Sports

Texans GM says Deshaun Watson trade to Browns gives team, quarterback ‘clarity’ on future


For all of last season, the Houston Texans were a franchise in a holding pattern, with star quarterback Deshaun Watson on the roster and drawing a large pay check, but not on the field. In the wake of his being accused by 22 women of sexual misconduct or sexual assault, the Texans made Watson inactive for every game during the 2021 season. 

On Friday, the Texans turned the page by dealing Watson and a 2024 fifth-round pick to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for first-round picks in 2022, 2023, and 2024, as well as a 2023 third-round pick and a 2024 fourth-round pick. On Saturday, Texans general manager Nick Caserio gave his take on the deal, and why he felt it was right for the franchise.

“Deshaun has clarity on his end, relative to what his future holds from a football standpoint,” Caserio said, according to ESPN.com. “I think there are some things still on a legal front that probably … have to take place. But just clarity for him individually [and] I think clarity for our organization in terms of what the expectation is moving forward.”

Of course, there is a rather large caveat contained in Caserio’s assertion that Watson has clarity on his end, and for good reason. Watson knows what city he will next play football in, but does not necessarily know when. It remains possible to he is suspended under the league’s personal conduct policy, and if we can read anything into the structure of his new contract, it appears that both he and the Browns expect a lengthy suspension to come this year.

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Watson is also not necessarily out of legal jeopardy. While a grand jury in Houston decided earlier this month not to indict him on any of the criminal complaints on which it heard evidence, it’s possible he could still be subject to criminal penalty in the future.

Another grand jury could be impaneled in the same cases — jeopardy does not attach until a jury is impaneled at trial; grand juries simply decide whether to file charges in the first place — should a new prosecutor be appointed or the current prosecutor decide to pursue the case from a different angle; new evidence could arise; more complaints could be filed; or the Department of Justice could decide to file charges if it decides there is probable cause to believe a federal crime was committed. 

Additionally, Watson was recently testified in depositions for the 22 civil cases that remain active against him. Watson’s attorneys’ previous attempts to settle the civil cases have been unsuccessful, with the attorney representing the plaintiffs stating that his clients did not want to agree to non-disclosure agreements. Unless and until those cases are settled or resolved in court, the allegations will remain under intense scrutiny.





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