Sean Pendergast

Deshaun Watson Trade Talks Stall, QB Remains In Houston Until 2022

Nick Caserio held strong on not moving Deshaun Watson for a discount.
Nick Caserio held strong on not moving Deshaun Watson for a discount. Photo by Jack Gorman
The NFL trade deadline came and went Tuesday afternoon, and while there was a surging buzz surrounding Deshaun Watson and a possible trade to Miami a couple weeks ago, the momentum seemed to be dwindling over the last few days, and ultimately, any momentum for a deal died around 1:18 p.m. Houston time on Tuesday, when's Adam Schefter tweeted the following:
So now we wait until spring of 2022 for a Deshaun Watson trade, assuming his legal situation allows for it. As of right now, it appears his plan remains to fight the 22 civil lawsuits, which means he will not be deposed until February 2022, at the earliest. A trial would not take place until the summer months of 2022, in all likelihood.

Make no mistake, while I think what happened on Tuesday is better for the Texans than hastily trading him to a captive audience of one team at the trade deadline, there are still MANY more hurdles to overcome before Watson can be moved. So let's unpack all of this....

This appears to send the message as to who is in charge at NRG Stadium
First of all, the fact that there was so much buzz surrounding a possible deal, with John McClain of the Houston Chronicle and Mark Berman of FOX 26 leading the charge, it would appear that the Texans may have been the ones generating said buzz, and feeding the media. There were reports at the eleventh hour ahead of the trade deadline that Texans ownership wanted to move on from Watson badly, but it would be Nick Caserio's call as to how to handle things. Well, the Texans didn't cave on agreeing to contingencies with the picks they'd receive in a Watson trade. They didn't agree to any discounts. They decided to hold to their price, and if the Dolphins didn't like it, so be it. This tells me, for the first time, that we have real proof that this is Nick Caserio's show.

As far as the deal crashing and burning, Deshaun Watson had control of this
John McClain said on our Texans pregame show this past Sunday that it was pretty simple — if Watson wanted to move on and become a Miami Dolphin, he could do so by settling the 22 civil lawsuits. Watson chose not to do that. Reportedly, this was a must for Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to move forward with a deal. Ross didn't get much of an opportunity to express this to Watson directly, as reported by the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:

So what do we root for now?
As there have always been in this Watson saga, there are two things at work here — the legal side and the football side. At this point, if you're a Texans fan, you should be rooting hardcore that Watson's legal situation gets resolved. You should hope he settles the 22 civil lawsuits, that HPD absolves him of any wrongdoing, and that the NFL issues a punishment that is clear and not damaging to his trade value. (NOTE: To be clear, above all else, you should root for a fair outcome for all involved, Watson and the accusers, but for football reasons, the aforementioned outcome would be ideal.) If Watson heads into the offseason with clarity on everything listed above, he becomes the hottest commodity on the trade market in NFL history, which brings me to "what to root for" on the football side. As of right now, Miami is the only team for whom Watson has waived his no-trade clause. This must change. The Texans need to be in a position to create a REAL market for Watson, where supply and demand can take hold, and multiple suitors are involved. To that end, I would say root for Miami to begin winning a bunch of games the rest of the season so they pump the brakes on trading for Watson. This would force Watson to allow other suitors into the mix. What teams might comprise a new list of trade partners is something that will be speculated for the rest of the season.

Hey, the Texans DID deal Charles Omenihu, everybody!
Well, the Texans DID make one trade on Tuesday afternoon, shipping disgruntled defensive end Charles Omenihu to the San Francisco 49ers for a 2023 6th round pick.
Omenihu was one of the team's better pass rushers, but had fallen out of favor with current leadership, as seen in his being rendered a healthy inactive for a couple games in October. Now, Omenihu gets a new lease on life on a much better defense, away from the team that drafted him in the 5th round back in 2019. If you're keeping score at home, that brings the number down to three players remaining from the 2019 draft class — guard Tytus Howard, guard Max Scharping, and safety Lonnie Johnson, all of whom are struggling mightily in 2021. Things are going to get worse before they get better, Texan fans.

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast