As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to be linked to Deshaun Watson, the star quarterback sent a message about the rumors via his agent David Mulugheta. During an interview with USA Today’s Josina Anderson, Mulugheta shot down the notion that Watson has the Bucs on his short list.
“I spoke with Deshaun Watson’s agent. He says there’s no truth that Watson is eyeing the Bucs, Vikings or any teams ahead of free agency,” Anderson detailed on Twitter on February 17. “’We haven’t had any talks among ourselves or with teams about possible destinations as we are focused on clearing Deshaun’s name at this time.’”
There are several ways to take Mulugheta’s comments, with the most obvious being it is a bad look for Watson to be talking about potential trades amid 22 different civil lawsuits. Despite Watson’s efforts to quiet the trade rumors, the Bucs are going to continue to be linked to the Texans quarterback until they make a move to add another signal caller.
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Watson Has the Bucs on His ‘Radar’: Report
Mulugheta’s comments came after ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that the Buccaneers and Vikings were “among the teams on his radar.” Watson sat out the 2021 season as he pushed for a new home, and has a no-trade clause giving him control over his next destination.
“The Texans quarterback, who spent the 2021 season on the team’s active roster but did not play, has begun evaluating potential fits for his services in 2022, with the Buccaneers and Vikings among teams on his radar,” Fowler wrote on February 16.
“One source noted that Watson — who has a no-trade clause — is still early in the evaluation process, but he’s looking for the right blend of offensive system, coaching, talent and, most importantly, the chance to win.”
The Bucs Are Doing ‘Extensive Homework’ on Watson, Says Insiders
Not only does Watson have to sign off on a move to Tampa, but the Bucs also need to be willing to give up significant assets for the quarterback. This is especially complicated given Watson’s ongoing legal woes. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported that the Buccaneers are doing “extensive homework” on the possibility of adding Watson.
“Should he remain retired, the Bucs have shifted their focus to other veteran QBs who could be available via trade,” Rapoport and Pelissero noted on February 13. “Sources say they’re doing extensive homework on Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and are one of multiple teams expected to explore a potential trade for Russell Wilson, though the Seahawks have given no indication they’ll deal him.”
Arians & the Cardinals Nearly Drafted Watson in 2017
Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has been public about his affinity for Watson. Arians admitted the Cardinals were set to draft Watson with the No. 13 pick in the 2017 NFL draft before the Texans traded up to snag the star quarterback at No. 12.
The Buccaneers’ decision on pushing for a blockbuster trade with the Texans likely depends on how the civil suits unfold, as well as what other quarterbacks the team has a chance to land this offseason. Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson provided an update on Watson’s upcoming hearings.
“Court records show and a Harris County District Court clerk said motion is set for Monday requesting that Deshaun Watson’s scheduled deposition for this week be pushed back to later date,” Wilson said in a series of February 20-21 tweets. “Why? Not all 22 complainants have been deposed, per source, which was original plan. …Hearing is set for this afternoon in Harris County, a procedural motion to request delay of Deshaun Watson deposition because not all of the 22 litigants in civil lawsuits have been deposed, which was original plan. His deposition, scheduled for Tuesday, could be pushed back.”