Which teams would, should, could be interested in Deshaun Watson?

Miami Dolphins v Houston Texans
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When attempting to list the teams that should or would or could be interested in Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, it’s arguably easier to list the teams that shouldn’t or wouldn’t or couldn’t be. On today’s PFT Live, Chris Simms and I tried to do both.

The end result was a lengthy discussion that came up with a list of teams to watch.

Watson has plenty of power in this regard, if the Texans decide to trade him. The no-trade clause allows Watson to veto teams like Elaine vetoing new first names for Joel Rifkin. Thus, where Watson is willing to play becomes a key first step in the process.

Plenty of other challenges will remain, even after getting a list of preferred prospective Watson teams. The Texans will want and deserve fair value. The team that trades for Watson won’t want to mortgage the future, Herschel Walker-style. And Watson won’t want to go from one 4-12 team to another team that can’t avoid a similar fate because of everything it gave up to get him.

While discussing the possibilities, Simms and I tripped over another possibility: A three-team trade. That could happen if the team that Watson wants and that wants Watson has a quarterback the Texans don’t want (e.g., Derek Carr). The team that gets Watson would trade its current starter to a new team, and that team would then add draft capital to the pile that ultimately flows to the Texans.

However it plays out, it won’t be easy. But if Watson truly wants out and doesn’t relent and the Texans opt not to take a “play for us or play for no one” hard line with Watson, it’s a puzzle that will have to be solved — and the sooner the better.

66 responses to “Which teams would, should, could be interested in Deshaun Watson?

  1. I hope my Saints take a serious look at Watson. Obviously Taysom Hill isn’t a starting QB in the NFL, great gadget player but that’s it. I don’t mind having Winston at QB but he’s only a temporary answer. Watson would be an amazing addition to a talented roster. Idk what we’d have to give up for him, but Mike Thomas and 2nd rounder.. make it happen! Lol

  2. Any team that doesn’t have Rodgers, Wilson, Brady, Mahomes, Murray, Burrow, Allen, Mayfield or Jackson(last two are debatable) as their QB should be interested. At the least be willing to discuss the possibility

  3. The Carolina Panthers make total sense, especially since he played college ball right down the road, but it’s not happening due to money reasons if nothing else. He seems to want a bigger, more glamorous stage anyway. Boy, the Texans sure screwed things up.

  4. The Texans must stop being morons. If you don’t have a QB. You don’t really have a football team.

  5. Ironic you mention Derek Carr, since we’ve seen this movie before from the Texans and ruining their supposed franchise QB… previously Derek’s brother David.

  6. Who wants a 4-12 QB?
    e.g. Derek Carr has the record for the most come victories for a reason. The defence is bad

  7. Baker could throw 50 tds w 1 pick and 5k yards on his way to a sb win and y’all would be like “ehh I’d trade him straight up for Nathan Peterman.” Sheesh… smdh

  8. If this situation get’s any more toxic you may have Easterby coaching the team because no coach will want to go there to have his career die.

    Without Watson this team is worse than the Jaguars. Heck, after the draft this team might be worse than the Jaguars anyway. When do the Texans pick, round 3? lol.

  9. Jets don’t need Watson. They just fleeced Seattle with one whining cry baby. The Jets don’t need Texas fleecing them with theirs. Since when do players get to choose the GM and coach? Get lost.

  10. Vikings send Kirk Cousins and two first round picks to the Niners, the Niners send Jimmy Garroppolo and two first round picks to the Texans, the Texans send Deshaun Watson to the Vikings…Hey, a man can dream…lol…

  11. WFT already has a championship D and weapons on O with McLaurin, Gibson and Thomas. Trade the picks for Watson and fill the other holes on offense with free-agents dying to play with him!

  12. Teams that should be interested? Steelers, Colts, Jets, Chicago, Washington, 49ers. Pretty much, all of them with the exceptions of; KC, GB, TB, CLE, BAL, BUF.

  13. Best team for Watson: Panthers
    Most likely team to get Watson: Dolphins (it will likely cost the #3 pick in 2021, Tua, and likely at least a 2nd round pick in 2022).

