QB DeShaun Watson courtesy of Pro Football Network
Houston Texans 3-time Pro Bowl QB DeShaun Watson has officially requested for a trade. The news broke with FOX Sport’s Shannon Sharpe at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time on Thursday through his show Skip and Shannon: Undisputed.
After former General Manager Bill O’Brien traded away star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals for practically nothing just a year ago, Watson expressed his discontent but did not want to break ties necessarily. But serious drama started after the firing of O’Brien during the 2020 season. The Texans had informed the freshly-extended franchise QB he would be involved with the front office and head coaching hires leading into the 2021 offseason.
That didn’t happen.
Houston ownership went forward with naming Nick Caserio their new general manager and that has had no positive effect so far for the Texas squad. Watson was publicly soured at the absence of any “reaching out” by the Texans’ front office, thus putting the team in a no-win situation.
Caserio and company have since tried to mend relations with the young phenom given that they just signed him to an extension in effect until 2025. These efforts have been put out to dry after the most recent announcement. Notably, Watson has a no-trade clause essentially granting him the power to choose where he is traded.
So where on the best coast of football do we see the superstar possibly crouching under center in the 2021 season?
San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch courtesy of USAToday
First up in the Golden State, the San Francisco 49ers led by Head Coach Kyle Shanahan and drawn up by GM John Lynch. Just one year removed from a Super Bowl-berth versus the Kansas City Chiefs, 49er fans along the coast are begging for a change at play-caller.
Current starting 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo, has had up and down seasons since coming to the bay via trade with the New England Patriots. But even his "high" years aren't what someone would call spectacular, last season when he took his team to the Super Bowl Garoppolo threw a pedestrian 27 touchdowns alongside 13 interceptions and just under 4,000 yards over the course of the regular season.
Lynch, after a disappointing 2020 season, may feel it's time to make a change. Although, the team's woes are rightfully accredited to the massive amounts of injuries they had. (In fact, the Niners during Week 9's Thursday Night Football showdown had roughly 15 players on Injured Reserve totaling up to $80 million in reserves!)
With a buffer season in place, the 49ers may just have the exact draft capital and returning impact players to entice both Watson and the Texans' front office...
DeShaun Watson (left photo) posts a picture on Instagram which fellow leaguer Rams CB Jalen Ramsey comments on (right photo) courtesy of Twitter.
Los Angeles Rams 5-year starter Jared Goff and company finished their season 11-7 with a loss to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC divisional playoff round. Most teams would dust off their pants and call that a successful season, "We'll get em next year!"
Still for the Rams, that loss left a pretty bad taste in their mouth. The squad finished with the top-ranked defense in the league due to efforts put in by All-Pros; cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive tackle Aaron Donald, but couldn't quite make it to the final game of the season.
Much of the focus has shifted to gaining that last asset that can put the Rams into the contention tier. That has become quite a challenge while trying to mitigate seven personnel losses and a potential 17 players hitting the free agency market. Nevertheless, that has yet to stop the leadership in L.A. from dropping cryptic "breadcrumb" doubts that Jared Goff will be back in blue-and-gold next season.
Although the Rams have little cap room and almost no interchangable pieces, they still have the history of splash trades under GM Les Snead on their side. Another advantage may be Athlete's First's David Mulugheta. He's the shared agent between Watson and Ramsey, the CB even commented on a recent Instagram post from Watson slyly recruiting the young star. Could Tinseltown shock the football world again with a blockbuster trade?
Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton (left), running back Philip Lindsay (middle), quarterback Drew Lock(right) huddle together. Photo courtesy of The Denver Post.
GM John Elway and the Denver Broncos have been building around the all-important QB position for a time now. Through the years Denver has acquired solid defensive cornerstones like linebackers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.
They've also made significant gains in young skills players like start-ups; tight end Noah Fant and WR Jerry Jeudy. The offensive line could use some work, but truly center Lloyd Cushenberry III is the only below-average big man. And the backfield is essentially stacked with runningbacks like Melvin Gordon and Philip Lindsay.
A near perfect puzzle, Denver may find their final piece in Watson. It would certainly take care of Bronco fans' cries for relativity once more. It would be pretty interesting indeed to see what 21-year NFL veteran, Broncos Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur could scheme-up with Watson's improviser player-type.
Although the Broncos have an up-and-coming team, and plenty of draft capital (holding the 9th overall pick and 8 more in the upcoming 2021 draft) Watson will truly only have one thing to ask himself... does he really want to face off with the Kansas City Chiefs' juggernaut QB Patrick Mahomes twice a year?
Whoever decides to 'sell the farm' they will most certainly have to gamble with quite a bit of the team's future. Yet, almost no expert can even fathom how much should be given up for such a prize. There can be only one reason that all but a handful of teams are willing to stake their entire organization on a 25-year-old...
He's just that darn good.