The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are moving full steam ahead as they look to find their next starting quarterback. According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, several members within the Buccaneers organization want to “aggressively pursue” a blockbuster trade for Watson.
“There are plenty of people in the Bucs organization who would aggressively pursue Deshaun Watson,” La Canfora tweeted on March 11, 2022. “Rival GMs believe they will be a factor in this.”
During the NFL Combine, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians sounded interested in Watson. Yet, Arians admitted that the team’s ownership would have to sign off on a potential Watson deal for it to have any chance of happening.
“It would strictly be organizational signoff,” Arians explained to ESPN’s Jenna Laine on March 1. “I’ve known the kid for a long time. I’m shocked that he’s in this situation. But that would be a strict organizational signoff.”
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Watson Will Not Face Criminal Charges
A grand jury revealed that Watson will not face criminal charges amid allegations of sexual misconduct, but the quarterback is still facing 22 civil suits, NFL.com reported on March 11.
Despite no criminal charges, the NFL still has the power to levy a hefty suspension on Watson based on their own investigation. According to NFL.com, a league spokesperson released the following statement on March 11: “We have been closely monitoring all developments in the matter which remains under review of the personal conduct policy.”
After the grand jury hearing, Watson spoke with reporters about wanting to clear his name and continue playing football:
“Definitely a very emotional moment for me,” Watson told reporters. “I know we’re far from being done handling what we need to handle on the legal side, but today is definitely a big day. I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for letting the truth be heard.
“… I’m going to keep fighting to rebuild my name and rebuild my appearance in the community. We’re going to continue on the legal side to handle what we need to handle, but also ready to get back on the field, been prepping for that and ready to go for that.”
Some NFL Teams Hired Private Investigators to Explore Watson’s Case: Report
During the combine, the Buccaneers did not sound like a team willing to pay a high price in a quarterback trade. Yet, recent reports indicate the Buccaneers are very much interested in exploring a deal for Watson.
The Seahawks just landed two first-round picks, two second-round selections and three players as part of a deal for Russell Wilson. It will be interesting to see if the Texans are able to find something similar for Watson given his ongoing legal situation. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported that some teams hired private investigators to be on the “ground in Houston.”
“Over that year, a number of teams have put their security personnel on the case, and some even hired private investigators to stay on top of it from the ground in Houston, sources told Sports Illustrated,” Breer wrote on March 11. “Owners have also been in touch with the commissioner’s office to stay up to speed on where the league stands on the matter.”
Breer went on to list the Buccaneers as one potential suitor for Watson among a “robust” trade market for the three-time Pro Bowler.
“Either way, the market is expected to be robust for Watson,” Breer detailed. “Seattle, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and New Orleans are among those that could have the firepower to deal for Watson, who has a no-trade clause.”