  14. Det #7, Stafford, and next year #2. Bring Stafford closer to home. Make it happen Holmes

  15. If Ben retires, the Steelers could send the Watt brothers to Texas for a family reunification in exchange for Deshaun?

  16. Tua is going to be a great quarterback who needs more weapons like a fast number one wide receiver.The Dolphins are still building and need all of their draft picks so they can build a consistent winner. Wahington or the Bears are the teams that should go after Watson.

  17. Should or could be? Every team not still in the playoffs.

    Would be gets harder, based on draft and other considerations.

  18. Watson expressed interest in playing for the Dolphins. The Dolphins aren’t sold on Tua being their future. That situation bears watching,in my opinion. Not saying it will happen,but you never know. Why keep a QB who wants out?

  19. DeShaun Watson is in the driver seat – going to another garbage organization like the Jets makes no sense.

  20. If the Steelers had any sense, they would move on this instead of wanting to go the next decade without a legitimate franchise QB.

  21. The great Watson just lead his team to a 4 win season….just remember that before thinking of a trade…

  22. Watson wants out. The play here is Watson to MIAMI because MIAMI has enough value to trade. HOUSTON is blowing up the current operation & need all the picks & players possible. MIAMI is in a SUPERBOWL window now for at least 2-3 more seasons they are just missing an elite QB. No time to wait fir Tua to develop. HOUSTON would have time to develop Tua. So MIAMI sends two #1’s & Tua for Watson & a 4th or 5th, maybe swap 2nd round picks too. HOUSTON will have a potential franchise QB on a ROOKIE DEAL plus high end picks. Everything needed to rebuild. It makes to much sense. NYJ are in a similar position to offer a similar package with Darnold but the NYJ franchise is dysfunctional much like HOUSTON. WATSON TO MIAMI LOCK IT IN.

  23. Watson still hasn’t put it all together, and he’s been in the league long enough. He’s a great athlete with a good arm, and you could put together a very good highlight film. But he hasn’t mastered the mental aspects of the job, and there’s no guarantee that he will. As far as I’m concerned, he’s not a good QB, and I would be looking for something better. It’s a QB league and the elite QB’s win the big games. If you’re not trying to acquire an elite QB, you’re not trying to win. This kid is not a winner. He’s going to get another coach fired.

  24. Many teams will be interested but who has the draft capital to give in return. The jets do but would he want to go there? Miami certainly does and would be perfect for him but do they want to give up the draft capital? And then there is the most important question of the salary cap hit for Houston!!!

  25. @ face504,

    The Saints are already $101.5mil over the cap, there’s no way even if Brees retires!

  26. I’m not sure anybody is going to offer anything near what they want for him. I don’t think he is going anywhere. He doesn’t have it that bad. Play this big ol contract then hit free agency hot.

  27. Texans aren’t trading him. I honestly think they could careless if he threatens to sit out.

  28. Unfortunately there isn’t a market for 4 win QB’s. Certainly no one is trading away a franchise QB like Carr for a 4 win QB..

  29. Watson’s contract is so high that no GM in its right mind would trade for him. He’s a disaster in the making. What free agent is wanting to go there? They are in cap hell. While 2021 isn’t terrible, 2022, 2023, 2024, and 2025, that’s a disaster. He single handedly will assure the Texans failure. Which team wants to change places with that? If I’m an offensive lineman, I am not going there, I certainly am not going to get hurt to allow this dude to make $37 million more than me. Houston should have traded him before the contract and signed Hopkins. He’s the most overrated/overpriced QB in the NFL. Carr is cheap at half the price for the next two years. That means you can bring in or keep talent. What $20 million annually are you cutting from the Raiders to bring in Watson the next 4 years?

  30. I’d you’re bringing up a three way trade, it would certainly be in Las Vegas’ interest to explore the idea (as much as I’d hate to see him in the division twice a year). Certainly Derek Carr would want a change of scenery as well. Also the possibility of Miami shipping Tua off, or Indy being a part of it as well. Matt Stafford or Matt Ryan also come to mind as possibilities as three way bait.

