Sources tell A.J. Perez of Front Office Sports that it appears unlikely that Deshaun Watson‘s criminal inquiry regarding several allegations of sexual misconduct will be completed before the NFL trade deadline on Nov. 2.
According to Perez, prosecutors have yet to present in full to the grand jury, who will decide whether Watson would face criminal charges.
Perez explains that these criminal investigations take time and investigators have a lot of people to interview, especially when you consider that there are 22 lawsuits filed against Watson. The hope is that the grand jury will have a decision at some point in October.
Beyond that, Perez says there are indications that investigators are still gathering info.
As for the NFL’s investigation, Perez doesn’t expect the league to conclude its investigation before the grand jury decides, considering that their investigators don’t get in the way of ongoing criminal cases. Potential punishment from the NFL will weigh heavily on the outcome of the criminal investigation.
Perez confirms that there are at least four teams still interested in trading for Watson with the Dolphins still being the “frontrunner.”
Perez admits that there’s still a chance Watson could be traded before the grand jury’s decision. However, most interested teams who have had discussions about a deal for Watson want to wait for the criminal case to conclude. One source tells Perez that there’s at least one team open to trading for Watson before then.
Regarding the Texans, Perez reports that Houston still wants a major haul of draft picks in return. Watson would have to approve any trade and Perez mentions that there will be negotiations over pick protection, depending on the number of games he could miss.
Prior reports have linked the Dolphins, Eagles, Panthers, and Broncos to Watson.
Last week, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that the Texans have asked interested teams in Watson for a package that consists of six players and draft picks.
Schefter said that the Texans have been unwilling to budge from their trade price for Watson, who was inactive for Week 1’s game against the Jaguars. Beyond that, Schefter says the Texans are prepared to keep Watson on their active roster all season, even though it will cost them $10.5 million.
Watson, 25, was taken in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft out of Clemson by the Texans. He signed a four-year, $13.854 million with the Texans that included a fifth-year option around $17.3 million for the 2021 season.
The Texans signed Watson to a four-year deal worth as much as $177 million heading into the 2020 season, paying him $39 million a year.
In 2020, Watson appeared in all 16 games for the Texans and completed 70.2 percent of his passes for 4,823 yards with 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also rushed for 444 yards and three touchdowns.
We’ll have more on Watson as the news is available.