Deshaun Watson’s time with the Texans may soon come to an end.
Houston is apparently “getting closer” to a deal that could send their embattled franchise quarterback to the Dolphins, per a report from John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. McClain notes: “A deal could go down this week, according to people familiar with the negotiations.”
The NFL trade deadline isn’t until Nov. 2, but the Texans have long been trying to move on from Watson. Now, it looks like it may happen.
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Watson originally demanded a trade in late January after the Texans’ decision to hire GM Nick Caserio and coach David Culley. There were a handful of teams interested in his services, and the Dolphins were viewed as one of the favorites to land him.
Houston originally refused to budge on a trade. Then, Watson was accused of sexual assault in more than 20 civil lawsuits, and the Texans became more willing to move on from him in the midst of these allegations and their own rebuild. However, because of the accusations levied against Watson, Houston’s asking price became unpalatable. They were reportedly asking for at least three first-round picks and suitors viewed that as too much for a player that could be facing an NFL suspension — or worse.
Will Miami pay that price to acquire Watson? The Dolphins have started the season 1-5 and while Tua Tagovailoa has looked good at times, he missed three games due to a rib injury. Watson would be a clear, proven upgrade over Tagovailoa on the field — if he is able to play.
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Can Deshaun Watson play if the Dolphins trade for him?
Watson should be able to play if he gets traded. He’s technically eligible to play for the Texans right now. The team is choosing not to play him because of both his legal situation and tensions between Watson and the team’s leadership stemming from his trade request.
The QB has practiced with the Texans to avoid daily fines of $50K, per McClain. However, he has yet to be active for a game despite being on the 53-man roster and eligible to play.
The NFL has not started its investigation into Watson’s conduct. They haven’t even reached out to him about the matter because the criminal investigation into Watson is ongoing.
“The NFL regularly tries to not reach out to the defendant and his lawyers and seek evidence from them until the criminal investigation is over,” Watson’s lawyer Rusty Hardin said in late August, per Yahoo Sports. “Historically, they want to make sure they don’t interfere with the criminal investigation. When the criminal investigation is over, then they will do their own separate finishing up. … I have had no contact with the NFL, except to call initially and say, ‘Whenever the time is appropriate, we will fully cooperate. You let us know.’ And that’s going to be the case.”
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As such, the NFL doesn’t seem likely to suspend Watson until after both the criminal investigation and their own inquiry wrap up. That will take some time, so Watson will likely continue to be eligible to play should he join the Dolphins.