Who is REALLY in the Deshaun Watson Sweepstakes?


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With the news that Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson was recently not indited by a grand jury on allegations of sexual assault the eyes of the NFL's QB hungry teams are back towards Houston as they look for a way to trade for the still disgruntled QB. Some might say that every NFL team should be in the market for Watson at this point. Which may be true but that is not the reality for the majority of NFL franchises. So, who is really in the conversation? Let's break it down and find out.


First, you need to not have a franchise QB on your roster. This eliminates Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Denver, Buffalo, Dallas, Arizona, Baltimore, LA Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati and Atlanta (maybe).


Second, if your team has recently traded for a QB or has a promising, young talent you are unlikely to be in the market for Watson. I think this eliminates Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, Jacksonville and New England.


Thirdly, you have to find a way to work in Watson's $35M base salary. Granted, with some cap magic you could, theoretically, drop it to the $10M range but I think teams will still be skittish with fully guaranteeing an additional $35M of his salary. This effectively eliminates, New Orleans, Tennessee, The New York Giants.


I think we can also eliminate anyone in the AFC South. So that eliminates Indianapolis.


Finally, Watson has to waive his no trade clause, I'm not a mind reader but I suspect this eliminates Carolina, Detroit and New York Jets.


This leaves Cleveland, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Miami, and Oakland.


We'll start with Pittsburgh. With today's signing of QB Mitchell Trubisky but and that isn't going to stop the Steelers from obtaining Watson if they are able to. What deal can Pittsburgh offer to the Texans that makes it work.


Pittsburgh Gets:

QB Deshaun Watson


Houston Gets:

3 Future 1st Round Draft Picks (2022, 2023, 2024)

LB Joe Schobert

and either WR Dionte Johnson or WR Chase Claypool.


Trading for Watson doesn't feel like The Steelers or their organization. They will drop a pick for a piece every once in a while, like Mika Fitzpatrick a few years back but they rarely make the big splash. They trust their draft evaluators to do what they need to rebuild. I'd call this one UNLIKELY.


Next Philadelphia. Philly has all the draft capital needed to make a move for Watson. They enter the draft with the 15th, 16th, and 19th pick in the draft this year. They are the most equipped with draft capital to make the move. They have young talent that is still cheap and touted that have not really succeeded in Philly.


Houston Gets:

1st Round Pick (15th &19th in 2022)

Future 1st Round Pick (2023)

CB Darius Slay

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside

WR Jalen Reagor

QB Jalen Hurts


Philadelphia Gets:

QB Deshaun Watson


The Eagles offer the most immediate draft capital and likely higher picks than other options. But, they have a stable offensive line and a full set of draft picks to work with to improve the roster. Added bonus that they are in the NFC, one of two teams that hold that distinction. I'd call this one Reasonably Likely.



Miami is an easy call. Miami is not interested in Deshaun Watson. I'll call this one VERY UNLIKELY.

Cleveland has been opening up salary cap lately with the release of Jarvis Landry. It wouldn't take much currently for the cap to fit. Additionally, they traded for Amari Cooper and signed Allen Robinson The Browns could be attempting to convince Watson not to use the no trade clause.


Browns Get:

QB DeShaun Watson


Texans Get:

2 Future 1st Round Picks

2 Future 2nd Round Picks

QB Baker Mayfield (required for the cap to work)

RB Kareem Hunt


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