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Former Buccaneers quarterback and current co-host of "The Night Cap" on VSiN, Shaun Smith, reported on Wednesday that if things go well for Deshaun Watson on Friday at his grand jury trial, the Steelers would trade for Watson soon after.
Longtime Steelers reporter Gerry Dulac shot down King's report real quick and said the Steelers "ARE NOT" interested in signing Watson, according to team sources.
So, there are conflicting reports. Dulac obviously has more of a connection with the Steelers, as he's been covering the team for decades. However, King was with the Buccaneers for three years when Mike Tomlin was the secondary coach in Tampa Bay (2001-2003). Although, it's unclear whether King's source was from within the organization or not.
Despite Dulac's claims, King stood by his report.
“The ‘Bat phone’ and the ‘Bat email,’ I woke up this morning and had messages on both, that the interest is mutual,” King said. “Deshaun Watson has a no-trade clause in his contract. But Pittsburgh is his desired destination if he can find clarity with his legal situation. … From a draft asset standpoint, Pittsburgh will have to get creative. The player or players they can send back are far more impactful and significant than what Denver sent to Seattle, which lessens the need for the amount of draft assets that Seattle was able to acquire for Russell Wilson.
“This starts with Friday, if things go well and we find some clarity. And I was told that soon thereafter there could be an announcement that Deshaun Watson will be the next quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
I don't think King just made up the story, but I do think he was fed bad information. I just can't see the Steelers trading for Watson when he has 22 active civil lawsuits against him for sexual misconduct. In 2010, the Steelers wanted to trade Ben Roethlisberger after being accused of sexual assault twice. Why would things change now?
Roethlisberger wasn't charged with either accusation, the 2009 one was settled and the 2010 one was dropped, but at the time, the Steelers' patience with Roethlisberger was understandably growing thin. The same thing with Watson applies, there's just too much grey area. There are 22 allegations also. That's pretty sketchy. Watson is expected to plead the fifth on Friday.
Longtime Steelers reporter Jim Wexell tweeted, "Can’t see the Steelers coming within a thousand miles of this guy." I completely agree with Wexell. I just can't see it happening.
It would also take a lot of draft capital to trade for Watson, probably two first-round picks. There's also the potential that Watson will be suspended by the NFL whether he's charged or not. Just like Roethlisberger in 2010. It would just be way too risky to put faith in Watson leading the franchise given his legal issues.
The fan base is about 50/50 on trading for Watson. Watson is by far the best quarterback available, but the allegations against him are very serious and disturbing. It would be wise for the Steelers to stay far away from Watson.