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BRB GroupThink: Picking Through The Deshaun Watson Grapevine

Deshaun Watson could be traded by the end of this week. Or maybe he doesn’t get moved. Texans fans discuss on BRB.

NFL: AUG 19 Preseason - Patriots at Texans Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Deshaun Watson trade rumors have returned. Various reporters have stated Watson could be moved as early as this week, with the Miami Dolphins as the team rumored as most likely to acquire the QB. There’s also an alleged chance of a three team trade involving Tua Tagovailoa being moved to a quarterback needy team.

Are you buying the rumor this time around? If so, who do you think Watson is traded to, and what does the trade look like?

These are the questions I asked the Masthead for this week’s groupthink. These are our responses:

MATT WESTON:

The embers have been red all summer. Once Deshaun Watson was adamant he wouldn’t play for Nick Caserio, and then David Culley, and then reported to training camp listless and disinterested, repeating Marshawn Lynch’s Super Bowl mantra I’m just here so I won’t get fined, the fanbase, and the media knew Watson wouldn’t play here again, but the Texans had hope. They opted not to trade him before the 2021 NFL Draft, Once that came and went, we were in this for the long haul.

Recently, the media has propagated this false narrative that the Texans are facing a Watson deadline with the NFL trade deadline approaching. This is insane. It’s false. It has no basis in reality. Houston has Watson under contract control until 2023, and a franchise tag after that to keep the boot on this vehicle. The Texans only face a deadline to trade him during the regular season, and that’s something they shouldn’t do to begin with. The Texans should wait until after the 2021 NFL season to move Watson.

There are two reasons for this. First, Houston HAS to know what the draft capital they are receiving is worth. They can’t trade Watson for future firsts. They need to trade him for tangible picks. Although they refused to admit it last offseason, Houston is rebuilding. The most important resource in a rebuild is draft capital. For a player of Watson’s caliber, anything less than known top ten picks is a failure.

The second reason is Watson’s current legal status. He was accused of sexual assault from 22 women. I don’t know if he’s guilty or innocent. I have zero idea what’s true or isn’t here. None of us do from our vantage point. Watson is expected to be deposed next year, with a trial occurring years after that if a settlement isn’t reached. The NFL conducts their own investigation on top of that. When they do so, they take the evidence handed to them and give it to the player to defend himself. Someone facing a civil trial isn’t going to give all their evidence over before they have to. Because of this, if Watson is suspended, it probably won’t be until the 2023 NFL season at the earliest. There isn’t a real rush to get ahead of a possible suspension.

This is the foundation. The rumors we’ve heard all summer that the Texans are in talks with the Dolphins have come back in the form of talk that a deal could be made this week. The major Texans media reporters have stated this. The wasp nest has been sliced open.

As we’ve learned before, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. We saw this with the Jadeveon Clowney, Laremy Tunsil, and DeAndre Hopkins trades. There’s some amount of truth to every rumor. This includes Watson being traded this week, along with a third team being involved in a trade for Tua Tagovailoa.

Based off what we read, the state of the Texans, and where the Dolphins are at, I do believe Houston will make a move and trade Watson this week. Miami has San Francisco’s first round pick; the 49ers sit at 2-3. Miami also has their own first rounder and San Francisco’s first in 2023. Miami can offer three first round picks, two seconds, and even toss in expensive cornerbacks, who Houston could flip to someone else, or younger defensive players like Christian Wilkins, Jevon Holland, or Jaelen Phillips. The Dolphins no longer have a stockpile of draft capital. They’ve already made their picks.

I’m against this, though. I don’t see the point of trading Watson in-season when the Texans should be able to get a great offer after the season. More teams will be quarterback desperate in 2022. Watson has a relatively short contract that he can leverage to move on from if he’s traded to a team like the Giants, who he may not love. Most importantly, the Texans would know what the picks they get for Watson would be worth.

Nick Caserio has hung on long enough. He needs to keep holding on.

KENNETH:

With everything the NFL is going through right now, no. Not at all. Not a chance. It doesn’t make sense.

I agree, where there’s smoke, there is fire. But the Dolphins are 1-5 and aren’t making a playoff push. They don’t have talent and their line isn’t great. They need draft picks as much as we do. The situation is almost as bad as here. Miami doesn’t make sense for Watson. He wouldn’t go.

Also, are three-team deals even a thing in the NFL? Coordinating between two teams is difficult already. It makes sense for us to chase as much draft capital as possible, but I can’t imagine another team taking part in a deal centered around Watson and not receiving Watson in return. That’s like trying to photobomb a mug shot.

BFD:

I still do not believe Deshaun Watson is traded before either the legal issues are figured out or before the NFL weighs in on a punishment. The first thing needs to happen before the second thing for many reasons.

The exception is that the Texans trade him for little to nothing.

All things considered, I think dumping Watson is a distinct possibility, especially with Easterby having #Failson’s ear.

L4BLITZER:

Here we go again...as we move closer to the NFL trade deadline, expect that any and all rumors associated with Deshaun Watson will emerge across social media and the sports informational sphere. Of course all of those rumors will be completely true and 100% fact-based. In particular, Miami has forever been at the center of the Watspm rumor mill, particularly before the 2021 draft. Other teams may enter the fray, possibly, but if Watson is going anywhere before the trade deadline, it would appear that it is South Beach.

