- Deshaun Watson is unhappy with the Houston Texans
- Rumors of a Watson trade are circling
- Eric Bieniemy’s future could be key in where Watson ends up
The biggest storyline off the field, right now, is the reported frustration of Deshaun Watson. The Houston Texans quarterback is rumoured to want out of Houston after they hired Nick Caserio as GM, making it very possible that he demands a trade.
If Watson was traded it would be a blockbuster deal, and would send one of the best quarterbacks on the planet to a new team. Watson has an increasingly strained relationship with the franchise who gave him a contract extension just one year ago.
Would this trademark the beginning of a Texans rebuild? Who could they send him to? Let’s first consider what a Deshaun Watson trade would actually mean for the team who would be getting him.
Reason for trade request
Any team who could successfully acquire Deshaun Watson is immediately getting a franchise quarterback off the rip and one who would revolutionise an offense.
Since being drafted in 2017, he has proven himself to be an incredible talent. In his rookie season, he showed his potential by throwing 19 touchdowns in just 7 games (only 6 starts), with a ridiculous touchdown rate of 9.3%.
In his three full seasons since then, he has averaged an impressive 4280 yards and 28.3 TDs and only 9.3 interceptions. Before the 2020 season, the beginning of this strained Texans-Watson relationship seemed to begin, when then-GM Bill O’Brien traded away DeAndre Hopkins, one of the most gifted wide receivers of all time, to the Arizona Cardinals.
Despite losing his best receiver, Watson still had the best year of his career in 2020. He proved a point with a line of 4,823 yards [leading the entire NFL] and 33 touchdowns [8th in the league] with just 7 interceptions. He also led the league in yards per attempt and yards per completion, which is a testament to his efficiency, and ability to push the ball downfield.
So, Watson is playing the best football of his career, yet there is a very real possibility that he wants to be traded.
The price will be very high to acquire him, but the price to actually pay him really isn’t that costly. Houston seemingly committed to their QB going into 2020 with a four-year $156 million extension that meant they had him signed for six more seasons.
Not only was this deal smart because it locked up the face of their franchise, it also got him at an affordable salary, while his productivity is still on the way up. Whichever team trades for Watson gets a contract that is cheap in 2021 and affordable in 2022 and beyond.
Potential Deshaun Watson trade: Dolphins
The first team who has been actively attached to the Watson trade rumours was the Miami Dolphins. This is up there as arguably both the most likely trade and the best landing spot for the QB.
The Dolphins had a surprisingly great season, and only missed the playoffs by a whisker, off the back of their great defense. Their rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had a solid season but there are plenty of questions to be asked, none more pressing than the fact that his team would substitute in Ryan Fitzpatrick to be their closer for offensive comebacks.
The reason that I find this deal even more intriguing is the very recent history of dealing between these teams. A deal could see the Texans reunited with the 3rd overall pick that they earned this season (having traded it away to acquire Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills). If the Dolphins were to trade for Watson, they’d have to send Tua and more picks to make it happen, but that could be very much worth it, as they try to push for the playoffs.
Another team who has been inextricably linked to Watson is a team who (sorry to bring it up) chose to draft somebody else instead when they traded up ahead of Houston in the draft in 2017.
Potential Deshaun Watson trade: Bears
An infamously tough team on defense, the Bears can’t do enough on the opposite side of the ball to be a true contender – trading for Deshaun Watson would fix that.
Pairing up number 4 with Allen Robinson would be a sight to behold, and with that defense behind them, Chicago would be the best they’ve been for a decade or more. And, where some teams would be scared at the prospect of a trade for a player of this magnitude, Ryan Pace (he is currently still employed as the Bears GM on the day of writing, but who knows?) already orchestrated a blockbuster trade a few years ago when he added Khalil Mack from the Raiders, and he could do the same again if they really wanted to turn back time and take the better QB they missed in 2017.
Potential Deshaun Watson trade: Niners
One team who has garnered some mention in the Watson trade discussions is the San Francisco 49ers, who had a very disappointing season off the back of a Super Bowl defeat.
This is a team who have had sub-par quarterback play for multiple years but have put together a legitimately fantastic roster of players. They also have one of the best offensive minds in football in head coach Kyle Shanahan.
San Francisco also have a great defensive coordinator; however, I don’t think that will be the case by the time Deshaun Watson plays his next game. The Niners offense would be legitimately terrifying if they added efficient and explosive QB play to work alongside George Kittle, their insane running game and the young wide receivers.
This trade would immediately springboard the Bay Area team back into the discussion as a huge contender. The only thing that sets the Niners behind in this race is that they don’t have the best draft capital to deal – they only have the 12th pick overall and they only pick once on day two of the draft.
What impact does Bieniemy’s future have?
One final consideration for looking at possible landing spots for Watson is that he is clearly passionate about the personnel both on and off the field, and there are suggestions that one of the reasons that Watson is butting heads with the front office right now is due to them being the only team with an HC vacancy who didn’t interview Eric Bieniemy.
This is understandable, as to many people he is the best available candidate, but I also see it as something we should watch when determining where Watson goes. If Bieniemy gets a gig before Watson is traded, that could become a very interesting opportunity.
A team adding the hottest Offensive Coordinator and one of the best players in the league in one offseason would be huge -the Jets, Jaguars and Falcons are all in the mix. Whoever gets the Chiefs OC has a chance to see if they can attract Watson too. You even have a similar situation with a team potentially trying to add Will Fuller as a free agent after trading for Watson.
Nobody knows where Deshaun Watson will be playing his football in 2021, but the one thing that we know for sure is that whatever team he’s playing for will be a hell of a lot of fun to watch on offense, and whatever jersey he is donning will be flying off the shelves for years to come.