Sean Pendergast

Five Teams Hoping Nick Caserio Waits Until 2022 To Trade Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson might someday be scoring touchdowns FOR the Panthers instead of against them, as pictured above.
Deshaun Watson might someday be scoring touchdowns FOR the Panthers instead of against them, as pictured above. Photo by Eric Sauseda
There is really no precedent for, and nothing normal about, the Houston Texans' current relationship with their star quarterback, Deshaun Watson. At least for the time being, he is still their star quarterback. The presence of 22 plaintiffs suing Watson, along with his longstanding request for a trade, will make Watson's presence at training camp practice, the first of which is today, incredibly awkward.

If you're wondering whether or not the feeling is mutual between Watson and the team, just go ahead and watch the 22-minute season preview video below. Not only is there no mention of Watson, but if you fast forward to the 10:30 mark, the narrator actually says "When the Texans need a big play, they look no further than wide receiver Brandin Cooks." She says this as Deshaun Watson is literally on the screen throwing the football. The only thing missing is the production team using the digital scramble feature on Watson's image.

Deshaun Watson will not be a Texan long term. He will eventually get traded. As to when that happens, all we know is that general manager Nick Caserio is fielding offers on a daily basis. However, with Watson's aforementioned legal troubles, and no clarity on his punishment from the league or the law, teams are presumably offering discounted packages of assets for the Pro Bowl quarterback.

Caserio will be patient. He won't flinch and take a bad deal just to move on from Watson. Chances are the best offers will come early in 2022, when Watson's future is far less murky. Right now, there are some teams who are already committed to their quarterbacks for this season, but could feasibly be in the market for Watson come January, once the 2021 season is over.

Here are five such teams, teams that are simultaneously preparing for this season while hoping Caserio sits tight on moving Watson for several more months:

The Steelers roll into 2021 with 40-year-old Ben Roethlisberger under center, entering his 18th season in the league. Last year, Big Ben led the Steelers to a 12-4 record and a division title. That's the good news. The bad news is the Steelers went 1-4 down the stretch, and were knocked out in the wild card round of the playoffs by the Browns. Also, the offense was the issue with this team, not the defense. Watson with a cold weather, blue blood franchise like Pittsburgh would be about as opposite from Houston as he could get.

Ever since Jon Gruden took over the Raiders (for the second time) a few years ago, we've been waiting for him to jettison the decidedly slightly-above-average Derek Carr. After this season, Carr has one year, and no guaranteed money or dead cap money, left on his deal. Las Vegas might be the one place on earth that actually finds a massage parlor to ENDORSE Deshaun Watson, and not ban him.

The Giants are the dark horse candidate that I am rooting for to end up with Watson. They are heading into Year 3 with Daniel Jones, and it's not out of the realm of possibility that Jones is this year's Sam Darnold, a highly drafted quarterback that a New York team punts on after three years. The Giants have their own first round pick, as well as Chicago's (acquired in the Justin Fields trade) to dangle in front of the Texans.

While the Giants may have this year's version of Sam Darnold as their quarterback, the Panthers traded for the ACTUAL Sam Darnold. They are saying all the right things in Carolina, and rolling with Darnold for this season, but if he falters (again), we know Panthers owner Dave Tepper would kill to bring Watson back to the area where he was a collegiate hero.

Given the fact that Washington just paid million of dollars in fines for having a toxic, misogynistic workplace, they might not want the backlash of bringing in someone like Watson, who has all these allegations on the figurative back of his "life football card." But with Ryan Fitzpatrick signed on for this season, Washington will be in the quarterback market again in 2022.

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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