Everyone knows it will take a huge trade offer to pry three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson away from the Houston Texans.
If the 49ers are going to be the team to land Watson, general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan are aware they are going to have to give up a ton to get the deal done.
The question is, how many assets can they stomach giving up? Draft picks are one thing, but parting with a young star would be a tough pill to swallow.
NBC Sports' NFL analyst Peter King worked up offers he believes each team in need of a quarterback should present to the Texans, and the package he has the 49ers sending to Houston is a doozy.
Here's what King wrote in his latest Football Morning in America column:
"Seven-for-1. [Jimmy] Garoppolo, linebacker Fred Warner (that really hurts), tackle Mike McGlinchey, first-round picks in 2021 (12th overall) and 2022, plus a second-round pick in 2021 and third-round pick in 2022 for Watson," King wrote. "It’s a lot for the Niners to pay; of all the players in all the deals I’m proposing, Warner would be the most coveted one in my book. But he’s here because he is entering the final year of his rookie contract and would want a new deal. (McGlinchey is in exact same position, too.) Houston could view them as cornerstones for the rebuild."
That's a lot. Three players, all starters on the current 49ers roster, plus four draft picks, including their top two picks in this year's draft.
But it could make sense. If Lynch and Shanahan believes they won't be able to re-sign Warner and/or McGlinchey in free agency, then it would be wise to use them to get the quarterback they want.
Just last week, King wrote that Texans owner Cal McNair and first-year GM Nick Caserio shouldn't trade Watson "until I got a very good to great quarterback plus either three high first-round picks or a Sam Darnold-type plus four ones in return."
If that seven-for-one price is too steep for Lynch and Shanahan, King proposed a three-team trade involving the 49ers, Texans and Minnesota Vikings. In this scenario, the 49ers would end up with Kirk Cousins, not Watson. All they would have to part with is Garoppolo and this year’s first-round pick.
"The Vikings send quarterback Kirk Cousins to San Francisco," King wrote. "The Niners send Garoppolo to Houston, if, of course, he’d waive his no-trade. The Texans send Watson to Minnesota. In return: the Niners send their first-round pick in 2021 (12th overall) to Houston, and they’re out. (So San Francisco would be trading Garoppolo and a one to Houston and getting Cousins with two years left on his contract.) The Vikings would send linebacker Anthony Barr and running back Alexander Mattison plus their first-round picks in 2021 (14th overall) and 2023, and second-round picks in 2022 and 2023 in exchange for Watson. Houston’s haul: Garoppolo, two ones this year, a one in 2023, and two second-round picks."
The 49ers-Texans-Vikings proposal is more palatable in terms of assets given up. But is Cousins a big enough upgrade over Garoppolo to make a real difference for San Francisco? Most would say no, but that's debatable.
Watson is the prize and the quarterback the 49ers need, not Cousins. The cost for Watson is going to be high. Again, everyone knows that. King's proposal is mammoth. But that's the price of doing business in order to acquire one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL.