They have denied it.
They have danced around it.
Finally, they have disclosed it.
“I think we’ll take it one day at a time,'' Houston Texans GM Nick Caserio tells Albert Breer of SI.com, "and everything is pretty fluid here and we’ll adjust as we go.''
That is far from the "absolutely not'' position that Caserio and the organization have taken all offseason - even though behind closed doors, as TexansDaily.com has reported often, Houston long ago started fielding phone calls and most recently had a plan in place to trade Watson - as has been his wish since he felt betrayed by the front office as it made its hires of Caserio and new coach David Culley - until the weight of the recent sexual assault allegations caused the plan to collapse.
But the circumstances have change dramatically. Caserio would be less than truthful to not concede that.
And so he is done arguing against the possibility of Watson being dealt.
That concession doesn't begin to solve all of the problems here, for the player and for the franchise. Watson’s legal issues now feature 19 sexual assault lawsuits (with more to come, apparently). Logically, that makes it more difficult for Houston to get the proper reward in trade. Additionally, with that cloud hanging over Watson - a cloud that could conceivably include an NFL suspension - bidding teams are challenged to know exactly what they are getting.
And on the field? Culley will be trying to install a new problem and lead a team with its locker-room leader in limbo.
So is Caserio more open to trading Watson than he has previously asserted?
“I think,'' he says, "ultimately we’ll do what we feel is best for the organization.”