A QUIET PLACE
Here’s why no news is NOT good news for Watson, Texans
The first big screen movie to feature this classic trope of Hollywood dialogue was Lucky Texan in 1934, starring John Wayne and Gabby Hayes. Many more have followed, including big box office films like Shrek, Airplane!, The Big Chill and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
"It's quiet … a little too quiet."
That's when the monster makes its first appearance, the hero is attacked or something unexpected, usually bad, happens. Hide your eyes, squeamish fans.
That's the current situation with Deshaun Watson, his 22 accusing massage therapists, NFL commissioner's office, Houston Police Department and the Houston Texans 2021 football season. Not a peep from anybody.
Will the 25-year-old, supremely gifted quarterback accused of sexual misconduct and assault, play for the Texans, a different team, be placed on the commissioner's exempt list, face league suspension and/or a criminal charge by the Houston Police Department? If everybody listens real closely, you can almost hear the soundtrack from Jaws.
It's quiet all right, no dueling press conferences by publicity-absorbed attorneys Tony Buzbee and Rusty Harden, no additional accounts of X-rated sexual misbehavior from cross-country masseuses, no comment from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell or Houston Police.
Yeah, a little too quiet. NFL training camps are around the corner. With the wheels of justice grinding extra slowly and both sides swearing they're hunkered down, there doesn't appear to be a legal conclusion to Watson's mess in sight.
If he shows up at Texans' camp and sticks on the roster, he will be paid his $10 million salary for 2021. It will be a pyrrhic victory for Watson, who clearly wants no part of the Texans. And the team, despite management's b.s., wants no part of Watson. Awkward indeed.
If he's placed on the NFL commissioner's exempt list, he won't be allowed to play, but he'll be paid his full salary. Paid leave may be a golden ticket to most people, not for a 25-year-old quarterback who just one year ago was the darling of Houston.
If he's suspended by the NFL, he won't be allowed to play and he won't be paid for however many games he's suspended. Lawyers aren't scheduled to depose Watson in the civil cases until after the 2022 Super Bowl. So the legal system won't do the NFL's dirty work.
If he avoids the commissioner's exempt list and is traded, he will play and be paid. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Eagles are Watson's most likely trade destination. Denver also appears in the mix. Enjoy the overtime work, publicity departments. If the Eagles do maneuver a trade for Watson, "Jalen Hurts" will be a complete English sentence.
If he is charged criminally by the Houston Police Department, then all bets are off. His football option may be limited to playing for the Mean Machine vs. the prison guards.
It's a nightmare and every option is awful. If the Texans find a trade partner, Houston is over a barrel and probably won't get fair value. If Watson reaches a settlement with the 22 accusing masseuses (a wise move) and HPD finds no reason to arrest him, Watson's reputation and asking price as an endorser are damaged - 22 is a big point spread to overcome.
Meanwhile the Texans are held hostage by a situation where its star quarterback is accused of serious sexual misconduct, they have a new coach and general manager, plus the owner is a doofus and his weirdo puppeteer are so disliked by fans that the team faces unsold season tickets for the first time in franchise history.
The Texans will head to camp with a veteran journeyman and third-round rookie at quarterback, an army of free agents, no J.J. Watt or DeAndre Hopkins, and most likely no Deshaun Watson.
If you want to hear quiet, too quiet, wait for the sounds of silence at NRG Stadium if the Texans get off to a bad start this season.