Following Tuesday’s roster cut-down, the Texans released their official 2021 depth chart, providing some clarity for those still wondering how the team will employ Deshaun Watson, who remains under investigation while being sued for alleged sexual misconduct toward 22 masseuses. League insider Aaron Wilson suggested earlier this week that Watson, who has scarcely practiced this summer, will not be in uniform for the Texans this year, spending the season as a healthy scratch—assuming he’s not suspended or placed on the commissioner’s exempt list.
Houston’s depth chart would seem to confirm Wilson’s suspicion with Watson labeled “other” behind starter Tyrod Taylor and third-string quarterback Davis Mills. The Texans curiously declined to name a backup for Taylor, leaving the second-team quarterback slot vacant. That would indicate the Texans are looking to add another quarterback before Week 1, with former NFL MVP Cam Newton—released by New England Tuesday after losing his training-camp battle with Mac Jones—potentially a candidate for that role.
While trade rumors continue to swirl (Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk on NBC Sports says Dolphins owner Stephen Ross covets Watson), the odds of another team taking on that kind of baggage, particularly in a post “Me Too” world, is unlikely, especially when the reported asking price is three first-round picks along with two second-rounders.
It seems the NFL won’t levy any kind of discipline against Watson until they meet with him in person, which isn’t likely anytime soon as that would interfere with his current criminal investigation. In the meantime, Watson, who had asked to be traded before his allegations went public in March, will continue to earn his full $10.54-million salary, a hefty sum for a player the Texans have no intention of using.