It appears the Houston Texans have softened their hardline stance on whether they'll trade Deshaun Watson. Ever since Watson reportedly made it clear he wanted a trade, the Texans drew a line in the sand, refusing to acquiesce or take any calls from teams regarding a possible move. Times have changed massively, though, with Watson now facing 22 civil lawsuits that allege sexual misconduct in massage sessions, but the former first-round pick reportedly reported to training camp to avoid being fined $50,000 per day and reports say Houston is now willing to take trade calls on Watson -- per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.
That said, it won't be cheap. Now while that's always been fairly well-known, considering Watson is a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback who's only 25 years old, the rumored asking price is astronomical. In exchange for Watson, it would likely take a minimum of three first-round picks and more, per Pelissero, while Chris Mortensen of ESPN adds the asking price is as high as a combination of five high draft picks and starting caliber players (plural).
Those prices are steep even if Watson wasn't the defendant in 22 civil lawsuits, but the fact he is and that the NFL is currently investigating to determine if he'll be suspended and/or placed on the commissioner's Exempt List, they're that much more eye-popping.
Realistically speaking, it looks as if the Texans are still not looking to trade Watson at all -- considering what they're asking for a player facing legal questions -- but instead choosing to give the appearance they are while knowing it's exceedingly unlikely any team will meet their demands. Most teams that were in desperate need for a QB resolved the issue in free agency and/or the 2021 NFL Draft, and while there are rumors that there's still a chance Watson lands with the Miami Dolphins, the Dolphins would have to truly be out on Tua Tagovailoa (they've given no indication they are) and to the point they'd be willing to gut their current roster while also mortgaging nearly the next half-decade of roster-building.
Therein lies the rub, because acquiring Watson (regardless of who might attempt it) would be in a situation where they'd probably enter a rebuilding phase if they paid such an asking price, and around a QB that may not be allowed on the field. Additionally, speaking from Watson's perspective, he'd go from a team that needs several fixes to become winners to one that would virtually guarantee several losing seasons due to a lack of first-round picks and possibly parting with starting players -- essentially wasting the back end of his 20s.
So, as it stands, there doesn't appear to be a resolution in sight for Watson, the Texans or the NFL as they continue to monitor the civil allegations.