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BRB Groupthink: Picking Through the Deshaun Watson Trade Rumors

Talking about Deshaun Watson to Philadelphia.

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NFL: Houston Texans at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

This past week was a whirlwind of Deshaun Watson news. He headed to training camp masked up, participating as a scout team safety, and a fourth string quarterback. His ankle was examined later in the week. When the pads came on he disappeared. Back to the caves of discontent and trade requests. Around this time, news came out the Eagles were interested in Watson, working to make a deal happen, and then poof, those rumors dissipated. The newest thing is the Texans expect Watson to play for them this year. What’s true or isn’t, no one knows, but as we know, where there’s smoke there’s usually a fire.

With recent rumors that the Eagles are in talks to acquire Deshaun Watson—whether true or untrue—Houston’s quarterback could be on the move. What do you think about Jalen Hurts, what would a possible Houston-Philadelphia trade look like, and would you be ok with a trade like this?

This is the question I asked the masthead. These are their responses:

L4BLITZER:

While it would appear that the HOU/PHI trade rumors are just rumors, there is little else we have as far as the stalemate between Watson and the Texans. Given that Watson is as enthused to be in camp as an elementary school kid will be to be back in school that first week, there is a part of me that would be happy to dump Watson and the toxic baggage he is carrying. Philly is as good a city to transport the toxic off-field issues of Watson as any (unless Watson still has some baseball skills, at which point, the Texans should ship him to the Dodgers stat...he and Trevor Bauer might be the best of buds...who knows?)

That being said, a one-for-one of Watson for Hurts is a no-go on so many levels. Most mock trade scenarios have the Eagles shipping at least 3 first rounders in the deal. Hurts showed signs that he could be a good, if not great, QB. I have nothing against him personally. While he didn’t win the National Championship per se (it was Tua in relief that clinched it against Georgia), he did lead two schools to the playoffs (ALA, OKA), so he knows how to win. His last couple of starts in Philly were decent enough to give the Eagles confidence to dump Wentz for a serious set of draft picks.

All that to say, the Texans should continue to drive a hard, hard-[Easterby] bargain with Watson. If a deal does not yield at least 3 1sts and some other quality-level draft picks (2nds and 3rds), the Texans should take a hard pass. Hurts could be a nice immediate payoff in the trade package, but the picks are the key. The Texans let the last GM derp away a lot of quality picks and they need to make that up. Even if the Texans stand pat this season, they will get some good organic picks to start. Would Philly make such a deal? In the short term, the NFC East will probably not be all that great. Mortgaging much of the immediate future for a franchise QB that could dominate a weak division for 2-3 years (off-field issues dependent) might not be that painful a price to pay. Still, BO’B is not the Eagles’ GM, so most likely, the WW1-esque trench-warfare stalemate will continue with Watson and the Texans.

MIKE BULLOCK:

Can Jalen Hurts replace Deshaun Watson on the field and in the locker room? No way. Is he an upgrade from Tyrod Taylor and Davis Mills, most likely.

I think at this point the whole Houston quarterback scenario is a ‘law of diminishing returns’ thing. The Texans can’t truly move forward if they’re still rubbing the magic lamp hoping the relationship genie rises out and repairs their severed connection with Watson. While he is a top 5 NFL passer, he can stop them from starting him. And, if they can’t start him, then they should trade him. Even if that means they get the offer The Complex put forth recently:

Offer: QB Jalen Hurts, DT Milton Williams, 2022 first-round pick (conditional from Colts), 2022 and 2023 first-round picks

Does all that provide equal value to a top 5 franchise QB? No way.

Is it better than trotting Watson out to play scout team safety while you hope against hope you can draft Spencer Rattler or one of the other hot prospects in the 2022 NFL draft? Absolutely.

Even if Hurts is only a bridge piece between now and the future, barring some sort of catastrophic injury, he will still hold solid trade value in 2022, he’s still a better prospect than Davis Mills and Jeff Driskell. And, he’s still better than having the 2021 version of Deshaun Watson taking up space in the quarterback room but contributing nothing to the win column. If only the Texans could package McEasterby in the trade, also.

Time to move on...

MATT WESTON:

It would have to be Jalen Hurts, two first round picks, and two second round picks. Houston would pick up Miami’s first round selection, and the Colts second round selection, which could bump up to a first if Carson Wentz plays 75% of the snaps, or 70% of the snaps and the Colts make the playoffs. I guess they could out out for DeVonta Smith and/or Jalen Reagor too, but neither would be a sticking point. It’s all about draft capital in a rebuild.

I’m not a big Hurts fan, I think there is still plenty left for him to prove. Aside from dynamic playmaking, and his ability as a power runner, there isn’t something he really excels at. If Houston tries to morph into a power run-Baltimore sort of scheme than Hurts makes sense, but I’d rather just watch Houston tank and draft a quarterback in the top five, then become Baltimore lite.

The other aspect of this trade is that the legal proceedings are still years away from being figured out, along with the NFL’s investigation. Houston doesn’t need to rush to make a decision. A suspension isn’t looming in the immediate future. The sword of Damocles is sheathed.

So, the answer is no. Hold onto Watson until this season comes to an end. Sit in the stink. And move on in 2022.

RIVERS McCOWN:

I think of Hurts as a Colin Kaepernick-minus — lots of good with the feet and has pretty good poise, but not as much arm talent. I loved Kaepernick as a prospect so I’m probably higher on Hurts than G, but I would put him more as a bottom-of-the-top-10 quarterback ceiling than someone who is a True Franchise QB.