Yet, the situation is far different than before the draft. Miami is no longer seen as a team on the rise and loaded with tons of high-level draft picks, given that the Texans gave them most of those over the last two years. Watson remains mired in legal troubles that will not abate anytime before 2022. Watson is still getting paid his salary, regardless of the jersey he wears or what he does on Sundays, so his view on being traded comes down to a desire to play. Having veto power on any potential trade gives him significant leverage.

I can understand that the Texans brain trust would probably just like to move on from Watson, but he will hold the key to any potential rebuild. In theory, the draft pick haul for Watson should be legendary in league annals and could enable the Texans to load up on quality talent to get back into contention. Getting rid of Watson this season will not see a massive rebound in ticket sales, nor in the winning fortunes of this team. The Texans have not been great at making trades these past few seasons, but they cannot botch the Watson trade.

The smart play would be to ride out the season with Watson on the roster, unless they get a real offer they can’t refuse (like three first round picks, three second round picks, and two quality young players). That offer is likely not going to happen before Nov 2. However, the Texans are not exactly known for smartness. I fear it may only be a Warren Moon-type return of a first and a fourth (at best). Yes, there is the uncertainty of Watson’s status with the league, but waiting until the off-season buys the team (and the league) more time to ascertain Watson’s legal situation. The team missed a golden opportunity early last off-season. It does not need to compound a mistake by acting rashly now.

All of that to say, even with the dumbness associated with the Texans’ brain trust, expect the trade deadline to come and go with Watson still on the roster.

EVAN WILLSMORE:

For me, it’s a yes and no. Deshaun should get away from Houston as soon as possible, but I don’t know if Miami is the best fit.

The Texans and Dolphins are both 1-5, with each squad having weaknesses at multiple positions (Miami is a bit more surprising, though). It felt like the Dolphins’ rebuild ended last year, and that despite Tua’s mediocre performance, he would continue to develop in their system.

I said this many months ago to a group of friends: If a quarterback is traded early in his career, he’ll have a lack of confidence for the rest of it. The team that ends up with Tua (which apparently won’t be Houston, according to recent reports) is going to have a lot on their plate.

Going back to the Watson perspective, he still won’t have many weapons to work with if he goes to Miami. Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki would be his top targets (most likely), as DeVante Parker’s career seems to be slowing down and Will Fuller is currently out with a broken finger.

The Texans were probably interested in talking to the Dolphins because they have a reasonable number of upcoming draft picks. However, Houston has a high asking price, and considering Deshaun hasn’t played since the end of 2020, the Texans might not get all the assets they were looking for. It’s also worth nothing that Deshaun could be suspended by the league due to his ongoing legal troubles.

There’s many pieces to this dea. I think the only way Houston can truly benefit from it is if they get a large return. Otherwise, it’s just shifting pieces of a puzzle that remains unsolved.

MIKE BULLOCK:

I’m not buying it. In fact, the only thing I’m sure of with a Deshaun Watson trade is the Texans will be on the losing end of the deal when it does finally happen. As long as Jack Easterby, the engineer of dumping DeAndre Hopkins for an old, worn out running back, is still whispering ala Grima Wormtongue in Cal “MineCraft” McNair’s ear, we should expect to not have good things.

From a purely football standpoint, it could actually happen. Miami’s owner is desperate to finally replace Dan Marino. At 1-5, the Dolphins could still turn their season around and grab a wild card spot. Based on what Watson did for Houston last season, he could do it again this season for the ‘Phins.

Tossing in the legal issues makes the waters as muddy as they get. Would the NFL suspend Watson the second he was added to a starting lineup? Do they already believe he’s guilty and simply waiting out due process? Or do they think he’s innocent and would willingly let him take the field amidst the tidal wave of fan backlash that would surely come?

As much as I’d love to see Houston get a historic haul of draft picks for Watson this week, I don’t have faith in the Texans leadership, the NFL, or Watson’s legal situation that it will happen. Odds are he’ll be a Ghost Texan until at least moments before the 2022 NFL Draft, and most likely well into the summer.

MATT ROBINSON:

As a draft fanatic, smokescreens and rumors are things I have to sift through annually. The key thing to remember when taking in all this information is tracking the original sources and who they most likely got that information from. It struck me as a bit odd that five major Houston journalists were the ones sending out most of the info yesterday. It struck me as downright suspicious that both Denver and Washington beat guys immediately countered claims that their teams could be acquiring Tua.

From a logic standpoint, it makes sense for Miami to be interested, especially considering their season is quickly circling the drain despite a relatively promising roster on paper. In addition, Stephen Ross has made his intentions known that he would like an upgrade over Tagovailoa in the building and believes Watson would be that spark.

However in order for a Watson deal to occur, at least three things have to happen: 1.) A cap dump in order to handle Watson’s soon-to-balloon contract. 2.) Tua gets a new home despite having very low stock after a poor showing against a contrarily promising Trevor Lawrence. 3.) No longer in a possession of a bevy of picks, Miami would need to scrounge under couch cushions in order to come up with enough capital before the deadline, even though if they waited until draft night, a third year of picks would become available.

That doesn’t even include the legal uncertainty surrounding this whole thing, which more than likely is giving every Miami decisionmaker not named Ross pause regardless of how dreadful their season has gone. All in all, this all seems like pre-deadline rumors meant to get the wheels turning for some other teams and perhaps even test the waters on what Tua’s market is. If things align, I can see things happening by the deadline; at the moment, there are just too many variables that have to align in too short amount of time for this to get resolved before draft night.

What say you? Will Watson get traded by the deadline on November 2nd?