement, the lawsuits would not be settled until after the 2021 NFL season.
What about criminal charges?
Ten women filed complaints with the Houston Police Department Hardin said of Watson to ESPN’s John Barr on Monday. Hardin said eight of the women were among the 22 women who filed civil suits against Watson; two of the women have not filed a civil lawsuit against the Texas quarterback.
Houston police refused to comment on the investigation or the number of women who filed complaints.
What’s next for Watson?
The team will enter the field for the first time at the training camp on Wednesday. Watson is not expected, according to two league sources. Before training for the Texans begins, here are a few options for the team and Watson:
The Texans trade with Watson: The Texans have already held preliminary talks with other teams, but, according to sources, believe they have not received a serious offer.
Although the talks haven’t reached a significant level by Monday morning, sources say the Texans are ready to swap Watson before the start of the season if they find the right game.
Commissioner Roger Goodell puts Watson on the exception list: If Goodell put Watson on the exemption list, it would prevent Watson from playing but would allow him to be paid. According to the CBA, Goodell could put Watson on the list in three circumstances:
“First, when a player is formally charged with: (1) a criminal offense, or (2) a violent crime, which means that he or she is accused of harming or threatening a person or animal with physical violence or a weapon, or one sexual assault with violence or against a person incapable of consenting, or any other conduct that presents a real threat to the safety or well-being of another person will be charged by a grand jury, prosecuted by a prosecutor, or brought before a criminal court. “
Watson was not charged with anything that would fall under these circumstances. It also includes: “An investigation leads the commissioner to believe that a player may have violated this policy by engaging in any of the above conduct. He may act when the circumstances and evidence warrant it.”
“… Third, in cases where a violation is alleged to be related to a violent crime but further investigation is required, the Commissioner may put a player on the Commissioner’s Exception List on a limited and temporary basis to allow the League to Preliminary examination. “
The Texans excuse him from training or let him practice indoors: Houston might decide they don’t want the distraction of Watson in the facility and either keep him inside (keep away from the media and fans) or excuse him for being all together.
Watson is suspended: This seems unlikely given the state of the complaints and the short time until training starts on Wednesday.
Watson stops showing up: Again unlikely after Watson reported on Sunday because he did not want to be punished.
If the Texans swap Watson or he is unavailable, what does Houston plan to do as quarterback?
Taylor is expected to start the season for Houston, save for a Watson trade that brings a quarterback to Houston. The biggest question is how long will he compete for the Texans? In 2022, Houston has to make a decision about its future quarterback, and to do that it has to see what it’s got in Mills. If Houston has any problems at all at the start of the season, expect Mills to get game time.
Where could the Texans trade Watson?
The Eagles are an interesting potential trading partner as they have several first and second round picks in 2022.
According to a report by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Denver is a team that intrigues Watson as a potential target, but while the Broncos were non-committal on nothing but preparation Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater they watch the quarterback landscape for the season. Watson is eager to join the Broncos, former teammate (and current Bronco) Kareem Jackson said in June.
From Carolina’s perspective, Watson, who played at Clemson nearby, could be a safer deal than recently acquired Sam Darnold, although the Panthers have already drawn Darnold’s option in 2022 for a guaranteed $ 18.8 million.
Meanwhile Miami could be Watson’s preferred target, sources told ESPN in January. The Dolphins also have three first-round picks in the next two drafts. Watson has a no-trade clause in his contract so he could veto a deal the Texans are willing to make.