The Texans report for training camp on July 29. It’s still not known whether quarterback Deshaun Watson will be present.
His status hinges on two key factors. First, if the 22 civil lawsuits pending against him settle by then, Watson could then be traded. Second, if the cases don’t settle, the question becomes whether the league will place him on paid leave.
It’s unknown whether any settlement talks are happening. The lawyers, who at times have been very vocal, have once again fallen silent.
Although Watson by all accounts has no desire to play for the Texans, he definitely will report if he thinks he’ll land on paid leave for the 2021 season. That move ensures he’ll receive his $10 million salary this year, without having to suit up. If he’s not going to be placed on paid leave, he’ll then have to decide whether to show up or to continue to jostle for a trade.
A team like the Broncos, Dolphins, or Eagles would likely be more inclined to trade for Watson now if it’s known that he won’t be placed on paid leave pending the resolution of the cases. While his status would present a P.R. problem for his new team, the fact that he’s one of the best quarterbacks in all of football surely will cause some team to accept that short-term complication.
However it plays out, the league needs to let Watson and the Texans know whether he’ll be placed on paid leave. It’s unfair to force Watson to play a guessing game.