Privately, they’re preparing for the seemingly inevitable, according to the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain. The Texans beat writer reported on Sunday that the team has an idea in mind of the return they’d seek in a deal for Watson.
It is, as expected, a hefty ask. According to McClain, the team would want in a Watson deal: two first-round draft picks, two second-round selections and two young defensive starters. And that would be a starting point.
The Rams-Lions trade will have nothing to do with a Watson trade if the Texans do it. They'll want 2 ones, 2 twos and 2 young defensive starters, at the least. Watson, 25, under contract, great QB, team leader, beloved by fans, pillar of the community. Start with the Jets.
— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) January 31, 2021
Is Watson worth it?
While that is a huge haul, it’s also reasonable considering that Houston’s hypothetical trade partner would receive a 25-year-old three-time Pro Bowl quarterback. QBs at Watson’s level at this point in their careers just don’t become available. That is a testament to Houston’s dysfunctional front office.
A historic trade acquisition would fittingly require a massive package in return.
Who might pay the price?
So who would pay that price? That’s largely unclear.
Count the New York Jets as prime candidates. Watson — who has a no-trade clause in his contract — reportedly prefers the New York Jets as a destination over the Miami Dolphins — or any other team. According to the Miami Herald, Watson likes the idea of playing for new head coach Robert Saleh, whom the Texans reportedly did not consider in their coaching search.
The Jets hold the No. 2 pick in April’s draft, which would presumably come with the option to select a quarterback like Ohio State’s Justin Fields or BYU’s Zach Wilson.
Any NFL team that doesn’t line up Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson or Josh Allen every Sunday should at least kick the tires on a trade.
A win-now team that needs an upgrade at quarterback like the San Francisco 49ers would also be an intriguing trade partner. Would they have to give up Nick Bosa in return? It seems likely.
Whatever comes of trade talks, the Texans should find themselves with no shortage of suitors. When and if a trade goes down, it will be a blockbuster.
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