Could there be an actual trade market for Deshaun Watson after all?

Updated: Aug 28, 2021

The Deshaun Watson story continues to be one of the most fascinating - and at the same time, sort of perplexing - stories in sports.


Watson is in Texans camp, we know that. But he isn't practicing with the first team and still wants a trade away from the organization. This, despite the fact that it seems as though there is no real trade market for him until his legal issues get resolved.


But he still refuses to play, and the team refuses to send him home. And since it doesn't appear that the league will put him on the commissioner's exempt list, it seems like we're going to stay on this hamster wheel for a while: He isn't going to play or practice, but he will be there. Leading teammates and coaches to have answer questions for him.


What a world.


But over the weekend, we might have gotten clarity, as it appears as though - despite his legal issues - there is a trade market starting to emerge for him.


According to Yahoo's Charles Robinson, the Dolphins appear to be the front-runner in a potential Watson trade, with the Eagles, Broncos and Panthers also showing interest.

Here's the catch though: As Robinson explains, anyone who trades for Watson wants pick protection, to protect themselves in case Watson is found guilty of breaking the law and not allowed to return to the NFL anytime soon, if at all.

To be blunt, this sets up a fascinating game of cat-and-mouse between the Texans and teams that are potentially interested in trading for him.


For the teams trading for him, you obviously want to try and get him while his stock is down and where - despite what the Texans appear to be asking for - the price might be lower than it would be without the legal issues. At the same time, you have to protect yourself to make sure that if you trade a bounty for Watson, you don't end up with nothing.


On the flip side, you have things from the Texans angle.


Watson obviously wants out, and on the one hand, you might want to try and move him before the legal matters get settled. Because if you don't, and he has to go to jail - or is otherwise out of football - you won't get anything. But if you believe there is a chance he will be found innocent and will play again, then you don't want to give him away for nothing either.


Then there is of course the simple PR matter from the other team's perspective of simply trading for a guy accused of what Watson is accused of. It could be a while before he plays - if at all - and you're going to receive a lot of backlash, simply for bringing him into your city and organization.


Obviously there are some major, major legal issues that need to be solved.


But if they do get resolved, the whole "where will Deshaun Watson play next" story remains fascinating.


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