Watson for Wentz? A look at the (unlikely) trade possibility


Whenever a player becomes available, whether it be through free agency or on the trade block, the Eagles discuss it. Normally, that player is a veteran who is just released, or a receiver the team will pass on for what feels like the hundredth time in a row.

Not often, however, is a franchise quarterback on the block.

Reports on Thursday of quarterback Deshaun Watson being furious with the Houston Texans sent shockwaves around the NFL, with speculation rising that he could force his way out via a trade this offseason.

If he is able to force a trade, there will be plenty of teams lining up to make a run at the elite quarterback. One obvious hypothetical thrown out there was the idea of the Eagles trading their disgruntled quarterback, Carson Wentz, to Houston for Watson.

While the chances are unlikely, here is a look at some of the specifics of a deal.

Financially, Watson’s deal is actually very tradable and very team friendly. Trading Watson would cost the Texans only $21 million in dead money, compared to the $33 million it would cost the Eagles. It is worth noting that despite Watson signing a bigger deal, and signing it two years after Wentz did, his deal seems to be structured way better for the Texans than Wentz’s is for the Eagles.

A deal for Watson would cost the Eagles the following, via OverTheCap.com:

Watson would cost the Eagles:
2021: $10.54 million base salary
2022: $35 million base salary (2023 money becomes fully guaranteed on March 22nd)
2023: $20 million base salary, $17 million roster bonus
2024: $32 million base salary (not guaranteed)
2025: $32 million base salary (not guaranteed)

His cap hits would be:

Cap hits:
2021: $10.54 million
2022: $35 million
2023: $37 million
2024: $32 million
2025: $32 million

The 2021 cap hit is a steal for a starting quarterback of Watson’s caliber, but the Eagles would need to clear space, considering they are currently projected to be around $68 million over the cap. Financially they would be making a huge commitment to Watson, essentially signing him to a three-year, $82.54 million deal that would be fully guaranteed unless they cut him after one year, which would be highly unlikely.

As for Wentz, the Texans would be cutting their money spent on the quarterback position in half, as he is owed just $47.4 million in guaranteed money for the next two seasons.

2021: $25.4 million
2022: $22.0 million
2023: $25 million (not guaranteed)

Texans are currently projected to be $17 million over the cap in 2021, so would need to clear room. But by trading Wentz they would have $87 million in salary cap space in 2022, opening up more than enough space for Wentz in the future.

As for draft compensation, the Texans don’t have a first-or-second round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, so the Eagles’ owning No. 6 and No. 37 are certainly attractive trade pieces.

There is a world where the Texans convince themselves that Wentz can be fixed, and that if they are going to lose Watson, bringing in Wentz is about as good of a consolation price as they will get in terms of players in a deal back for their franchise quarterback. As will be the case all offseason, the key will be a team’s evaluation of Wentz. If they still believe, the money/picks won’t be an issue.

The Texans almost certainly wouldn’t do a Wentz-for-Watson deal straight up, however. It is also unlikely the Eagles would package picks with Wentz to move him — and certainly not the No. 6 and No. 37 pick.

In some ways a more likely outcome would be the Eagles dealing for Watson, then flipping Wentz in another deal to recoup some of the draft capital they sent to the Texans. It is also possible that the Texans would have more interest in Jalen Hurts, who is on a rookie deal and showed plenty of potential, than they would Wentz.

Overall, however, while the idea is interesting and financially does make some sense, it is unlikely it will happen.

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!