As Texans put on the pads, Deshaun Watson isn’t present for practice

When asked on Monday whether the commencement of padded practices would alter Deshaun Watson‘s limited contributions during 2021 training camp for the Texans, coach David Culley said, “Nothing has changed.”

Well, something has changed. Per multiple reports, Watson isn’t present as the first padded practice gets started.

The Texans are waiting for a trade offer that has yet to come; at the compensation level they seem to expect (three first round picks and more), it may never arrive. Along the way, the league at any time could put Watson on paid leave.

Currently, it seems that the Texans are content to keep Watson on team-imposed paid leave while they wait for a trade offer or a decision by the league to put him on the sidelines pending the resolution of his legal issues, both civil and criminal.

On that point, a settlement of the 22 pending lawsuits against Watson likely won’t matter, if a settlement happens in the near future. The criminal investigation has progressed to the point where, we’re told, Watson’s camp is bracing for an eventual grand jury proceeding. (No one knows when that will get started.) If/when Watson is indicted, he almost definitely will be placed on paid leave by the league.

Whether an earlier settlement could have avoided that possibility isn’t known. What’s known for now is that it’s currently unavoidable that a grand jury will hear the evidence and decide on whether certain charges should be formally made against Watson.