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Texans reportedly had 'bidding war' set up for Deshaun Watson that could have included Tua Tagovailoa

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Before 22 women accused Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct, the Houston Texas were reportedly adamant against trading their 25-year-old franchise quarterback. 

“Under no circumstances will the Texans trade Watson,” the Houston Chronicle's John McClain wrote in January

That was before Watson reportedly requested a trade from a Texans franchise spiraling further into dysfunction. After the request? ESPN and NFL Network reported in February that the Texans were standing firm, shutting down potential suitors and sometimes declining to return phone calls. 

New story from Houston amid Watson's sexual misconduct suit

Now Watson's reputation has taken a nosedive, and his future as an NFL quarterback is in peril. And with the NFL draft on Thursday, that narrative is changing. The same Texans beat writer who wrote in January that there was no circumstance that Houston would trade Watson now reports that the Texans were preparing to deal him ahead of the draft. And they had a quarter of the NFL lined up for a bidding war. 

“The Texans’ plan was to get the most serious teams into a bidding war before general manager Nick Caserio — with [CEO] Cal McNair’s approval — accepted the best offer that, ideally, would have included at least three first-round picks, two second-round picks and a defensive starter,” McClain wrote on Monday.

Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans looks on against the Cincinnati Bengals at NRG Stadium on December 27, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Would the Texans have traded Deshuan Watson without the legal trouble he's facing? (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

8 teams were reportedly interested

Per the report, the Dolphins, Jets, Panthers, Broncos, 49ers, Patriots, Bears and Washington were all interested in a deal for Watson. The Dolphins were prepared to part with Tua Tagovailoa and the No. 3 pick that they instead dealt to the San Francisco 49ers. And that was just a starting point. 

This was all before Watson was accused in a civil lawsuit by 22 different women of sexual misconduct ranging from unwanted touching of genitals, forcing a massage therapist to touch his genitals and forcing a woman to perform oral sex.

Watson has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing through his attorney Rusty Hardin.

Regardless of the pending legal outcome facing Watson, the accusations have cooled the trade market for the once-coveted young quarterback. And now it seems the Texans were open to trading him?

As usual, it's difficult to decipher the truth from the smokescreens during NFL draft week. 

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