The window closes in nine days. There continues to be a good chance that, by 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, November 2, Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson will be a member of the Miami Dolphins.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, as we’ve known for weeks, really wants Watson. Watson, as we’ve known for months, really wants the Dolphins. And thus, while Tua Tagovailoa “is our quarterback,” Watson quite possibly if not likely will be.
That said, one source with knowledge of the dynamics of the Dolphins organization says the position on trading for Watson is not unanimous. Ultimately, however, oligarchs tend to get what oligarchs want.
The two teams have been unable to get a deal done, in part because the Dolphins haven’t wanted to give the Texans what they want, and because the Texans don’t want to give the Dolphins any protection against the legal issues creating issues regarding Watson’s availability. It appears that, to get Watson, the Dolphins will have to give the Texans what they want.
And the legal issues remain, in the form of 22 civil complaints and 10 criminal complaints. The criminal complaints eventually will be presented to a grand jury; at this point, nothing can be done to stop that from happening. The civil complaints can be settled at any time. Earlier this year, a potential settlement broke down over the issue of confidentiality. This implies that they’d reached a general agreement on the amount to be paid to the 22 plaintiffs. Indeed, there’s no need to haggle over confidentiality if there’s an impasse on the money.
Settling the cases also would make it easier for the league to not place Watson on the Commissioner Exempt list. Although the criminal complaints would still be pending, the league would have a hard time justifying paid leave for Watson if he has not been formally charged with a crime.
Although the Personal Conduct Policy is broad enough to let the league do whatever it wants when it comes to placing a player on paid leave, much of the public steam regarding the decision to let Watson play would go away if he resolves the civil cases to the satisfaction of his 22 accusers.
This isn’t a report on what will happen. It’s an analysis of the facts and circumstances that have been lingering in plain sight for months. With nine days left until the ability to trade Watson evaporates until March, don’t be surprised if it happens.