In recent events following the hiring of newly appointed GM Nick Caserio, the Texans have found themselves in a bit of a predicament. They don’t have a 1st round pick or a coach and now their recently signed franchise QB is irate. Reports claim that Watson was left out of the team’s executive hiring process and was caught off guard by the acquisition of Caserio.
The NFL can be dramatic at times, so we will see really how uncomfortable Watson is with the organization. There is still a (very likely) chance that Watson takes some time away from the building and this entire situation blows over. It is also important to note that Watson was totally on board with Caserio, but the process of hiring left him feeling disrespected and in the dark. It would take a lot for the Texans to feel like they are getting any benefit from moving Watson and certainly would be in the Texans best interest if they all just shook hands and moved on. The Texans are on the hook for over $20M of his guaranteed contract along with the no trade clause that Watson was granted as well (Watson has mentioned he would waive the clause). Watson clearly wants out of Houston, which poses the question of what is he really worth?
For this to work out there almost certainly would need to be several high value picks involved. This trade is not going to work out with a straight up player for player deal, so there will likely need to be much more to convince the Texans. The going rate should start with at least two 1st Round picks, and at least one of those being in 2021. Since the order has already been decided for the suitors, their pick will carry much more value and will also help fill the void left by the Texans having already traded away their 1st round pick. Along with the two 1st, there should also be a combination of a couple of mid-round picks. That could be a 2nd and a 5th, 3rd and a 4th or some other similar combination. This will give the Texans a shot at some quality role players with a possibility to start in the future.
Another bargaining chip that could be useful for the Texans would be a QB that could take over for the departing Watson. They likely aren’t going to find anyone close to the talent level of what they’ve got, but they certainly could take a chance on a young, developing player who won’t cost them a dime. By acquiring a QB it would also help them fill holes elsewhere in the Draft rather than taking a shot on a QB right away.
Why it makes sense: There have been numerous reports that the Dolphins aren’t sold on Tua and finished 10-6 despite not having much going on at the position. The Dolphins could upgrade to having an elite QB and still pick the top WR in the draft, which would turn them into contenders immediately.
Downside: The Texans clearly want a lot and the Dolphins may not be willing to part ways with so much draft capital.
Why it makes sense: The Panthers are growing uncomfortable with Teddy as their guy and are looking all over for a replacement. They have a young team with incredible weapons on offense that Deshaun would love. Carolina also has a huge Clemson fan base.
Downside: The Panthers are still deep in a rebuild and could pursue a cheaper option to replace Bridgewater. The 8th overall pick would be a major casualty to lose.
Why it makes sense: The Jets are hitting reset and have plenty of cap space. Instead of spending the 2nd pick on a QB they could get on in his prime and fix the offensive line with their extra cap space.
Downside: The Texans probably don’t want Darnold and the Jets probably don’t want to trade the second pick.
Why it makes sense: The Falcons are also rebuilding and could be looking to move on from Matt Ryan. The Texans could upgrade their depth and land a solid rapport while changing the culture of the locker room. The Falcons would embrace a super star like Watson, who also is a hometown guy.
Downside: The Falcons would be risking it all for Watson, a move that a brand new GM likely won’t make.
Why it makes sense: the Steelers are in an embarrassing situation this off-season and likely could see Big Ben retire. In this blockbuster trade they could bet it all and bring in an elite QB and also reunite the Watt brothers.
Downside: Rudolph, Washington and Snell are all just role players and this trade would only make sense if they were desperate to lose Watson and Watt.
These are all fun scenarios but I don’t think Watson is going anywhere. The Texans will do what they can to keep him and unless there is an insanely interesting offer they likely won’t even pick up the phone.