For what it's worth, Watson was far more sociable in this practice than he had been in previous sessions he'd attended. Whereas he spent the first handful of practices physically detached from teammates (often perching himself a good 20 yards away from the nearest teammate), on Monday, Watson was seen chatting it up with GM Nick Caserio, head coach David Culley, and several teammates throughout the practice.
Hell, there may have even been a smile or two! This, naturally, led to speculation about a reconciliation between Watson and the Texans, despite the quarterback's sparse participation in actual drills. Here was a tweet from Charles Robinson of Yahoo!:
Deshaun Watson is at Texans practice for the first time in over a week. Here he is talking to GM Nick Caserio. pic.twitter.com/WV1SBg8E7I— Aaron Reiss (@aaronjreiss) August 9, 2021
Wow! That's kind of exciting, right? Sure! Of course, in swooped John McClain of the Houston Chronicle to douse cold water on the notion of the two sides kissing and making up:
On Deshaun Watson: #Texans have not given up on him being their QB this year. They’re not taking lowball offers. This is why they aren’t being overly communicative with teams. Barring a strong offer, Texans brass will to try to get him back into the fold before the season begins.— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) August 9, 2021
Well, those would seem to be two somewhat conflicting reports now, right? So what exactly are the scenarios for Deshaun Watson, as we are a little under five weeks away from the start of the regular season? Where will he be in Week 1?
Watson will never play another down for the Texans.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) August 9, 2021
Below, I have a handful of scenarios, in order of likelihood, an order based purely on my own opinion. These predictions are under the assumption there is no settlement of the 22 civil lawsuits brought against Watson before the start of the NFL regular season:
1. Roger Goodell does SOMETHING with Watson before Week 1
Up to this point, despite wide ranging power to do pretty much whatever the hell he pleases when it comes to discipline, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has done nothing with Deshaun Watson. Many believed that, at the very least, Watson would have been placed on the Commissioner's Exempt List (sort of a "paid purgatory" while a player is being investigated) by now, but obviously Goodell's investigation hasn't yielded enough to do so. I'm going to guess that five more weeks of digging will yield enough to at least place Watson on that list, if not get some sort of suspension handed down.
2. Watson goes on injured reserve with some (likely fabricated) injury
If the league hasn't enacted any movement against Watson, then he will likely still be an employee of the Texans. If the first two weeks of training camp are any indicator, the team has no designs on playing him in anything involving full contact. Under a scenario where he doesn't see the field, coming up with some sort of injury and placing him on injured reserve makes the most sense for both sides, as Watson wouldn't be occupying a roster spot on the 53-man roster, if he were "hurt."
3. Watson is on the Texans' 53-man roster, but is inactive on game days
If they don't feel like fabricating an injury, then the Texans would just keep Watson on the roster, and likely make him a healthy scratch on game days, which would feel like one of the weirdest weekly rituals in NFL history.
There is still chance that, even without resolution of his legal situation, Watson could be traded. However, the asking price from Nick Caserio and the offers he is currently getting are reportedly way far apart right now. It's important Caserio get maximum value for Watson, if he does indeed trade him, as the haul of draft picks can help accelerate the team's rebuild.
5. Watson is on the Texans' 53-man roster, and suits up on game days
I see this as very unlikely, just based on the behavior of both sides to this point in camp, but logically, if Watson is being paid a salary by the Texans, and is not suspended nor injured, shouldn't he actually play football?
WILD CARD. Watson is arrested and charged by HPD
I don't even know where to rank this scenario because we have zero access to anything the police have unearthed in their investigations into Watson. We know that ten women have filed complaints, including eight of Tony Buzbee's clients who are all suing Watson in civil court, as well. Movement from HPD could come tomorrow or it could come months from now, so since we don't have a timeline, I'll just leave it off to the side as potentially explosive "wild card" scenario. If Watson were to go to jail, it would all but torpedo any chance he plays football again, for the Texans or anybody else.
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