The Houston Texans could be on the verge of altering the NFL landscape for the next several years and potentially beyond, according to at least one prominent pundit.
The potential trade of superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson could represent a momentous shift in the fortunes of the teams involved in such a deal, ESPN's Mike Greenberg said Wednesday.
"This will be the biggest trade in NFL history," Greenberg said on the network's KJZ morning radio show. "When you consider who Watson is, what he is, and where he is in his career -- there has never been a trade as meaningful as this."
From the Texans' perspective, unloading Watson would be a bitter pill, but the massive haul they could expect in return should be enough to commence a real rebuild, Greenberg explained.
"There are worse things you can be than a 4-12 team who has the best trading chip of all time," he said. "You can completely remake your team in one fell swoop. So as devastating as trading away a great player like Deshaun is, the fact that you have the ability with all the years left on his contract to get as much back as you can, means you're not in a position of absolutely zero leverage.
"So my first option would be to say to him, 'you tell me, Deshaun, what do I do to make you want to stay here? Help me help you.' And if ultimately the answer comes back there is no conceivable way, then I guess you have until April to figure out a trade. And you should be getting back ... three no. 1s, and one or two other really good young players, and you remake your roster on the fly, and you see where you go from there."
A deal involving Watson would mark the league's splashiest trade since at least the 1999 Draft Day swap that between the Saints and Washington that allowed New Orleans to select running back Ricky Williams fifth overall. The Saints coughed up a total of eight picks -- including all of their 1999 picks and their first-rounder the following year -- in exchange for moving up from the 12th pick.
The Williams deal was one of the first of its kind since the seminal 1989 transaction that sent Herschel Walker from the Cowboys to the Vikings in exchange for a boatload of draft picks that were later used to amass the talent that fueled Dallas' early-90s dynasty.