When it was announced that Brian Flores would be joining the Pittsburgh Steelers as a defensive assistant, many wondered whether this could open the door for Deshaun Watson to make his move to the Steel City as well.
The speculation was warranted, too, as reports were swirling earlier in the year that Watson and Flores had been keeping in touch, with the possibility of the duo pairing up wherever the latter was hired.
Unfortunately for Steelers fans, all the speculation may be nothing more than…well…speculation.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the likelihood of Watson joining Flores may have taken a hit when Flores signed on as the Steelers’ defensive assistant. Fowler points out the fact that the decision on Pittsburgh’s next quarterback will be one that’s made by Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert. It’s unlikely that Flores has much of a say in the decision, which makes sense, seeing as how he’ll be working on the defensive side of the ball.
Fowler also points out Watson’s legal issues and the criminal investigation that’s still taking place following allegations of sexual assault with his massage therapists.
Here’s how Fowler explained it during his appearance on SportsCenter on Sunday:
“In the offseason and leading up to the trade deadline last year, sort of the worst kept secret was that Deshaun Watson had interest in playing for Brian Flores in Miami, but that ship has sort of sailed as Miami has transitioned to Mike McDaniel and they’re going to stick with Tua Tagovailoa. With the Steelers and what they do at quarterback, that’ll be a Mike Tomlin call, a GM Kevin Colbert call, and then the eventual new GM, which should be hired before the draft. They would decide if they go for a player such as Watson and there’s still zero clarity here on his case.
“He was supposed to have a deposition on the case over the sexual assault allegations next week, (but) I’m told that could be postponed. There’s a criminal investigation that’s still not complete at this point. There are really two windows for trade talk to potentially intensify — you’ve got free agency and then the draft. After that, it’s pretty uncertain.”
Any team that decides to pursue Watson prior to the end of his investigation knows that they’re taking a huge risk. Would the Steelers be up for for trading away key assets for a quarterback facing such an uncertain future?
When you put it like that, it seems much more likely that Tomlin and Colbert look elsewhere to fill their void at QB.