Where Could Deshaun Watson Be Traded?

Deshaun Watson reportedly wants out of Houston. He has had enough of the Houston Texans incompetency through his brief but exciting career.

Somehow I have become the trade muse for the Houston Texans after imploring them to trade JJ Watt.

However I wrote that with the understanding that Houston would do the correct and smart thing and build around their franchise quarterback, Deshaun Watson. Using the sacrificial lamb that is Watt for draft picks that they desperately need.

And perhaps that is what new general manager, Nick Caserio is thinking as well. He was banking on having Watson has his rock to build a brand new team around. It’s ten times easier to build a winning football team when you already have a young franchise quarterback at the helm. It’s what made the Texans an attractive spot at all.

But Watson was not impressed by the Texans plucking yet another apple from the Patriots and Belichick tree.

He has since deleted it, but he tweeted shortly after the Caserio news broke

Some things never change

And since then apparently he has talked to teammates about requesting a trade.

Quick sidebar, you gotta feel a little bit for the people of Houston. Their one and only championship recently has been vilified thanks to the Astros cheating scandal.

Their NBA super star, James Harden wants out. And now so does their NFL franchise QB.

But, they also get to enjoy warm weather year round, and they now have John Wall so is it really that bad?

Anyways, let’s have some fun and play a game. Say Watson forces his way out of Houston, where are some realistic places could he end up?

Watson’s Worth

First let’s break down Deshaun Watson’s value in a prospective deal. Because honestly there really hasn’t been a precedent for this type of deal.

First off, one has to consider the salary cap. Next season Watson is poised to make about $16 million against the cap.

However in 2022 that number explodes to around $40 million, as part of his humongous extension in what is a front loaded contract. At it’s highest point in 2023 he makes $42 million and a couple of years later in 2025 he’s set to rake in $32 million.

So you need teams with somewhat flexible cap situations, although for someone with the talent of Watson, swallowing that money is a no brainer.

Watson will be 26 at the start of next season. Arguably just entering his prime, and coming off of a career year. A year in which for the first time in his career he did not have possibly the best receiver in football in his huddle.

He led the entire league with 4,823 yards while notching career highs in completion percentage (70.2%) and touchdowns (33) while throwing a career low 7 interceptions.

Did I mention he no longer had Deandre Hopkins to throw to anymore?

JJ Watt wasn’t just being nice when he said that they wasted a year of Watson. He’s right on the money, hit the nail on the head. A complete and total waste. If Houston somehow won the division, Watson is definitely in the MVP conversation.

I mean at the very least you start with a couple of first round picks.

Actually there is a tweet that lives rent free in my head from ESPN’s Mina Kimes.

Seriously, whatever the original offer, unless it’s your next ten first round picks, it is not enough for Deshaun.

But sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.

Let’s see who might be calling Caserio today.

New England Patriots

Patriots fans are hoping Caserio pulls a Derek Jeter. Gut the Texans franchise and sell off it’s biggest assets to slash cap space etc.

However, honestly I think this idea exists only as a twitter rumor. The Texans are dumb, but I would have to imagine just for my hope in humanity that they are not this dumb.

At least when Jeter traded Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees, he was doing so knowing he was trading Stanton across different leagues.

I hate to break it to Patriots fans (And to myself) but this is in no way happening.

It has nothing to do with the Pats not being able to afford Watson. They have about $60 million in cap space. Or because they don’t have valuable assets to trade. They have plenty of picks, and have been dangling 2019 DPOY Stephon Gilmore for months.

It’s more of a optics look for the Texans and Caserio.

How does it look if they trade the best quarterback Houston has seen since Warren Moon to the team where their new GM just came from? A team that has knocked them out of the playoffs countless times over the last decade.

It would be like the rebels, volunteering to help build the second Death Star for the Empire.

And if you’re Caserio a trade like that doesn’t exactly build credibility.

The only fair trade between the Patriots and Houston revolving around Watson is if Belichick is sent to Houston in exchange as well. That’s it, that is the only fair trade and I for one am not ready to make that deal.

So sorry to New England fans with your countless Watson in a Pats uniform photoshopped edits, it’s not happening.

Chicago Bears

An interesting option here. Bears fans have been haunted by trading up to draft Mitchell Trubisky number two overall. A full 10 picks before the Texans took Watson.

Could that have a chance at a very expensive do-over?

Well for Chicago it would require shedding some salary. Because as of right now, they are in the red for 2021. Only by about $90,000 so very easy to make up. And trading some players to Houston in a potential deal could help them get back into the black.

However where Chicago lacks the real punch to land Watson is in their draft picks. They simply have their own for the next few years. No extra’s first rounders from other teams that they could throw in to help entice Houston.

New York Jets

This is the first team where it makes a lot of sense for a Watson trade to work.

The Jets have a the second most cap space in the league this upcoming off season. I mean who are they going to spend money on with that current roster?

They also have a slew of first round draft picks. Thanks to the Jamal Adams, they have the Seahawks next two first round picks. As well as their third rounder this year and fourth next year.

And the Jets still have all of their own first, second and third rounders for the foreseeable future.

And in debating myself, when I said it would be bad optics to trade Watson to New England because they are in the AFC. I will say here that it’s not a big deal to the Jets.

Sure they are in the same conference as Houston, but they are also the Jets. Even Houston thinks they are incompetent.

