Deshaun Watson, one of the most talented quarterbacks in the NFL, might be on the move this offseason. Per Adam Schefter, the Houston Texans' quarterback has reportedly grown upset with his team’s ownership and personnel moves, and could ask for a trade soon.
The young QB wanted to give his input on the organization’s hires, but the Texans did not consult with him before hiring new general manager Nick Caserio.
In addition, Houston didn’t even inform Watson they intended to hire Caserio, as he found out on social media. Watson took to Twitter afterwards to post, "some things never change....," which he later deleted.
Houston is coming off an abysmal 4-12 season, but Watson has more than held up his end of the bargain. This season, he reached career highs in completion percentage, touchdown passes, and touchdown yards, despite not having DeAndre Hopkins. Or an offensive line for that matter, as Watson was sacked 155 times over the last three seasons—more than any other QB in the NFL.
There is also a chance that Watson sees guys like Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins and even fellow teammate JJ Watt, as cautionary tales of players who wasted their careers in Houston.
Example 1: Texans legend Andre Johnson, who was on the team’s GM search committee, tweeted this about the organization:
Example 2: Former Houston star wideout DeAndre Hopkins, who is now with the Cardinals, followed up on Johnson’s statement with this:
Either way, now the focus shifts to the fallout. Will Houston move on from Watson? If they do, the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, and New York Jets are the favorites to trade for the Texans' quarterback.
Miami Dolphins +200
ESPN’s Chris Mortenson reported that Watson could be interested in joining the Dolphins and there are a few reasons a trade with Miami could make sense.
The Dolphins are a team on the rise with an impressive head coach in Brian Flores. Miami also has the assets to make a trade with Houston, starting with QB Tua Tagovailoa. Houston could also get back its 2021 first round draft pick (third overall) that was dealt to Miami in the 2019 Laremy Tunsil trade, and potentially use it to pair Tua with his old Alabama teammate, Heisman Trophy-winning wide receiver DeVonta Smith.
How is that for a restart?
New England Patriots +350
If there is one team that can use a quarterback right now, it’s the Patriots. The Cam Newton experiment failed this season, and as of today, it doesn’t look like New England has a backup plan.
That Pats do have a plethora of picks (10 to be exact) in the upcoming draft, but their first-rounder isn’t until the 15th slot. New England could get creative though, and put together a deal where Houston gets future first-round picks, along with a couple of players. It's a stretch, but if Watson is available via trade, you have to think Bill Belichick will find a way to get in the mix.
New England has the cap space and don’t forget, Caserio has a relationship with Belichick. Expect the Pats to be players if Houston tries to move Watson.
New York Jets +400
Another team with assets similar to Miami’s are the Jets. New York has two first-round picks in the upcoming NFL draft, No. 2 and No. 23. They also have a young QB in Sam Darnold to offer in any potential deal.
The Jets are looking at around $70 million in cap space, so affording Watson is no issue. New York, who knows it is missing out on Trevor Lawrence, could include some combination of Darnold and draft picks in a package for Watson.
The Jets don't even have a head coach right now and a 2-win team probably won't want to give up much draft capital for one player. However, Watson is an elite talent who can change the direction of New York's struggling franchise immediately.
Chicago Bears +550
If there is one city that is starved for a franchise QB, it is Chicago. Trust me, I’m a Bears fan, and we’ve suffered at the position since Chicago won the Super Bowl in 1986. In fact, the Bears have started 38 different quarterbacks since winning Super Bowl XX.
The Bears would also have a chance to right a wrong when they drafted Mitchell Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes and Watson in the 2017 NFL Draft. Since being hired, Bears general manager Ryan Pace has signed Mike Glennon, traded up for Trubisky, and traded for Nick Foles. All of Pace’s quarterback decisions until now have been disastrous, which is why trading for a bonafide young franchise QB like Watson would be a gamechanger for the franchise.
There are teams more likely to land Watson through a trade but what a storybook ending it would be for Bears fans if he ends up in Chicago.
To be clear, Watson has not officially made a request to be traded. It’s merely speculation that the star quarterback might make such a request after signing a $156 million contract last year. If the Texans were to trade him, they would have to absorb a salary-cap charge of $22 million, but the team would get back draft picks and potentially players in the deal.
For that reason, this will be one of the biggest storylines to keep an eye on during the offseason. With that in mind, the relationship between Watson and new Texans GM is also something to watch. Caserio is on the clock.