Report: NFL Teams Still Have Interest in Trading for Deshaun Watson as Lawsuits Pile Up

Attorney Tony Buzbee has filed 10 lawsuits against Watson alleging sexual misconduct since last week

Deshaun Watson
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson reacts after a play.
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty

Since last week, attorney Tony Buzbee has filed 10 civil lawsuits against Deshaun Watson accusing the Houston Texans quarterback of inappropriate conduct and sexual assault.

Despite the allegations against the 25-year-old continuing to pile up, multiple NFL teams including the Eagles, Panthers, Jets, Dolphins, 49ers and Broncos remain interested in trading for Watson, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

“What Deshaun Watson has been accused of obviously doesn’t match up at all with what we’ve heard and know about him as a really great person, but you can’t ignore these serious allegations,” an NFL executive told Wilson. “What that means is making sure you’re doing your homework and making sure you have all the facts before you get heavily involved in trade negotiations. There’s the NFL investigation, the court stuff and you have to let it all play out and make an informed decision. Yes, we’re still very interested in Deshaun Watson. What he has done on the field checks every box for quarterback play.”

Signed to a four-year, $156 million contract extension last September that includes $111 million guaranteed, Watson had been seeking a trade out of Houston before the allegations against him were made public by Buzbee last week. As his contract contains a no-trade clause, Watson can approve or veto any potential trade.

Drafted in the first round in 2017 out of Clemson, Watson would have been able to bring back a haul of draft picks and players via trade prior to the accusations and likely would still command a substantial package of assets should the Texans succeed in finding a trade partner. But, Watson’s no-trade clause would give him final say about any deal, effectively giving him some degree of control over what Houston can get in exchange for him.

It’s a complex situation which is complicated even further by Buzbee’s lawsuits and the NFL’s ongoing investigation into Watson’s off-field activities. Last week, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said “the matter is under review” under the league’s personal conduct policy.

For his part, Watson has maintained his innocence and called the claims against him “baseless.”

His agent, David Mulugheta, weighed in on the situation on Friday morning via Twitter. “Sexual assault is real,” Mulugheta wrote. “Victims should be heard, offenders prosecuted. Individuals fabricate stories in pursuit of financial gain often. Their victims should be heard, and those offenders also prosecuted. I simply hope we keep this same energy with the truth.”

Buzbee said he will submit affidavits and evidence from several women to the Houston Police Department and the Houston district attorney on Monday. Depending on what that evidence turns out to be, the interest in trading for Watson could decrease or vanish completely.

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