Houston Texans star Deshaun Watson has demanded a trade. While the team remains adamant about keeping him and wants to try and fix the relationship, he is hellbent on never playing another snap for the team again.
It’s a dramatic change from just a few months ago when Watson inked a four-year, $156 million extension just ahead of the 2020 season. Obviously, Watson’s issues with the Texans’ organization has played the largest role here.
If the 25-year-old quarterback is traded, there’s only a handful of teams who would not be interested in his services. Despite some glowing issues on the offensive line and at the skill positions, Watson led the NFL with 4,823 passing yards this past season. He added 36 total touchdowns against just seven interceptions.
Locked in under contract through the 2025 season and set to count a mere $15.94 million against the cap in 2021, Watson would net Houston one of the most-lucrative bounties we have ever seen. It’s in this that we look at the four-most realistic Deshaun Watson trade offers that could be headed the Texans’ way here soon.
Related: Ideal Deshaun Watson trade scenarios
New York Jets offer the house in Deshaun Watson trade
Details: Houston Texans trade Deshaun Watson to the New York Jets for the 2nd overall pick, 34th overall pick, Jets’ 2022 first- and second-round selections, 2023 first-round pick.
The Jets make obvious sense in this regard. Watson was upset that the Texans did not as much as interview Robert Saleh for their head coach job before he ended up in New Jersey. There’s obviously some type of built-in relationship in that regard. Remember, Watson has a no-trade clause. He can, to an extent, dictate where he goes should Houston put the star quarterback on the block.
This Deshaun Watson trade includes Houston acquiring the No. 2 pick, which could prove to be valuable in a potential trade-down scenario should the team opt to go with Darnold as its starter in 2021. The Jets have already been linked to trade-down options short of this blockbuster coming to fruition.
Acquiring an additional first-round pick in 2021 would also help the Texans overcome their lack of draft capital stemming from the now-infamous trades Bill O’Brien made in his short tenure as their general manager. Second-round picks the next two years add to that war chest. This could be the best realistic trade offer Houston receives. In turn, the Jets get their franchise quarterback for up-and-coming offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur.
In the above deal, there are even more possibilities for the Texans. If they stay at No. 2 overall, they can take an offensive tackle like Penei Sewell. From there begins a complete rebuild, putting Laremy Tunsil, J.J. Watt and many others on the trade block.
New England Patriots come calling
Details: Patriots offer up cornerback Stephon Gilmore, first-round picks in 2021, 2022 and 2023, second-round pick in 2022 and 2023
We know Bill Belichick is going to get involved in these talks. There’s no way on God’s green earth that he will pass up on the opportunity to acquire a proven 25-year-old franchise quarterback to a take over for Tom Brady after the disastrous one-year tenure of Cam Newton in New England.
New England would have to offer up a whole heck of a lot for Houston to trade Watson to a conference rival. In fact, the Texans would likely take less to move him to the NFC. It’s the nature of the beast. The pettiness and the like. However, new Texans general manager Nick Caserio obviously has a built-in relationship with Belichick. That could move the needle a bit.
This specific trade nets the Texans a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year in Stephon Gilmore at a need position. Heck, they could even move him for more draft-pick assets. Acquiring first-round picks the next three years and multiple second-rounders would add to the bounty.
As for the Patriots, it’s all about keeping any resemblance of a championship window open with the second-oldest head coach in the NFL leading the charge. Belichick is not going to go into full-scale rebuild mode. Giving up the farm in an attempt to duplicate the Brady years would be one last-ditch effort from the all-time great coach.
Related: 49ers QB options for 2021
San Francisco 49ers find franchise quarterback for Kyle Shanahan
Details: 49ers offer up Nick Bosa, Jimmy Garoppolo, first-round pick in 2021 and first-round pick in 2022
Realistically, a Deshaun Watson trade to the 49ers might make the most sense. He has to love the idea of teaming up with an innovative offensive mind in that of Kyle Shanahan. San Francisco’s surplus of skill-position talent, George Kittle included, as well as the likelihood stud left tackle Trent Williams returns has to be appealing.
From Houston’s perspective, moving Watson out of the AFC has to be a primary objective. It’s similar to when Caserio helped orchestrate the Garoppolo trade to San Francisco back in 2017. Remember, the Cleveland Browns and other AFC teams offered up more for him.
Not only does Houston get a stopgap quarterback in Garoppolo to man the ship, it picks up a likely long-term replacement for the soon-to-be departed J.J. Watt in the form of reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Nick Bosa. Heck, Caserio could likely turn Bosa into multiple first-round picks in a separate trade. Add in two first-round picks, and this would be an interesting trade offer for Houston.
Miami Dolphins pull off massive Deshaun Watson trade
Details: Miami Dolphins trade 3rd overall pick, 18th overall pick, 50th overall pick, 2022 first-round pick, Tua Tagovailoa, 2023 second-round pick to Houston Texans for Deshaun Watson.
Miami is being linked to Watson on a near never-ending loop. The primary reason for this is that the team boasts both the Texans’ first and second-round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft. That includes the No. 3 overall selection. Now, would Houston trade with Miami again after it was hoodwinked by the organization in previous deals? I am not too sure.
This scenario includes the Texans getting a potential franchise quarterback in that of 2020 No. 5 overall pick Tua Tagovailoa, who had an up-and-down rookie season. While a change of scenery this soon in his NFL career might be challenging at first, this could put Tua in a position to be a great quarterback.
He would head into 2021 completely healthy, giving him the full practice reps and training he didn’t receive during his preparation as a rookie. Plus, the Texans would have the draft capital to help build a foundation around Tagovailoa.
Houston needs a total rebuild and the hiring of David Culley, with a five-year contract, confirms there is a lot of work to be done. While trading Deshaun Watson won’t be easy, this would likely be in the team’s greatest interest.
Carolina Panthers trade for Deshaun Watson
Details: Carolina Panthers trade 8th overall pick, 40th overall pick, 2022 first- and second-round picks,, 2023 second-round pick, Jeremy Chinn to Houston Texans for Deshaun Watson.
Carolina showed tremendous growth this season in Matt Rhule’s first season as head coach. It’s clear a great environment is forming here and the weapons are in place for an electrifying offense. Christian McCaffrey, when healthy, is the best offensive weapon and running back in the NFL. D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel and Robby Anderson are talented, young receivers who form an outstanding trio. Of course, offensive coordinator Joe Brady is a brilliant play-caller and will likely be a head coach in 2022.
The Panthers need a quarterback who can push this team over the top; it isn’t Teddy Bridgewater. Franchise-changing quarterbacks don’t come along often. We saw what Cam Newton did for this team and that was accomplished despite not having a quality supporting cast around him. With a new regime in charge, things would be a lot different for Watson in Carolina.
This is a cost easy to justify for the Panthers. Trading a top-10 pick is practically a must to even get in the conversation for a Deshaun Watson trade. The additional first-round picks they would send likely land in the 24-30 range in the next two seasons with Watson under center. While trading Jeremy Chinn is a blow for the defense, it’s the price of doing business for an MVP-caliber quarterback.
For the Texans, this move fills plenty of desires. They land a building block for their defense, a player who can become an impact player at linebacker or safety. The No. 8 overall pick can be used on a cornerback like Caleb Farley or edge rusher Kwity Paye, remodeling this team’s future identity around its defense.
While Houston would be left without a quarterback, this team isn’t winning many games in 2021 regardless. This could be a Jacksonville Jaguars’ scenario, where they have the No. 1 overall pick along with multiple top-50 selections. Quite the starter kit for a rebuild.