For the first time this offseason, Deshaun Watson is doing the Houston Texans a favor, even if he doesn’t mean to. His motives on this, I’m sure, have nothing to do with what’s in the best interest of the team and are purely selfish, but still — in demanding a trade, Watson reportedly won’t show up to OTAs, which oddly works in the Texans’ favor.
Watson wanting to be traded from the Texans feels like an eternity ago, given everything that has happened surrounding him this offseason. It came out last week that the plaintiffs in the lawsuits facing Watson will be providing their depositions in September, and that Watson will be doing so next February. Civil lawsuits settle more often than not, but if this doesn’t end in a settlement we may not have any resolution to these legal issues until, at least, after this coming football season.
So, then, what happens while we wait? For Watson, the NFL can (and absolutely should) place him on the Commissioner’s Exempt List. Considering there are currently 22 accusations against him, some of which were from out of state, raises the profile of the allegations to a point where the league cannot idly stand by. Watson could potentially be facing trafficking charges on top of everything else.
According to CBS Sports legal correspondent Amy Dash: “In this context where you have a domestic situation where there is a worker who is being paid for something, and they believe that they’re going to go into the situation to be paid for the professional act that they want to conduct, and instead they are allegedly forced or coerced into performing a sexual act, and then being paid for that act instead of the act that they thought they were going to perform — well, that’s basically forced prostitution and that would fall under the category of ‘human trafficking.’”
The Commissioner’s Exempt List would place Watson on paid administrative leave, keeping him off the field and away from the game while the legal process continues to play out. We need a stance of at least this strength. A simple “we take matters like this very seriously and will wait until we learn more” isn’t enough.
While all the legal drama continues to play out, Watson deciding not to show up to OTAs will allow the team to continue to analyze their quarterback position without the cloud getting in the way. It’s a perfect opportunity for the team to give first team reps to the numerous other quarterbacks on the roster. They continue to shuffle the position — the Texans released quarterback Ryan Finley today — but still have Tyrod Taylor, third-round pick Davis Mills (whom I like a lot), and Jeff Driskel on the depth chart. With no Watson in attendance, they can get a better look at all three of these guys, as none were on the team last year.