BOSTON (CBS) — Deshaun Watson was expected to be the biggest name on the NFL trade market around the NFL Draft, and the Houston Texans were expecting to have a giant bidding war take place for the franchise quarterback. That has all changed since Watson was hit with 22 civil suits accusing him of sexual harassments and assault, with trade calls dwindling on the quarterback.

But prior to Watson’s legal issues, eight teams showed interest in trading for Watson, according to The Houston Chronicle’s John McClain. That included the New England Patriots.

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It really should come as no surprise that Bill Belichick at least made a call to his old pal Nick Caserio in Houston regarding Watson. The Patriots still have a giant question mark at quarterback, with Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham making up New England’s current depth chart at the position. The Patriots could address their need for a QB of the future in the upcoming draft, potentially trading up from the No. 15 overall selection to snag one of the top five passers in the draft, or they could take a project quarterback in the later rounds.

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According to McClain, Houston was hoping to receive a package for Watson made up of three first-round picks, a pair of second-round picks and a defensive starter. The Texans may now have to settle for a much smaller package for Watson, especially if he’s dealt after the draft, when five potential suitors will likely take a QB in the first round.

It’s unclear if Belichick would have been willing to pay that massive price tag for Watson, though New England did have starting cornerback Stephon Gilmore to dangle in discussions. And if the Pats don’t land the QB they want at the draft, perhaps they’ll be willing to pick up the phone and start talking with the Texans again.

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But if anything is clear, the Patriots have explored just about every option at quarterback ahead of the draft.

CBSBoston.com Staff