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Attorney for Women Suing Watson: Settlement Talks Broke Down Over NDAs

Tony Buzbee, the attorney representing the 22 women suing Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, said settlement talks between the two sides broke down recently because of language Watson's legal team insisted they include in nondisclosure agreements. 

"In what was submitted to us, there were nondisclosure agreements and many of the women pushed back on those," Buzbee told Houston's Fox26 on Tuesday.

Watson was not traded ahead of the NFL's deadline earlier this week, despite countless rumors about a possible deal. According to NFL Network, Watson not settling his legal situation resulted in him not getting traded. 

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Tuesday that while the Dolphins did their due diligence on a potential Watson deal, team owner, Stephen Ross, made the final decision not to acquire the Houston quarterback.

"Whether he’s in Miami or Houston or wherever he goes, it doesn’t change our case," Buzbee told Fox26. "Bottom line was, apparently, at some point the Dolphins wanted 22 settlements. I made it clear, after talking to my clients, that that wasn’t gonna happen and then they lowered that number. I made that clear that wasn’t gonna happen. Watson’s team was trying to sell the Dolphins on some lower number and I think that never came to pass."

Buzbee added that "there was an insistence of a very, very robust non-disclosure agreement" and that for some of the women it was the "deal-breaker."

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"Everyone was different, but there was some insistence on a non-disclosure agreement," he said.

The Texans have not played Watson this season and do not plan to play him. He is facing 22 civil lawsuits and at least 10 criminal complaints alleging sexual assault or sexual misconduct during sessions with various massage therapists.

The NFL is investigating Watson's conduct, as are local police. There is also an open grand jury probe into criminal misconduct.

Watson's attorney, Rusty Hardin, has long publicly denied Watson's wrongdoing. And in July, he told ESPN that Watson would not sign any settlement that included a confidentiality agreement. "I do not want anybody to be saying that this guy paid off women to stay quiet," he said then.

Texans owner Cal McNair had reportedly told people in private of his desires to trade Watson ahead of Tuesday's deadline. However, with Watson still with the franchise, the team is now expected to re-open those discussions this offseason.

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