There’s little doubt that there will be a Deshaun Watson trade shortly after the NFL officially opens for business on Wednesday, March 16.
Watson, who has a no-trade clause in his contract, will play a big role in deciding where he plays next, and according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, it appears the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints are among the leaders in the race for Watson’s services.
Texans’ QB Deshaun Watson is expected to meet in the next 48 hours with the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, amongst other teams, per league sources. Watson wants to meet with them just as they want to meet with him before trade talks ramp up.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2022
There are other teams in the mix for a Deshaun Watson trade, as Schefter noted, but as is usually the case when it comes to NFL transactions, teams that make the best first impression often land their guy.
Watson missed all of the 2021 NFL season while dealing with the pending off-field legal matters. A grand jury on March 11 declined to indict him following a police investigation into lawsuits filed by 22 women who accused him of harassment and sexual assault.
Watson, whose relationship with the Texans was already deteriorating by the time his legal problems surfaced, has made it clear he will never play for Houston again.
Watson was selected by the Texans in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft and has started a total of 53 games for the Texans. He’s proven capable of playing at an MVP level at times in his career.
Watson is still subject to a potential discipline by the NFL which could include a lengthy suspension. But at this point, the reward appears to outweigh the risk for quarterback-needy teams.
It’ll be interesting to see what the Texans are able to get in return for Watson. On the field, he’s worth no less than multiple first-round picks. But with a potential suspension looming, teams may be hesitant to mortgage the future on him.
We’ll have continuing coverage of the Deshaun Watson trade here on PFD.