The Houston Texans are running out of time to trade embattled quarterback Deshaun Watson this season. The NFL's Nov. 2 deadline is fast approaching, and at the moment, only the slumping Miami Dolphins are rumored to be a legitimate suitor.
Will both teams finalize a blockbuster deal in the coming days? Difficult to say. Watson's legal issues complicate negotiations. But according to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, if Watson is dealt before the deadline, his new team may get the chance to play him immediately.
"He is eligible to play football," Rapoport told The DA Show on Wednesday. "There's all sorts of things that can happen. He could be suspended. His civil and criminal situation could be wrapped up, and he could meet with the NFL and get suspended. But he's eligible to play, he's in good shape. All he's been doing is playing football, practicing. If he got traded this week, then he can play next week for his new team. There's nothing stopping him... He can play."
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters on Tuesday that the league isn't ready to put Watson on the exempt list, as they've yet to access all of the information linked to his legal investigation. Watson, who's facing 22 lawsuits alleging acts of sexual assault and misconduct plus 10 criminal complaints, hasn't played a single snap this season, and remains under investigation by Houston police and the NFL.
On Wednesday morning, Rapoport reported that the Carolina Panthers aren't expected to pursue the three-time Pro Bowler, and Watson has only waived his no-trade clause for Miami. According to the Houston Chronicle, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has approved a trade for Watson, but wants "his legal issues resolved." Suffice to say, it's highly unlikely that Watson's legal woes will be settled within the next few days.
Texans general manager Nick Caserio has reportedly asked for three first-round picks plus two second-rounders in exchange for Watson, whose four-year, $156 million contract extension doesn't kick in until 2022.
The entire NFL conversation between Rapoport and DA can be accessed in the audio player above.