Last Friday, Watson was cleared of criminal charges following allegations of sexual misconduct by 22 women, paving the way for his trade talks to begin this offseason. Though the civil lawsuits are still active and the league could still suspend Watson, the jury did not find enough evidence to charge him with a crime, and that heavily increases his chances of playing for a team in 2022.
One team interested in Watson’s services is the Saints, who recently made an offer for the controversial Houston quarterback and will meet with him to state their case for bringing him on.
Amid the rumors and speculation of Watson’s future, the Saints and Panthers have submitted the first two formal requests to speak to Watson, though they likely won’t be the last.
New Orleans Saints reportedly make an offer for Texans QB Deshaun Watson
Watson’s asking price includes three first-round picks and more, and despite his criminal allegations, many teams are still willing to meet that high price.
A tumultuous offseason saw quarterbacks like Russell Wilson and Carson Wentz get moved around, and many teams remain in the hunt for a starting signal-caller. Along with the Saints and Panthers, the Seahawks, Bucs, and Browns may also try to meet with Watson before the start of the 2022 season.
In terms of financial flexibility, the Saints may barely be able to fit Watson’s projected $136 million dollar contract into their salary cap for 2022 as the team is currently restructuring contracts to get under the cap.
If a deal with Watson doesn’t go through, it probably won’t be because the Saints can’t afford to fork over the draft capital or because they suddenly changed their mind. Rather, other teams like the Panthers have more cap space (and better first-round picks to offer) and could lure Watson over with more money.
Stay tuned to see how the Watson negotiations pan out.