After months of denying interest and rejecting calls about star quarterback Deshaun Watson, the Houston Texans finally shifted their stance on his availability. The Texans are now willing to listen to trade offers for Watson, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Watson, who reported to Texans’ training camp last week in order to avoid the CBA-mandated $50,000-a-day fine, has an incredibly high price tag.
The Texans have been asking for the moon in return for the 26-year-old playmaker, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. A package of high draft picks and players are the demanded price, and it makes sense as long as Watson’s legal situation plays out favorably for the former Clemson Tiger.
Notably, Watson is the subject of 22 civil suits that accuse him of coercive and lewd behavior. No criminal charges have been filed yet. The NFL has thus far opted against placing Watson on the commissioner’s exception list, which would essentially serve as an administrative suspension until the league decides Watson is again eligible to play. There are multiple directions this saga could go depending on investigations and the NFL can serve punishment regardless of what happens in court.
It’s clear the Texans want a haul in return for Watson even if he misses time in 2021. Locked into a new five-year, $156 million deal, Watson is considered a long-term asset. He’s one of the top-five quarterbacks in the league and will change a franchise upon his arrival.
We’re looking at six teams that would immediately jump to contender status if they can land Watson. Each franchise can offer a unique trade package and roster to entice both the Texans and for Watson to waive his no-trade clause.
Offer: QB Tua Tagovailoa, CB Xavien Howard, 2022 first-round pick (from 49ers) and 2023 first-round pick
Miami would vault from an up-and-coming team with a great defense to seeing their dreams as a contender come true. This trade would complete a massive overhaul under head coach Brian Flores. Moving Tua Tagovailoa, either to the Texans or being rerouted for Houston to collect more assets, for Watson removes any question marks about whether the Dolphins have what they need at quarterback to win big.
Watson would love Miami’s deep corps of receivers. DeVante Parker, Jaylen Waddle, Mike Gesicki, and reconnecting with Will Fuller would be the most dynamic and speed-oriented offense he’s been a part of throughout his career. Though Miami’s offensive line is still a project, Watson’s a master at overcoming issues along that unit. His ability to extend plays would immediately make Miami one of the scariest offenses in the NFL.
In return, Houston would get a quarterback they loved in the 2020 NFL Draft in Tagovailoa, a plethora of picks, and a superstar cornerback. Xavien Howard could immediately be the face of the defense or be peddled elsewhere for another draft pick. Houston’s rebuild would significantly benefit from taking Miami’s unique set of assets.
Offer: QB Daniel Jones, TE Evan Engram, 2022 first-round pick (from Bears), 2022 and 2023 first-round pick
Quietly, the Giants have assembled one of the stronger defenses in the league. Gambles on linebacker Blake Martinez and cornerback James Bradberry paid off handsomely as each had career 2020 seasons. Combined with a star-studded defensive line and high-end potential of edge rusher Azeez Ojulari and corner Adoree’ Jackson, this unit can be special.
The offense has similar highlights but one major concern: quarterback Daniel Jones. He’s been a turnover machine through two seasons with 29 fumbles and 22 interceptions. Imagine where this team would be if they could simply win the turnover battle.
That concern not only dissipates with Watson at the helm but becomes a strength for this explosive offense. Watson would have tremendous deep playmaking skill around him thanks to Kenny Golladay and Darius Slayton. He’d also benefit from Saquon Barkley’s return from an ACL tear.
The Giants would immediately become a second-tier NFC team with the potential to reach the Super Bowl.