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Chatter builds of a potential Deshaun Watson trade

Mike Florio unpacks the latest on the Deshaun Watson situation after his lawyer, Rusty Hardin, encouraged the QB to cooperate with the FBI because he’s confident that Watson was the victim of extortion.

As noted earlier this morning, decision time is coming for the Texans and quarterback Deshaun Watson. The options are few. The one that has seemed the least likely in recent weeks could be the one that happens.

Multiple executives from teams not directly involved in the discussions tell PFT that there’s mounting chatter that Watson will be traded in the coming days.

The two finalists are believed to be the Panthers and the Dolphins. (The Broncos and Eagles also had been linked to Watson.) If it happens, it would turn things upside down for whichever team gets Watson.

It’s hard to imagine a team giving the Texans what they’ve wanted for Watson -- three first-round picks and more. So either the Texans are taking what they can get (if a trade happens) or the Texans will accept a package tied to the number of games Watson plays over the next two or three seasons.

Between Miami and Carolina, the Panthers make more sense. Owner David Tepper has made no secret of his desire for a franchise quarterback. Sam Darnold could still become one. Watson already is. And Tepper, who once kept a set of brass balls in his office, seems willing to roll the dice, despite the lingering uncertainty surrounding Watson.

It needs to be remembered in every Watson story or discussion that he’s facing serious accusations. Those accusations could become adverse verdicts in up to 22 civil cases or a conviction on up to 10 criminal complaints. Any team that trades for Watson assumes the risk that Watson won’t be available to play -- and they’ll also face very real questions about the willingness to bring to town someone who has been involved in such alleged misbehavior.