As we sit here on Day 31 of Watson Watch, there are two things that have become quite evident over the last few weeks. First, Deshaun Watson has likely taken his last snap in a Texans uniform. Second, the trade market for Watson is going to be the most robust of any player put on the trade block (if and when the Texans start taking calls) in NFL history.
As of right now, the latest on Watson's stubborn mindset came from Chris Simms, former NFL quarterback turned broadcaster:
"I've been led to believe this - that there's no way that Deshaun Watson will play for the Houston Texans again," Simms said on PFT Live Monday. "Yeah, I'm saying that. I have been told by somebody that I trust that says 'Deshaun Watson will not play for the Houston Texans ever again, and he's willing to sit out football for the year if he has to.' That's where I've been led to understand this situation and where it's at right now, and like I said, it's someone that I trust very much."
There are at least a couple dozen teams that should minimally make a phone call to the Texans just to see what it would take to upgrade their quarterback position to the 25-year-old Watson. In reality, that couple dozen will be whittled down to probably five to, at most, ten teams that (a) have the desired capital for the Texans to pull the trigger, and (b) are enticing enough for Watson to waive his no-trade clause.
On Tuesday, we got our first inkling that Watson has actually thought through to the granular details of WHERE he would like to be sent in a deal. Mike Klis, longtime sports reporter in Denver, currently working for 9NEWS, said on 104.3 The Fan on Tuesday morning that the Broncos are among "four or five teams" on Watson's list of desired trade destinations:
For any NFL exec, coach, Texan fan, or media member dismissing this Watson trade saga as a media-driven or agent-driven fantasy, you might want to start taking this seriously. For what it's worth, if I had to guess which teams are the other four, aside from Denver, on Watson's list, I'd go with teams that have (a) high draft capital and (b) a quarterback who might come back to the Texans in a deal. To some degree, Watson is going to have to play nice, and entertain trade destinations that the Texans WANT to send him to.
I'd go with the following four teams:
NEW YORK JETS
Bright lights, big city. Watson would make a mint in marketing dollars in the Big Apple. The Jets have multiple first round picks in each of the next two drafts, and would also likely send reclamation project QB Sam Darnold back in the deal, as well.
The Dolphins have multiple first round picks this year, including the 3rd overall pick that was originally the Texans' pick (sent to Miami in the Laremy Tunsil deal), and young players they can send over in a deal. Second year QB Tua Tagovailoa would likely be part of this deal, going to the Texans.
Watson would be going back to the part of the country where he became a college football legend. The Panthers could send the Texans multiple picks, including the 8th overall pick, and would likely ship them QB Teddy Briudgewater as a veteran bridge to a young future quarterback.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
The 49ers were just a few minutes away from a Super Bowl win a year ago. If they had a real franchise QB, they might have won. The Niners would love to plunk Watson down into Kyle Shanahan's offense, and would send a package centered around the 12th overall pick in the draft, QB Jimmy Garoppolo, and possibly Pro Bowl defensive end Nick Bosa.
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