The Houston Texans have finally surrendered to reality. After refusing to entertain offers for months, the Texans have reportedly reversed course and are open to trading quarterback Deshaun Watson. Where are Watson’s likeliest landing spots?
What is the latest in the legal situation facing Deshaun Watson?
While the possibility of a trade is an important development, it’s not the most important step. There’s still a ton of uncertainty surrounding the situation.
Teams that would have otherwise lined up for Watson’s services are treading carefully, interested to see how Watson’s legal situation plays out. He has been sued by nearly two dozen massage therapists who accuse him of sexual misconduct.
Houston police are investigating, as is the NFL. So it’s unclear if Watson will be available for all 17 games in 2021. Even if he’s not suspended, Watson still could be placed on paid leave by the commissioner if more damaging revelations emerge.
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What are the Texans asking for, and where are the likeliest landing spots for Deshaun Watson?
This makes the Texans’ asking price — at least three first-round picks, NFL Network reports “some combination of five high draft picks and starting-caliber players,” per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen — astronomical.
Our guess is that price eventually comes down. The sense has long been a deal eventually gets done. But with whom? We look at Watson’s most likely landing spots.
With as many as three first-round picks in 2022, nobody can hand the Texans more draft capital.
And with Jalen Hurts and a 36-year-old Joe Flacco their current options at quarterback, next to nobody has a bigger need.
Philadelphia Eagles sideline reporter Howard Eskin recently said there’s a “90% chance” Watson ends up in Philly. And while that seems a bit high, we think they’re the odds-on favorites.
And if Carson Wentz meets the playing time threshold for the Colts in 2021 (75% of snaps or 70% of snaps plus the Colts make the playoffs), the Eagles will have three firsts to dangle.
You know why the Eagles could have three first-round picks in 2022? Because the Dolphins sent them theirs to move up from No. 12 to draft Jaylen Waddle.
Without that swap, the Dolphins would be in the strongest position to trade for Watson.
While Miami is said to be encouraged by Tua Tagovailoa’s Year 2 development, Watson would be a clear upgrade and help put the Dolphins on a path to meet Stephen Ross’ Super Bowl expectations.
That’s why, as we wrote last week, Miami has kept tabs on the Watson situation with an open mind. Certainly Xavien Howard would be a valuable bargaining chip, should they decide to move on from their disgruntled star cornerback.
But having the extra first they briefly owned thanks to their trade with the 49ers certainly would have helped.
The Dolphins traded the pick they needed to possibly get one of these QB’ if Tua isn’t the guy. All to get the WR they prefer. Great move by Eagles, big mistake by Dolphins. All in on Tua with no back up path. https://t.co/WrZnfEkJhN
— Joe Banner (@JoeBanner13) July 19, 2021
Like the Dolphins and Eagles, the Broncos have questions about their young quarterback.
And with the part the Broncos played in the Aaron Rodgers saga, Denver has signaled it would certainly entertain an upgrade at that position.
Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater are currently competing for the starting job — neither is indispensable.
The Broncos don’t have the draft capital that Philadelphia or even Miami possess. But Watson does have a no-trade clause in his contract, and if he uses that leverage and wants to play in the Rockies, it would be foolish to count them out.
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