  31. face504 says:
    January 20, 2021 at 6:25 pm
    I hope my Saints take a serious look at Watson. Obviously Taysom Hill isn’t a starting QB in the NFL, great gadget player but that’s it. I don’t mind having Winston at QB but he’s only a temporary answer. Watson would be an amazing addition to a talented roster. Idk what we’d have to give up for him, but Mike Thomas and 2nd rounder.. make it happen! Lol

    I’ve got bad news for you, the Saints are sitting at $281 million against the cap for 2021 with 51 players signed. The cap could be as low as $175 million next year. They are in disastrous shape already.

  32. I really hope the Patriots aren’t one of them. Probably take 3 first round picks, a cap hit of close to $40 mil a year, and the stress of watching him take a hit on that frame each week! By the time they built some weapons for him (with no first rounders for 3 years), he would be a free agent and prefer a team with no state tax.

  33. Deshaun Watson will choose which team he goes to because he holds all the cards. He knows that the Dolphins are the best fit for him. 10-6 record and a very good defense. Add Watson to that team and Miami is a Contender. Coach Brian Flores knows what he is doing. A WR and a RB can also be added. Miami Destroyed the Rams, 49ers and could have won 2 more games if they had a better QB.

  34. No mention of Caserio in any of these comments. Isn’t the new general manager entitled to a say in this?

  35. Everyone is acting like of course Watson is going to get traded because he said he was unhappy. The reality is it would be extremely difficult for the Texans to trade him because of the cap consequences, and of course they would be crazy to anyway. He will almost certainly stay.

  36. Patriots fan here.
    I would say the 49ers make sense with Garoppolo in the trade. That team was a QB away from the Lombardi a year ago, and this year they had no QB still decent roster. (Kittle, Ayiuk, Deeboo) If Watson want a winning team.
    Miami makes sense too. Up and coming team. 11-5 this season and if they would have someone like Watson they would be in the PO even this year.
    If it would be the Panthers, I surely ask for McCaffrey if I’m the Texans and after that, there isn’t much in that team for Watson to make it attractive.
    The NY football Giants makes also a lot of sense. They have a decent QB to offer, Next season Barkley will be back. Sterling, Slayton, Tate. A decent HC and an easily winnable division.

  37. By the way Watson is acting and demanding, that alone tells me I don’t want him anywhere near Miami.

  38. I would never advocate trading Deshaun, but a package like this would definitely make me think about it:

    Dolphins Receive:
    Deshaun Watson

    Texans Receive:
    Tua Tagovailoa
    2021 1st rd pick (3)
    2021 1st rd pick (18)
    2021 2nd rd pick (50)
    2022 1st rd pick

  39. HOUSTON is blowing up the entire operation & starting over. They need talented starters & depth &…..draft picks. So which franchises can swing this deal? NEW YORK JETS & MIAMI DOLPHINS. Each have multiple 1st round picks & high end 2nd round picks plus young QB’s who still may yet reach their potential…..

    NYJ package two #1’s & Sam Darnold for Watson & a 4th & maybe swap picks in the second round,,,,,

    MIAMI can package two #1’s & Tua for Watson & a 4th & again swap 2nd round picks.

    Just off the top of my head these kind of deals could happen obviously with some tweaking.

    Being a BUFFALO GUY I would not like to see this. But HOUSTON needs cap space, cheap players & a rebuild will take 3-5 seasons. So Watson is as good as gone.

  40. Watson was good enough to get through all of O’Briens blunders. That’s respectable but if this thing keeps going, the whining keeps happening and he ends up with the Jets or dolphins I’m going to hate Watson’s guts

  41. Maybe the ONLY QB in the league that I would be ok with as a fan, for the Broncos to pass on Drew Lock for, because I really feel like Drew Lock has Elite potential.

  42. Nick Wright over at Fox Sports thinks the 49ers should trade every 1st round pick for Watson. Makes a lot of sense to give up all future star players to take a guy who holds the ball and runs around until a receiver gets wide open, to play in Shanahan’s play action quick hit passing game. What could go wrong, other than a 4-12 record.

  43. I don’t see any trade happening, simply because of the talent he is. These kind of QB’S don’t come around often. That would be like a death sentence to the Texans for years to come. Then on the other side of the coin is any GM that is able to pull off such a trade would cripple his teams future for years to come, because of what they would have to give up for such a player. So either way it is a no win for both teams involved.

