The Houston Texans are reportedly willing to trade quarterback Deshaun Watson and are engaging in preliminary discussions with teams, Sarah Barshop reported for ESPN.
Watson requested a trade in January, but the Texans stood firm on their stance that they would not deal their franchise quarterback. That has reportedly changed as they listen to offers, though ESPN reported the Texans have not received a serious one yet.
Watson reported to training camp Sunday reportedly to avoid being fined $50,000 for every day of camp he misses. The NFL chose not to put Watson, who is accused of sexual assault and misconduct in 22 separate civil lawsuits, on the commissioner's exempt list ahead of the start of camp.
What are Texans asking for Watson in trade?
The Texans are reportedly willing to trade Watson before the regular seasons begins if it's the right deal, per ESPN. The team is asking for some combination of five high draft picks and "starting-caliber players," ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport reported Monday morning the Texans would want at least three first-round picks and more.
When Watson, 25, reported to camp he made it clear he still wanted to be traded. He reportedly first made his "official" request out of town in January. Though the Texans hired a new head coach in David Culley, it reportedly did not sway Watson's decision.
Eight teams were reportedly interested in a deal for Watson ahead of the 2021 draft.
Watson's personal quarterbacks coach, Quincy Avery, told ESPN's Adam Schefter he expected Watson to be traded Sunday, the day he arrived to camp.
Watson avoids commissioner's list
Watson was accused of sexual assault and misconduct against 23 women in civil lawsuits filed in March and April. One lawsuit has since been withdrawn. The league did not place Watson on the commissioner's exempt list ahead of training camp, which Yahoo Sports' NFL writer Charles Robinson wrote is a public-relations win for Watson.
The NFL has been investigating Watson since March and Tony Buzbee, the lawyer for the women suing Watson, confirmed that some of his clients spoke with NFL investigator Lisa Friel in the offseason. The Houston Police Department is also investigating and has not yet made criminal charges.
Watson could be placed on the commissioner's exempt list in the future and the police department could still eventually charge Watson. The civil lawsuit litigation begins its first deposition in February 2022.
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