Deshaun Watson still wants the Houston Texans to trade him. The investigation into the allegations of sexual misconduct brought against him by more than 20 massage therapists is continuing. And so, the quarterback faces an uncertain future.
However, Watson is expected to appear at the Texans headquarters on Sunday, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Watson will go through COVID-19 testing at team headquarters, which is needed before training camp begins later this week.
By failing to show up, Watson would face a mandatory fine of $ 50,000 per day. Thus, he will essentially save money without having changed his position on his status within the team.
Watson, one of the league’s brightest stars and also one of the highest-paid quarterbacks after signing a four-year, $ 156 million contract extension last September, concluded his fourth season with Houston, and shortly after, expressed dissatisfaction with the franchise and the decision-making team officials following the sacking of Bill O’Brien as coach and general manager.
Watson had hoped the Texans would hire Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. However, after reports said the Texans gave him the impression they would consult with the star quarterback on the direction of the franchise, ownership instead left Watson out of the loop. Houston joined Patriots front office member Nick Caserio as general manager and former Baltimore Ravens offensive assistant David Culley as head coach.
Watson soon after expressed a desire for a trade. But he quickly had bigger problems than dissatisfaction with his team. In the spring, two massage therapists accused the quarterback of sexual misconduct – allegations he denied.
But other women have come forward and Watson now faces civil lawsuits from 22 massage therapists. Watson’s lawyers maintained the position that all sexual interactions between the quarterback and the massage therapists were consensual acts.
The Houston Police Department has opened a criminal investigation, but it remains ongoing. The NFL has continued to monitor the situation, but league officials want to wait until investigations are completed before imposing any penalties.
And so, the Texans and Watson find themselves in a sticky situation. Watson met Culley this offseason, but has maintained his position that he no longer wants to play for the team.
The Texans apparently prepared to leave Watson, signing Tyrod Taylor in free agency and drafting Davis Mills in the third round. But ongoing legal issues make a trade complicated as teams are said to be reluctant to meet Houston’s high asking price with uncertainty over whether Watson will actually be available to play.