  44. Where will Watson land? Isn’t it obvious? This team navigated a tough schedule with a broken-down quarterback. The team was beset with the most opt-outs of any team in the league and suffered a host of injuries to key players. The team has tons of cap space and draft capital and, most importantly, it’s the place where Watson will want most to go, a place with superior coaching and an established winning culture, a place where his long-term success is assured: New England. My beloved Patriots will have Deshaun Watson under center in 2021.

  45. Seriously, no team is taking Watson now. He is damaged goods by his doing and immaturity. He really overplayed his hand. Football leaders don’t act like 7 year old petulant child. I like him and very disappointed he could not be more professional.

  46. Garbage time stats galore!!! HUGE cap hit after ’21. I really don’t get what his leverage is. His next team will be broke after paying him every year. I dislike Jackson but he wins. Watson? Not so much. I still think his only play is to stay and ball out until next contract. If he does well it would be his best and last chance on a huge deal. As a free agent.

  47. I hope our Saints don’t. I like Watson, I think he is a good leader and a good person. But, for what he needs to be paid, and the fact he was 4-12 last year…no thank you.

    Our team needs to be built around a cheaper QB at this point. We will be paying a lot of really good players- you cant pay the other positions AND a QB. One or the other.

    face504 says:
    January 20, 2021 at 6:25 pm
    I hope my Saints take a serious look at Watson. Obviously Taysom Hill isn’t a starting QB in the NFL, great gadget player but that’s it. I don’t mind having Winston at QB but he’s only a temporary answer. Watson would be an amazing addition to a talented roster. Idk what we’d have to give up for him, but Mike Thomas and 2nd rounder.. make it happen! Lol

    40 178 Rate This

  48. Miami has the Texans first round pick #3 overall and the 2nd round pick plus their own picks. Miami is the obvious trading partner and they have Tua T. a QB that “could” develop.

  49. You all mentioning the Dolphins is a waste of your time and ours. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! They already said so. They spent years fleecing trades and shedding contracts to gain Cap space and Draft capital. Tua may or may not ever be great, but he will get the starting job no matter what. The Dolphins need weapons before Tua can be judged. Look at Mayfield and Josh Allen as examples. Worst case, is Tua doesn’t pan out and the Dolphins can get a FA veteran and draft a QB later. Either way, they would have a solid team built like KC and Seattle had waiting for Mahomes and Wilson. The Bears, Panthers and Patriots as a sleeper. My gut tells me no way. This disgruntled QB will be in a Texans uniform.

  50. From a talent standpoint, every team apart from the Chiefs, Packers, Chargers, Cardinals, Bills, Seahawks, and Bengals should be actively interested and inquiring.

    But what would seem like a slam dunk a month ago now looks murkier, thanks to Watson himself. He signed an enormous contract and then immediately started a public sulk campaign that amounted to a threat of quitting on the team over the team employee hiring process. He’s shown that he will throw the team into chaos, act unprofessionally, and comment publicly and negatively on team matters even after being given a huge contract.

    That’s probably enough for any team to start weighing pros and cons when it previously would have been a no-brainer. What has he won? How reliable has he been when the chips are down? Is his treadwear better than a rookie on a rookie contract? If a team has a stable and affordable situation in-house, it starts to create obstacles to pursuing Watson.

    I think Watson should keep the examples of Le’Veon Bell and OBJ in mind. Those guys eventually got hired and paid, but they quickly faded into irrelevance and there probably won’t be any more contracts coming for them. So many teams are having success with fresh, new talent that it’s not that hard for players to wear out their welcome.

  51. danielsong39 says:
    January 21, 2021 at 7:33 am

    I’m starting to think the Texans could fix this mess by firing Easterby


    They should never have let it get to this point, but that may well be the case now. A franchise QB is the most valuable single thing on an NFL team, and that includes coaches, executives, and owner.

    The other variables can make the difference in winning it all or not, but not having a franchise QB these days is a guarantee of going nowhere.

    The teams that don’t emphasize getting, paying, and protecting franchise QBs are just baffling.

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