The speculation continues, as Deshaun Watson and the Texans are yet to find peace. Is there a chance he sticks around, yes I believe so, but speculation is still a TONNE of fun to talk about. So let’s look at three scenarios that are not currently being floated around.
Deshaun Watson is still only 25 years old, and as our very own Tom put it on this weeks podcast, he makes 31 out of 32 NFL teams better, with the exception of the Kansas City Chiefs. There’s a reason almost EVERY team has been considered as an option for the franchise quarterback. I’m taking a look at three of those teams today…
Where’s Deshaun Watson from? Well he grew up in Gainesville, Georgia. Less than an hour away from… the Atlanta Falcons. His journey started as a ball boy… for yep, you guessed it, the Atlanta Falcons…
The Falcons are mid tier in terms of income tax, sitting at around 6%, with average sales taxes in comparison to the rest of the league too. So in this hypothetical trade scenario, you’d rank the Falcons in the middle from an incoming multi millionaire quarterbacks financial perspective. It’s not the very competitive 0% you can find in Florida, but it’s not the worst either.
Matt Ryan, now 35, has been talked about in scenarios that see the Falcons moving on, along with Julio Jones, who turns 32 this week. With the number four pick in the draft, there’s a large belief that this will be the quarterback for the future, as the Falcons begin to think about the long term make up of their franchise.
The key thing for any trade partner with Houston, is that they get young pieces to build their team around, and a boat load of picks to also benefit that process. So the Falcons will need to think about what they have, and what they’re willing to give up to get a young Deshaun Watson in the building. Their most valuable asset right now to the Texans is that number four pick, but that alone won’t get it done.
Consider this. If the Falcons approach the Texans with this offer, and have the advantage of being the ‘home’ team for Deshaun Watson. Would it be considered?
- Round 1 Pick 4 in the 2021 draft
- Round 1 Pick in 2022
- Round 3 Pick 68 in the 2021 draft
- Round 5 Pick 132 in the 2021 draft
- Matt Ryan – QB
- Dante Fowler – Edge
- Deshaun Watson
- JJ Watt
The thing is, you can’t necessarily class Matt Ryan as an asset, because his contract off sets what he brings to the table, and there are of course contract complications with Ryan’s contract and the dead money. it would cause, but you can work on a restructure etc. However, as a mentor, he would be an amazing addition for the Texans as they draft their guy for the future with the number 4 pick. Of course, this pick is not as ideal as the Jets pick would be at number two, but you can expect the Texans to be very active should they land in this spot. Do they trade up with the Jets to make sure they get their pick of the litter after Trevor Lawrence.
As for the rest of the picks and pieces they’re getting… It’s two first round picks, so you get another one next season. The Texans are of course desperate for draft picks, and will squeeze as many as they can out of any trade partner they can find, but I think this is realistic for Atlanta, considering the fact that they’re rebuilding themselves. You can’t give up the entire future of your franchise, otherwise bringing in Deshaun Watson would be null and void.
Adding JJ Watt into the trade makes sense for the Texans from a cost save perspective, and they get Dante Fowler in exchange, who’s younger, and able to contribute to the pass rush in Houston.
Drew Lock hasn’t had the easiest ride so far in the NFL in terms of injuries, and I was so high on the Broncos heading into this season, that it was kind of a shame to see them struggle the way they did. The injuries played a part, but there’s definitely questions around whether Lock is the answer for the Broncos long term.
So with all the weapons they could possibly need in place on offence, Denver would certainly be an attractive landing spot for Deshaun. With Courtland Sutton back this year, and the additions of Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler in round 1 and 2 of the NFL draft, plus Noah Fant and Albert O at tight end, and Melvin Gordon at running back, you can’t ask for much more as a quarterback in the way of weapons. The Broncos are in a window where they need to figure out the right guy at quarterback NOW, while all of their talent is very young and inexpensive.
The Broncos have a strong offensive line, a very good secondary, and a couple of elite pass rushers too. They’re not that far away from where they’d like to be. They’re also in a very healthy cap situation right now. So make a push, submit a hefty trade, roll the dice and bring Deshaun Watson to Denver to work with all those weapons. I think it would honestly be truly spectacular. Here’s how I’d draw it up:
- Drew Lock
- Round 1 Pick 9 in the 2021 draft
- Round 2 Pick 40 in the 2021 draft
- Round 1 Pick in 2022 draft
- Round 3 Pick in 2022 draft
- Deshaun Watson
The first round pick from Denver is still top 10, plus they’re getting a quarterback who’s only two seasons into his career, and might still be a possibility for a franchise quarterback. Or, worst case scenario, a good trading piece if needed down the line. If the Texans did this, I’d still expect to see maybe Trey Lance taken with the pick at 9. They then have a host of picks in the next couple of years and can begin to rebuild.
As for the Broncos, that offence would be terrifying. Defensively they have some gaps to fill, granted. They likely need at least one corner, but they’re not a million miles away and as I said, their 2020 record is not a reflection of what they’re capable of. So add Deshaun Watson, playoff team. No doubt.
Now this is one that I brought up on the podcast this week…
You can listen to my theory above, around the 24 minute mark, where I raise the point on giving up an elite defensive player in order to find a franchise quarterback for the next 10 plus years. Deshaun Watson is a top 2 talent at the position in the league right now, and for that reason, you can’t rule anything out.
So talking about Washington, what would they have, that interests Houston, because of course, their draft pick got squashed into the 20s as they made the playoffs. So they don’t have the luxury of a top 10 pick, which is something Houston so badly needs, as they’re going to need to draft a quarterback. Washington’s other issue, is they don’t really have a quarterback to offer in exchange, so you’re thinking, well how the hell is this trade going to work then?
- Chase Young – Edge
- Ronald Darby – CB
- Round 1 Pick 19 in the 2021 draft
- Round 2 Pick 51 in the 2021 draft
- Round 3 Pick 82 in the 2021 draft
- Deshaun Watson
Now do not get me wrong. Chase Young is an incredible talent. But currently, he’s a luxury you can afford to part with, that would be incredibly attractive to a rebuilding team. Elite defensive pass rush of Chase Youngs athletic stature is hard to find yes, but it’s not Deshaun Watson rare. The same goes for the likes of Nick Bosa, TJ Watt. Elite defensive players, but would you give them up in exchange for a QB like Deshaun? Yes.
The Washington football team were SECOND in the league for least yards allowed per game this season. Their defence is very good. They’ve spent the last four years building that defensive line, yes, why break it up? Because you can offer one quarter of that line, albeit maybe the best of the four, in exchange for your franchise quarterback for years to come. It hurts, we love Chase Young, but you should do it.
As for giving up your first three rounds worth of picks, that’s a lot in one draft yes, but Washington have two third rounders, so they’d still be able to make a selection in round 3, which should absolutely be additional weapons for your new signal caller. Washington are also in an even more comfortable salary cap situation, before making any additional moves, so could head into free agency and grab somebody like Allen Robinson or Juju to pair with Terry McLaurin. Running back Antonio Gibson looked great in his rookie year, but they will need to add one or two more weapons to their offence.
If they do these things, they can almost claim what is currently a weak division for the next few seasons, and cement themselves as a playoff favourite.
Deshaun Watson out… who’s in?
You might also be looking at this thinking well hold on, what are the Texans going to do about a quarterback? Pick 19 is surely too late. Well no not necessarily, you could still look at the likes of Mac Jones or Kyle Trask, or take a flyer on somebody like Ian Book in round 3 or 4. You don’t HAVE to find the long term replacement for Deshaun Watson immediately. Take a season with a journeyman QB, or a rookie you like the tape on, and see what happens. This rebuild for Houston is not going to happen overnight, so for me there’s no real rush to find a 15 year long serving QB right now.
But look at what you do get. Three stakes in this years draft, including a top 20 first rounder. You then get a good solid corner in Ronald Darby, which is something the Texans have stated they wanted in a trade, a good cornerback. Then you get the best individual talent from last years draft, who was a top 2 pick only one year ago. Chase Young is your next JJ Watt. He can be the face of Houston, he’s a leader, and he’s exactly what you need on a rebuilding defence. It’s a crazy trade yes, and Houston fans I’m sure will say if they’re not getting a quarterback or a top 3 pick in exchange then they don’t want. to know. But for the haul of picks, and a talent like Young, i’d listen. As for Houston, this would be crazy exciting.