Much has to happen before Deshaun Watson could be traded, especially if he’s going to be traded at or around the 2021 draft. If, somehow, Watson manages to properly and appropriately settle the 22 civil lawsuits pending against him before the draft, there’s one team to watch closely as a potential destination.
Yes, the Eagles. They have Jalen Hurts and Joe Flacco, but Deshaun Watson has proven that he’s a franchise quarterback, and one of the best players in the NFL. As one league source explains it, the Eagles are sufficiently determined to upgrade the team that they would pursue Watson, if the window opens for doing so.
Before the Eagles (who gave Mike Vick his second chance in 2009) can justify pursuing Watson, the legal issues would need to be resolved. The question becomes whether the Eagles would be comfortable making the trade even if Watson eventually is suspended for some, most, or all of the 2021 season, based on the allegations made against him, even if they are resolved.
A huge part of the equation becomes the trade compensation that the Texans will want for Watson. Whatever they could have gotten four weeks ago, they won’t get that now. The most fair trade for both teams (whoever the second team is) would consist of conditional picks hinging on when and whether he’s able to play in 2021.
While it’s premature to finalize potential landing spots (other possibilities include the Dolphins), the push to force the 20 unnamed plaintiffs to attach their names to their claims undoubtedly flows from a desire to create settlement leverage. If these 20 persons want to remain unknown, they’ll need to settle fairly soon. From Watson’s perspective, the best path out of a bad situation comes from finding a way to fairly and properly settle these cases.
Then comes the question of where he plays next. Whenever that happens, the Eagles could emerge as a real possibility.