NFL fans are used to seeing controversial players put on paid leave pending the result of an enquiry into their behavior. When the whole Deshaun Watson situation blew up, many expected this to be the course of action, but the Houston Texans quarterback's situation did not follow suit. Deshaun Watson is yet to be put on paid leave despite there being credible accusations of sexual misconduct against him.
As per Mike Florio's latest report, the reason why Watson hasn't been put on paid leave yet has to do with the specificity of his case.
Deshaun Watson wants a trade
Deshaun Watson requested a trade from the Houston Texans before the sexual misconduct case against him blew up, with accusers going on record with the allegations.
Since then, the franchise has decided to move on from him as well. Therefore, both parties, namely the team and the player, are not at an impasse. Rather, both believe that Deshaun Watson should not play for the Houston Texans in the NFL again.
Since there is no disagreement between the parties, there is a remote possibility that Deshaun Watson will suit up this season.
This particular situation also helps the Houston Texans, as a player already put on paid leave by the NFL is tough to trade. This development is important for the Texans in terms of looking for trade partners.
Paid leave a possibility if Deshaun Watson decides to play
As per reports, it is entirely within the realm of possibility that the Houston Texans have had private conversations with the NFL regarding the Deshaun Watson case.
The league also wants the avoid the negative fallout from a public relations viewpoint. Any paid leave case attracts significant media attention as time is devoted to the scandals plaguing the player. With pre-season already in full swing and the regular season set to begin soon, the last thing the league needs is a distraction.
Deshaun Watson himself is not challenging the status quo, even though he might suspect backchannel talks are taking place between his team and the NFL. He has received enough attention and will want to avoid being in the spotlight.
Considering that the prevailing conditions suit all parties involved, this situation is unlikely to go any further unless there's a breakthrough in the case.
The only way the situation can change is if Deshaun Watson gets ready to play for a team in the NFL this season and the sexual misconduct charges are still unresolved. The NFL will likely use paid leave as a fallback option if that comes to pass.