Report: 'More unlikely' Deshaun Watson criminal inquiry will finish before NFL trade deadline

It was reported last month that the case against Houston Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson, who is facing 22 lawsuits alleging acts of sexual assault and misconduct and 10 criminal complaints, went before a grand jury. Watson requested a trade before those accusations were known, and it’s been thought he and his camp would understand if he is going to be formally charged before the Nov. 2 NFL trade deadline. 

© Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

According to A.J. Perez of Front Office Sports, that may not be the case:

It’s looking more unlikely that Deshaun Watson’s criminal inquiry over allegations of sexual misconduct will be completed before the Nov. 2 NFL trade deadline, sources tell @FOS.

— A.J. Perez (@byajperez) September 16, 2021

A month has passed since it was first reported that a grand jury would decide whether Watson would face criminal charges. Sources tell me that prosecutors have yet to present the case — at least in full — to the grand jury.

— A.J. Perez (@byajperez) September 16, 2021

So, not only has the grand jury not seen/heard all (or possibly any) of the evidence, there are indications that investigators are still gathering info.

Prosecutors are often tied up with trials that can delay grand jury presentations. I’ve inquired whether that’s the case here.

— A.J. Perez (@byajperez) September 16, 2021

While a healthy and eligible Watson is undoubtedly one of the league’s best quarterbacks, it’s been believed teams have been scared to make legitimate offers for his services because it’s unknown if he’ll be suspended or placed on the commissioner’s exempt list at some point this season or next year. Perez reports at least one club is still interested in pursuing a deal by Nov. 2. 

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio named that team as the Miami Dolphins even though ESPN’s Jeff Darlington refuted that story earlier this month:

There’s still a chance Watson could be traded before the grand jury’s decision per sources. While most teams who have had discussions to acquire Watson want to wait for the criminal case to conclude, one source said at least one team is open to trade before then.

— A.J. Perez (@byajperez) September 16, 2021

Florio wrote the Texans want at least three first-round draft picks and two second-round selections for Watson.

Perez also repeated previous reports that the NFL will wait for the grand jury’s decision to complete its separate investigation into the allegations made against Watson. 

As things stand today, Watson is set to remain with the Texans as a paid unused asset who sits every week via a non-injury designation but who also isn’t a “distraction” to teammates. 

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