The main question here however is, do the Jets want to do this? They played themselves out of the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes sure, but there is still a ton of quarterback talent available to them at the number two pick.

They could even trade that second overall pick, add another first rounder in the process, and still be inside the top ten this year to grab a quarterback.

Sitting on a treasure trove of draft picks the Jets have to ask themselves. Should we use these on one player in Deshaun Watson? Or should we use them and try and fill holes in our roster that are basically everywhere.

San Francisco 49ers

It seems as though the Niners are about finished with Jimmy Garoppolo. While saying they are willing to move on if a better option becomes available is nothing super original, it does provide some context into the discussions being had in San Fran.

The Niners are nothing spectacular when it comes to draft picks to offer and cap space had.

But they do offer something most of these other teams can’t. Jimmy G.

Is Garoppolo anything spectacular or special? No he’s not. I think we have seen what Jimmy G is, but he is not a bad quarterback like people make him out to be.

And let’s not forget New England draft Garoppolo and by rumor was very reluctant to let him go. Which probably means Caserio would at least be interested in getting Garoppolo as a piece back for Watson.

It would allow Houston to ship Watson outside of the conference. It would give the Texans draft picks in return, and a quarterback that allows them to not completely fall on their face in the immediate post Watson era.

This one is an interesting option indeed.

Washington Football Team

I would usually dismiss this. Would Watson really want to go from one inept franchise to another? But then I remember, Washington is no stranger to making large, brash and un-precedented deals.

They traded a kings ransom to move up and draft Robert Griffin III. They’ve paid a pretty penny to go get guys like Josh Norman, Desean Jackson and Clinton Portis. Dan Snyder loves making blockbuster trades.

And as you look at this Washington roster, they actually are a Deshaun Watson away from being an extremely dangerous team.

They have plenty of cap space, and even more to come when Alex Smith is off their books as he is taking up about $23.3 million right now. And could even include him in the swap to Houston to be that stable veteran guy for the Texans to use for a year while they figure everything out.

They have their own first, second and third round picks for the future and the 49ers, third rounder this year.

If Houston were to put out a price tag that would make most sensible teams balk, Washington certainly won’t blink. We’ve seen them do it before, don’t be surprised.

Wherever Eric Bieniemy Goes

Apparently Watson possibly demanding a trade started with the fact that he asked Houston to interview Chiefs offensive coordinator, Eric Bieniemy, for the Texans vacant head coach position.

And Houston just flat out didn’t do it.

Can you blame Watson here? You’re the most valuable player on your team. That’s not an opinion of mine, that is a certified fact. Ownership does the right thing by asking him his opinion of who he wants as a coach.

Watson see’s what his direct counterpart in the AFC, Patrick Mahomes is doing with Bieniemy drawing up the offense and wants to replicate that.

And then ownership just flat out ignores him. Houston is New York Jets levels of stupid and incompetent.

You’re trying to tell me that you couldn’t even send the man a damn zoom link? Come on.

Bieniemy has interviewed with five different teams. The Jets (who we’ve already talked about), Lions, Falcons, Jaguars and Chargers.

Of those five there are three potential landing spots for Watson.

The Jaguars have the number one overall pick which is likely Trevor Lawrence. No offense to Watson but Lawrence seems like a slam dunk I would stick with that pick. Plus it would be a brain dead move for Houston to send Watson to a division rival and face him twice a year.

Then again it is Houston…

And the Chargers have Justin Herbert who seems like a franchise quarterback in his own right. No need to get crazy.

we already talked about the Jets, so let’s focus on the Lions and Falcons.

Both teams are fine with draft capital. They have their own first three rounds of picks with no extra’s via trade to speak of.

However their cap situation leaves a bit to be desired. The Lions have around $5.7 million free’d up for next season, and the Falcons are in a world of hurt. In the red by about $34 million.

However these teams can free up some money and add in an incredibly valuable trade chip by offering their current quarterbacks.

Both teams have been rumored to be possibly willing to move on from their current signal callers who are both veterans at this point.

Of all the possible QB’s I named earlier as trade bait (Jimmy G & Alex Smith) Matt Stafford and Matt Ryan trump all of them in terms of value.

If you are Houston, you could do a lot worse shipping off Deshaun Watson for picks and Matthew Stafford who is owed $33 million next season.

And if Watson digs his heels in and use his no trade clause and says he will only be traded to where Bieniemy is hired, it forces Houstons hand quite a bit and makes this a pretty believable situation.

Prediction: He Stays

While this is a fun exercise and brain tease I just can’t help but feel like Watson stays in Houston.

I 100% understand his frustration. He has seen his own franchise trade away his best weapon and he still put up career number but with no results in the win column.

He hoped to see the team go in a new direction rather than try and copy and paste the Patriots formula and they didn’t do that.

And when it came time to give his two cents about a new coaching hire he ignored.

But I think Caserio and the new head coach will be able to meet and talk to him about their plan moving forward. And in the end cooler heads will prevail.

I don’t know Watson personally, but he seems genuine and loyal. He wants to succeed in Houston and bring the Texans to places they’ve never been before.

And the logistics of trading away a clear cut franchise quarterback is an undertaking no one else has attempted in the NFL.

Even still, best of luck Deshaun, you need it.

Connor Ryan (@connoryan68/@PodVerbalCommit/@YourFantasy_CGS)

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