Deshaun Watson rumors: Buccaneers, Seahawks, Panthers potential suitors

Deshaun Watson in his final season with the Texans
Deshaun Watson
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is expected to find out whether or not he’ll be indicted for felony sexual assault on Friday following two legal proceedings.

Watsons’ first deposition in the sexual misconduct civil lawsuits brought against him by 22 women in march 2021 will be brought against him. He and his legal team will likely plead the Fifth in testimony. Meanwhile, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office will begin presenting evidence to a Houston grand jury in their criminal investigation. Several women who filed criminal complaints against him are expected to testify.

Despite the uncertainty of his future, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Wednesday that the trade market for Watson — who wants out of Houston due to front-office failures to keep a contending team around him — is still “robust,” with teams such as the Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Seattle Seahawks potentially showing interest.

From strictly a football standpoint, the 26-year-old is one of the top playmaking passers in the entire league. He led the NFL with 4,823 passing yards in the 2020 season despite playing for a non-contending Texans team that went 4-12 while posting a career-best 70.2% completion rating. Combining his trade requests and legal issues, the Texans — who went 4-13 this season — opted to bench Watson for the entire 2021 campaign while going with a combination of Tyrod Taylor and Davis Mills under center.

It feels as though it’s only a matter of time until Watson is traded as long as he is still able to take the field. Necessity is likely only going to drive up the return the Texans are poised to get for him, too.

Russell Wilson trade Broncos Seahawks
Russell WilsonMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers’ experiment in sparking Sam Darnold’s career went awry in 2021. They took a flyer on the No. 3 overall pick from the 2018 draft, acquiring him from the New York Jets — who took Zach Wilson with the No. 2 overall pick last year — for a 2021 sixth-round pick, a 2022 second-round pick, and a 2022 fourth-round pick.

Their NFC South rival, the Buccaneers, suddenly find themselves in the throes of a quarterback search after Tom Brady announced his retirement at 44 years old following two seasons and one Super Bowl title with them.

Out west, the Seahawks made a major splash on Tuesday by dealing franchise quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos, thus throwing them into the quarterback market after 10 years of stability with Wilson at the helm.