Deshaun Watson trades the next steps
NFL teams preparing for a possible trade suit for Deshaun Watson are now focusing on two key aspects of his future, following Friday’s decision by a grand jury not to indict the Houston Texans quarterback for allegations of sexual assault.
First, several teams considering a trade for Watson told Yahoo Sports that Tuesday’s deposition in the quarterback’s civil lawsuit would be a pivotal moment because Watson would have to give it without invoking his Fifth Amendment right to refuse to testify against him. -same. In his earlier deposition, which was taken on Friday, Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin advised him to decline to answer questions citing the Fifth. Watson currently faces 22 civil lawsuits alleging a range of sexual misconduct or sexual assault.
Hardin previously told Yahoo Sports that Watson would continue to invoke his Fifth Amendment right in depositions until the grand jury proceedings — which were tied to criminal complaints against the quarterback — are settled. Now that the grand jury process is complete without an indictment, teams expect Watson to answer questions under oath for the first time on Tuesday. This deposition will not be public, but NFL teams and league investigators will attempt to gather information about Watson’s testimony as the franchises consider a trade lawsuit and the NFL continues its investigation into the allegations.
“We want to know what he’s going to say,” a team official told Yahoo Sports. “It’s going to be important to us and I guess probably someone else who gets involved [in trade talks].”
Of the teams vying for a meeting with Watson, the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers are expected to meet him by the end of this week. Other franchises may still express interest in meeting with Watson in the coming days, including the Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons and Cleveland Browns, among others.
A source familiar with the requests — as well as Watson’s willingness to speak to specific teams — told Yahoo Sports that the Texans continue to seek “five assets,” which will most likely be three first-round picks and either two picks. second round. picks or top caliber players. Multiple sources have also indicated that Houston continues to prefer the Watson trade to the NFC, but that could extend to AFC teams that aren’t part of the Texans division.
While Watson is still expected to meet with NFL investigators as part of their investigation into the allegations against him, any testimony in civil lawsuits may also be used to determine whether a suspension is warranted under Watson’s personal conduct policy. the league. The NFL previously told Watson’s legal camp that it would suspend its investigation to allow a Houston Police Department investigation and grand jury proceeding to proceed without interference. Now that the criminal investigation and jury deliberations are complete, the NFL is free to move forward with its own investigation.
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This all leads to the second aspect that teams are evaluating regarding Watson’s future: a potential NFL suspension that could be shaped by Watson’s depositions. Two teams considering suing Watson told Yahoo Sports that they are already considering a potential suspension as part of their decision-making process. Specifically, the teams believe Watson is likely to face a six-game suspension under the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy, which can be broadly applied to players in cases of alleged assault and does not require a verdict. legal of guilt.
However, they added that a Watson suspension could also be lengthened or shortened by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell based on other information that comes to light before a decision is made. This information could come from depositions of Watson and his accusers in civil cases, interviews of some of the accusers by NFL investigators (which have already taken place), or Watson’s interview with league investigators.