Sean Pendergast

Resetting the Trade Big Board For Deshaun Watson One Last Time In 2021

Can the Texans get a good deal done for Deshaun Watson before November 2nd?
Can the Texans get a good deal done for Deshaun Watson before November 2nd? Photo by Eric Sauseda
For the last couple months, up until last week, the Deshaun Watson trade rumor mill had been largely dormant, save the occasional national writer putting some obvious smoke out there to bump up their clout rating and get clicks. Then, middle of last week, we got this tweet from an actual local Houston reporter, Mark Berman of FOX 26:

This was significant because (a) Mark Berman had not yet reported anything throughout the Watson saga on the likelihood of a trade, even when the rumors were at a fever pitch last spring, and (b) Mark Berman doesn't just throw stuff out there irresponsibly. He is a very accurate and responsible reporter. So it stands to reason that, since Berman tweeted this, the validity of the rumors and the perceived likelihood of Watson being moved before next Tuesday have both remained high.

Whether the driving force behind the sudden urgency to move Watson is coming because of "godfather" level offers from the Dolphins, or because (and sadly, more likely) the Texans just want to be done with this and are ready to move off of their asking price, we do not know. What we do know is that we are down to our last six days of 2021 where a trade is even possible under league rules.

So as prep work for the next week, let's recalibrate the teams that could be calling Nick Caserio with offers for a top 10 NFL quarterback under contract for the next four seasons after 2021. Keep in mind, Watson has a "no trade clause" in his contract, so he has final approval over where he goes.  By my estimation, here is the big board:


THE FAVORITE

MIAMI DOLPHINS
The Dolphins fell to 1-6 on the season with a loss to Atlanta at home this past weekend. They've been the favorite to land Watson all along, as they have the combination of things the Texans like (multiple future first round picks) and things Watson likes (warm weather, an owner not named Cal McNair, an extensive rolodex of massage parlors).

COMING ON STRONG

CAROLINA PANTHERS
The reports last week were that Carolina had been placing cursory calls into Caserio, but that they had backed off of trying to trade for Watson this season. Then their starting QB Sam Darnold was benched in a 25-3 loss to the Giants last weekend, and evidently, it's ON again for owner Dave Tepper. The Panthers, at the very least, can provide a second bidder to up the ante for Watson.


ON THE FRINGE

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
It's been reported that Watson does not want to go to Philadelphia, but since they have multiple first round picks to trade in 2022 and issues at quarterback (sorry, Channelview's own Jalen Hurts), they will make calls to the Texans and the Texans will listen.

DENVER BRONCOS
The Broncos started the season 3-0, but have fallen back to earth with four losses in a row. It was believed that Watson would approve a trade to the Broncos, who probably have the best overall roster of any of the teams I've mentioned so far in this post, but they may not have the draft equity to get the deal done.

WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM
Washington has not been mentioned this go round, but their season is sliding into the toilet at 2-5, and they were reportedly trying to trade for Watson last season. With the Football Team dealing with all sorts of off field drama over the last year — fines for a toxic work environment, email trails a decade long of some really damning stuff — taking on a player with 22 civil lawsuits open against him might not be the wisest thing in the world.

2022 DARK HORSES
These are teams who aren't in on the Watson talks right now (presumably), but would have real good reasons to call Nick Caserio after the 2022 season is over.

CLEVELAND BROWNS
The big question in Cleveland is whether or not to offer a big contract extension to Baker Mayfield. The fear is giving Mayfield, say, $35 million per year to be slightly above average. Watson is far better than "slightly above average."

PITTSBURGH STEELERS
If Ben Roethlisberger retires after this season is over — he is 40 years old — then this is a roster set up to win now with elite quarterback play. Watson is elite.

NEW YORK GIANTS
The Giants have a third year quarterback, Daniel Jones, who may not be "the guy" going forward. The Giants have two first round picks in 2022, their own and Chicago's, and New York would presumably be a place that the marketing-conscious Watson would approve a trade to.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Jameis Winston is probably a one-year solution in New Orleans. Playing for Sean Payton would likely appeal to Watson greatly.

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast