Watson would be a healthy scratch each week. He has a standing trade request and Houston also isn’t eager to put him on the field as he faces numerous civil and potential criminal charges.
Keeping Watson off injured reserve also preserves Houston’s flexibility should a team be willing to meet its asking price. They’re liable for Watson’s $10.54 million base salary no matter what unless he’s traded.
Trade speculation for Watson bubbled up over the weekend, with Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reporting the Dolphins have emerged as the “frontrunner” in trade talks with the Texans for Watson.
However, no trade involving Watson appears to be imminent, for now.
It should be mentioned that the serious accusations against Watson have yet to be resolved. He’s facing 22 civil cases right now and it remains to be seen how all of this plays out.
Watson has had an odd summer that has consisted of him serving as the Texans’ No. 4 quarterback and seeing time at running back in safety while sitting out a good majority of practice while his situation plays out.
The NFL hasn’t placed him on the commissioner’s exempt list, but their investigation into the allegations against him is ongoing as well.
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.