They were never a realistic destination, but team president Rod Wood confirmed the Lions did not seriously pursue a trade for Deshaun Watson.
The Detroit Lions are looking for their next franchise quarterback, assuming Jared Goff doesn’t somehow show he is that guy next season. However that ultimately looks, they did not aggressively pursue a trade for Deshaun Watson.
Lions president Rod Wood spoke to Detroit media Monday at the NFL meetings in Florida.
Regarding Watson, Via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
"We have a quarterback, so we were never in the game for that,” Wood said at the NFL’s annual meeting. “I don’t think — I don’t want to get into the off-the-field stuff and what the Browns talked about what they did and the other teams that pursued him, but it just wasn’t part of our plans.”"
Watson sat out of all last season with the Houston Texans, as he faced 22 allegations of sexual assault or misconduct. As the criminal element of those cases went away, the door was opened for a trade. The Cleveland Browns ultimately dealt five drafts picks (including three first-rounders) to Houston for Watson, and gave him a huge fully guaranteed contract.
The Lions were never a likely destination, or a serious suitor, for Deshaun Watson
Watson had a no-trade clause, so alongside the Texans getting the trade return they wanted he had final say on his destination. Even if the Lions had been comfortable with his off-the-field circumstance, Watson surely would not have approved a trade to Detroit.
Wood didn’t definitively say there were no discussions about trading for Watson. But it’s easy to assume any internal discussions didn’t get much further than simple due diligence, done when a potential franchise quarterback might be available. While other teams looked as deeply as possible into Watson’s legal situation and some ultimately took meetings with him, the Lions were long gone from a conversation to get him that they were never in.