Deshaun Watson trade status: Could the Texans deal the QB before the deadline? Everything we know, plus potential suitors

Deshaun Watson's situation is the puzzling and perplexing elephant in the NFL's 2021 room.

The 26-year-old quarterback is not injured. He is on a roster -- the Houston Texans', specifically. He shows up at the team facility every day, healthy enough to practice and play, but he does little of the former and none of the latter. He works out with Texans staff members but is not part of anything related to the weekly game plan. When the team practices, he's often in the weight room or conducting a workout plan of his own. He has been involved in some meetings but isn't a steady presence.

The Texans have left Watson inactive for each of their first five games, starting first Tyrod Taylor and then rookie Davis Mills instead, and plan to do the same for the foreseeable future.

Watson exists in NFL limbo for two reasons:

To be clear: Neither the NFL nor the Texans have suspended Watson, nor has he been placed on the commissioner's exempt list, which is a tool the league has used in the past to essentially suspend players while they're investigated under the personal conduct policy. The league is investigating Watson, but so far it has not acted on any discipline. He could, theoretically, play if he and the Texans wanted him to.

Despite interest from other teams, Watson has not been traded. He gives no interviews. His coach, David Culley, and general manager, Nick Caserio, give the same answers about his status being "week-to-week." The NFL offers no comment.

This is an unprecedented situation with no ultimate resolution in sight, and the significance of the allegations Watson is facing should not be ignored. For the sake of his alleged victims, we want to stress that we aren't glossing over the serious off-field issues at play here. This is a football story encased in a far more serious real-life story.

But league-wide chatter persists about which new uniform Watson will eventually wear. And with the league's Nov. 2 trade deadline creeping closer, the Texans' season looking as if it's headed nowhere and people inside the league still talking about a potential trade, it's worth a reset on this situation -- a look into what we do and don't know, what we do and don't expect to happen, why and when.

Jump to a section:
How Watson got here
Why he's still on the HOU roster
Could he be traded before Nov. 2?
What could happen in the offseason

How did we get here?