AP Foto/Eric Christian Smith, Archivo
There is reportedly a “strong sense” within the NFL that the Houston Texans intend to move on from quarterback Deshaun Watson.
During an appearance on SportsCenter on Sunday, ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler said a source close to Watson believes a trade will happen “sooner or later” provided his legal situation gets resolved. Watson is facing 22 civil lawsuits that allege sexual misconduct while receiving massages.
Fowler added that the Texans have been linked to Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard, who is unhappy with his contract. That could make a Watson-for-Howard trade a possibility, although Fowler noted the Dolphins have given no indication they plan to pursue Watson.
Watson’s status for the 2021 season is uncertain for multiple reasons, including the possibility of him getting suspended by the NFL. Also, before the lawsuits were filed, it was reported that Watson was unhappy in Houston and had requested a trade.
The 25-year-old Watson has been among the NFL’s best quarterbacks since entering the league in 2017. He is a three-time Pro Bowler with a career regular-season record of 28-25 and two playoff appearances.
In 54 career regular-season games, Watson has completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 14,539 yards, 104 touchdowns and 36 interceptions while also rushing for 1,677 yards and 17 scores.
Last season, the Texans struggled to a 4-12 mark, but Watson put up big numbers, completing 70.2 percent of his attempts for a league-leading 4,823 yards. He also threw for 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions while rushing for 444 yards and three touchdowns.
The Dolphins have 2020 first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa under center, though Watson would represent an obvious upgrade.
The 28-year-old Howard, meanwhile, is preparing to enter his sixth season and is holding out for a better contract. He signed a five-year, $76.5 million extension in 2019.
Howard is coming off his best season, as he led the NFL with 10 interceptions and 20 passes defended in 2021, earning him his second career Pro Bowl nod and first selection to the All-Pro First Team.
Howard has led the NFL in interceptions twice in the past three seasons, and he has 22 picks to his credit in 56 career regular-season games.
The addition of Howard would give the Texans a dynamic cornerback tandem with Bradley Roby already on the roster, although it remains unclear if the Dolphins have any intention of parting ways with Howard.
As for Watson, the Texans are seemingly preparing to be without him in 2021, leaving Tyrod Taylor, Jeff Driskel and rookie third-round pick Davis Mills to battle it out for quarterback snaps.