Quarterback Deshaun Watson reported for training camp, but the Texans don’t seem to be training him to play for them in 2021.
“Nothing has changed,” coach David Culley said Monday when asked whether Watson will practice in pads with his teammates. “Nothing has changed.”
Watson has been relegated to the fourth string for Houston as the Texans wait. What they’re waiting for isn’t quite clear. Presumably, they want someone to make them a trade offer. Even if it isn’t an offer they can’t refuse, at some point there could be an offer they won’t refuse. Currently, however, there seems to be no other team making or preparing to make an aggressive push for Watson’s contract.
The Texans also may be waiting for clarity from the league as to whether Watson eventually will be allowed to play this year. The NFL hasn’t sent him home with pay yet, and the NFL isn’t likely to make any blanket statements ensuring that Watson won’t be placed on paid leave. It take only one new development to tip the scales toward paid leave, whether it’s an indictment by prosecutors in Houston, another lawsuit, another criminal complaint, or another person who has yet to sue Watson going on the record to share details that corroborate allegations made by others, like Nia Lewis did last week.
Any team that would trade for Watson would inherit the possibility that the league eventually will decide that it can’t have Watson tarnishing Big Shield by showing up on TV screens and having his case discussed by broadcast partners and/or his presence debated in real time on social media. As suggested last week, the most fair trade would entail a conditional pick in 2022 based on how much he plays in 2021 and a conditional pick in 2023 based on how much he plays in 2022, and maybe even a 2024 pick based on how much he plays in 2023.