Eight NFL teams reportedly expressed interest in Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson earlier this offseason.
Among them: the QB-needy New England Patriots.
Before 22 women filed civil lawsuits against Watson, accusing him of sexual misconduct during massage sessions, the Patriots were among the teams to inquire about the star QB’s availability, according to a report Tuesday from the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain.
Houston also received calls from the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears and Washington Football Team, per McClain’s report.
The Texans reportedly had planned to trade Watson — who asked out of Houston months ago — before the 2021 NFL Draft, which begins Thursday night. A trade now is unlikely until Watson’s legal situation reaches a conclusion.
“With eight teams showing interest in Watson, the Texans were expected to grant his trade demand sometime before Thursday night’s first round of the three-day draft,” McClain wrote. ” … The Texans’ plan was to get the most serious teams into a bidding war before general manager Nick Caserio — with (team owner) Cal McNair’s approval — accepted the best offer that, ideally, would have included at least three first-round picks, two second-round picks and a defensive starter.”
It’s unclear whether the Patriots would have paid such a steep price to acquire the 25-year-old signal-caller, who ranked first in passing yards, second in passer rating and third in completion percentage last season. Watson also would have needed to agree to waive his no-trade clause to join New England, and Caserio would’ve had to be willing to accept the poor optics of immediately trading a franchise QB to his old team.
The Patriots currently have Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham and Jake Dolegala under contract and could add another quarterback in this week’s draft.