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Deshaun Watson can now be questioned under oath in 22 pending lawsuits

A report names several potential destinations for quarterback Deshaun Watson, but Mike Florio believes he won't go anywhere until his cases are resolved.

As the football future of Teams quarterback Deshaun Watson slides back to the front burner, reports and speculation regarding teams for which he’d be willing to play (ESPN recently added the Buccaneers, who make sense, and the Vikings, who don’t, to the mix) remain premature. It’s unlikely that anyone will be making a move until greater clarity has been secured regarding his legal situation.

First, the lingering criminal probe. A grand jury at some point will complete its work regarding the pending complaints against Watson. If he’s indicted on one or more felony charges, a trade becomes much harder to accomplish. If he’s indicted on misdemeanor charges or not at all, it becomes easier for him to proceed.

Second, the pending lawsuits. Now that the Super Bowl has come and gone, Watson can be questioned under oath during a deposition. Depending on how he holds up under questioning (or doesn’t), it could become easier (or harder) to settle his cases. If a new team insists on all civil cases being resolved (as the Dolphins did last season), nothing will happen until he manages to get 22 deals done. And that quite possibly will drive up the price for resolving the 22 claims.

Meanwhile, the quarterback carousel has begun to spin. Teams with needs will begin looking for ways to fill them. And if Watson isn’t in position to be acquired, teams may look elsewhere.

The stakes for the Texans are considerably higher than last year. In 2021, the Texans paid Watson $10 million to not play. In 2022, that number spikes to $35 million.