Fourth-year quarterback for the Houston Texans, Deshaun Watson–who led the league in passing yards this season– is reportedly interested in a trade, despite recently signing a four-year contract extension worth $156 million in September.
According to Ian Rapoport, who reported the Deshaun Watson trade request, the quarterback’s frustration with the organization’s lack of player representation within the recent hiring processes. Specifically, Houston’s hiring of New England Patriots personnel director Nick Caserio as general manager has led Watson to entertain the possibility of a trade.
The Amazing Talents of Deshaun Watson
Watson, who received a 92.5 overall player grade from Pro Football Focus in 2020, thrived despite the Texans winning only four games and firing head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien after starting the season 0-4. His 4,823 passing yards and 33 passing touchdowns are starkly contrasted to the team’s lackluster record. With that being said, would Houston be making a crucial mistake in trading away their former first-round pick?
Watson’s upside as a player has quickly made him a conversation piece from the likes of “First Take” and “Undisputed” as voices like Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless are engrossed with Watson’s potential destination knowing that he could be a key piece to the puzzle for many teams. That being said, what will it take to keep him in the building?
Can Houston Fix This?
Watson wants his input to be taken into consideration as the franchise looks to hire a new head coach. He is righteously looking for respect from the organization that the superstar quarterback has become the face of.
If Watson is both unhappy with the team’s performance and feels pushed aside from having any say in the organization’s approach to hiring a new head coach, it makes sense that he would want to look elsewhere.
Bill O’Brien, who traded away star receiver Deandre Hopkins in the off-season, left Watson without one of the league’s best weapons at his disposal, but the numbers speak for themselves. Surrounded by the right cast, Watson could lead a team to a late playoff round. His value to a team cannot be understated, making a Deshaun Watson trade very complicated on many levels.
Does a Deshaun Watson Trade Make Sense for the Texans?
A GM who comes in and decides to let Watson go will set the precedent for the next chapter in a horrendous decision-making pattern of the Houston management.
The Houston organization should do anything to keep him in the building because he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but if Watson feels discounted and is seeking a trade, they might not be able to hold onto him in 2021.
There are plenty of teams who would benefit from a Deshaun Watson trade, but Watson has a full no-trade clause, meaning he can decide where he gets traded to. There are three teams, however, (in no particular order) that are considered the most likely to make a move this off-season.
Potential Deshaun Watson Trade Options
This would be the most direct trade, and if Houston is looking to rebrand bringing in a hungry Jimmy G would be a good fit if they plan on shifting identity. Watson would be a great fit for Kyle Shannahan and would make the 49ers contenders instantly in the NFC.
There is some history here. In this year’s draft, Miami has the third overall pick given to them by the Laremy Tunsil trade. If Houston is given that draft slot and brings in a star receiver, Watson could find his new favorite target and springboard into competing for first place in a revamped AFC East picture. Miami has the chips to bring in Deshaun, and although it would be a shock to the fanbase who has been somewhat tantalized by the prospects of “Tua Time”, Watson’s experience would propel the much improved Dolphins squad into playoff contention under Brian Flores.
#3 – Jacksonville gives up the number one overall pick in 2021 and their 2021 second-round pick to Houston in a Deshaun Watson trade.
Although these two teams compete in the same division, Houston could have the chance to bring in another Clemson quarterback by the name of Trevor Lawrence and give up Watson to a Jaguars team that is in similar shape to Houston having fired their head coach. Watson would be given the opportunity to approve of a trade like this, and if he is that unhappy in Houston, why not have the chance to compete against them twice a year? The two Clemson greats playing in the same division would be a blockbuster narrative for the NFL.
Will it Actually Happen?
In all likelihood, a Deshaun Watson trade is unlikely. The superstar QB will probably remain in Houston unless the incoming management wishes to start fresh. Losing a generational talent like Watson would be a big mistake, but if he’s unhappy with the organization’s decision-making, looking to trade him for the right pieces and draft picks might be an option a bold GM takes.
His long term future as a Texan is in question, and not many teams in need of a quarterback would pass up on a Deshaun Watson trade. The Texans will most likely see the amount of interest that he gets on the trade market and determine that if the rest of the league values him that high, that they probably should too.