Texans are “prepared” to keep Deshaun Watson

The Texans will trade quarterback Deshaun Watson. Unless they don’t.

That’s the gist of the Sunday Splash! report from Adam Schefter of ESPN.com regarding the status of the talks between Houston and Miami. They’d like to trade him, but they’re prepared to keep him.

Here’s what should have been the real headline. Per Schefter, owner Cal McNair wants to trade Watson, but the owner is leaving the decision to G.M. Nick Caserio, who has held firm in his desire for a premium package of picks and players. If Caserio wants to stay with the Texans for as long as he can, he’ll give McNair what he wants. Few owners order a Code Red; many of them will simply hint at it. It’s then up to the people who work for the owner to realize the wisdom of doing what the owner wants them to do.

Some in league circles think that Caserio is holding out for the best possible package because he fears doing a deal that will secure the disapproval of Caserio’s former boss, Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Caserio’s current boss may want to consider that dynamic when deciding whether or not to give a direct order to take the best offer from Miami on Tuesday.

This specific deal has many moving parts, and the parts haven’t moved much in the past week. As we explained last week, the legal issues loom over the situation. Although the criminal complaints can’t be resolved by anyone but a grand jury at this point, the 22 civil cases can be resolved at any time.

Earlier this year, a settlement became derailed by the question of whether the details would be confidential. That issue usually doesn’t arise until there’s an agreement on the financial amount that will be paid. Unlike most cases of this nature, Watson wanted transparency; the lawyer representing the 22 individuals did not. If Watson changes his position, the cases can be settled — in principle — by Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. ET.

The cases will settle, or they won’t, by Tuesday. Watson will be traded, or he won’t, by Tuesday.

And, yes, if the Texans don’t trade him they must be “prepared” to keep him, because the only option at that point would be to cut him. There’s one specific wrinkle that potentially applies in that situation. Stay tuned for another item that looks into one specific thing that could happen if the Texans don’t trade Watson by Tuesday.

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