What’s next for Deshaun Watson, Texas, now that he will not be charged with crime?

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HOUSTON – On Friday afternoon, a Harris County, Texas prosecutor announced that Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson will not be charged with criminal charges following a police investigation sparked by lawsuits filed by 22 women who have accused him of inappropriate behavior and sexual assault.

In a statement after the statement was made, Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said, “Now that the criminal investigations have been completed, we are pleased to be able to proceed with the civil cases. We will vigorously defend these cases with every ounce we have. . “

The civil cases Hardin refers to are the 22 lawsuits filed against Watson, with charges including sexual assault and inappropriate behavior during massage sessions.

The first of these lawsuits was filed on March 16, 2021.

The civil cases are not related to the ruling Watson received on Friday. He sat in two sessions with depositions for the civil cases on Friday, invoking his fifth amendment against self-incrimination because the criminal investigation was not completed at the time.

Here’s a look at what’s next for Watson and the Texans:

What is the timeline of the lawsuits?

These cases can be decided at any time, both parties agree, but if either case is not, according to court documents, a preliminary conference is scheduled for early May.

How does this affect his NFL future?

Last year, Hardin said he did not expect Watson to speak to the NFL’s investigation team until the criminal investigation was completed. Now that it’s over, Watson is expected to be interviewed by the league.

A spokesman for the NFL, which is investigating Watson under his personal behavioral policy, said in a statement Friday: “We have been closely monitoring all developments in the case.”

Can Watson still be suspended?

Although the league investigation – and Watson’s interview – is likely to play a big role in whether the quarterback is disciplined by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, it is still unknown whether Watson is suspended.

Last season, with the ongoing criminal investigation, Goodell chose not to restrict Watson from participating in team activities, allowing him to report to training camp and participate in training. While Watson participated in some individual reps during camp, he did not participate in team exercises.

Watson remained on the Texans’ active list – collecting his base salary of $ 10.54 million – throughout the season, listed as a healthy scratch for all 17 games.

What have the Texans said about this?

Members of the organization have declined to comment specifically on Watson’s legal situation. However, general manager Nick Caserio said this month at the NFL combination that the team is “day-to-day in terms of handling” Watson’s situation.

The next day, coach Lovie Smith said the Texans are hoping for “a quick fix” on Watson’s future with the team.

What does this mean for a trade?

The Texans could at any time agree to a deal with Watson, but it could not be made official until the new league year starts at. 16 ET Wednesday.

Houston is open to trade with Watson, who requested the move in January 2021 after deciding he was not happy with the direction of the franchise. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, more teams are expected to be interested.

However, Watson has a no-trade clause in the $ 156 million four-year contract he signed in September 2020. Watson has previously agreed to waive this clause only for the Miami Dolphins, who tried to acquire the quarterback before the November trade deadline. . Last week, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said “the door is closed for Deshaun” as Miami continues to build around quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Even if a trade does not take place before Wednesday, the Texans will likely want to get a deal made before the NFL draft (April 28-30) so they can receive 2022 elections.

One of the reasons trade with Watson was so attractive when he first made the request was because of his cheap salary at the time. But during the extension he signed with the Texans, his base salary jumps to $ 35 million in 2022, with a hit of $ 35 million.

The following year, Watson will be owed a base salary of $ 20 million and a guard bonus of $ 17 million (ceiling of $ 37 million), and his contract will result in a ceiling of $ 32 million in 2024 and 2025. There is no guaranteed money on the agreement after the 2022 season.

The Texans will receive $ 16.2 million (his signing bonus spread over three years) of dead money if they trade with Watson before June 1st.

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