49ers fans hoping for a Houston Texans fire sale that leads to Deshaun Watson landing in the Bay Area might have to hold their breath.
After the Texans granted J.J. Watt his release from the team earlier this week, all eyes are on Houston’s front office to see how it will handle Watson, who reportedly wants to be traded. NBC Sports’ Peter King addressed Watson’s situation and how it’s different from Watt’s.
“The Texans absolutely should not treat the franchise quarterback this way, granting him his wish to be traded,” King wrote. “(Houston may eventually do that, but it should not now; no way you’d get equal value for a 25-year-old franchise quarterback.) Watt will play this season at 32; his best years, after missing 32 games due to injury over the last five seasons, are behind him.
“Watson is 3.5 years into what should be a 15-year run (at least) of greatness, very likely. Just as the franchise would have told Watt there’s no way they’d trade or cut him at age 25, they won’t do that with Watson.”
Another hang up? The expected trade package required to pry Watson from the Texans.
The Los Angeles Rams reportedly shipped Jared Goff, two first-round picks and a third-rounder to the Detroit Lions for Matthew Stafford. With the market set so high, one can imagine what Watson would command in a trade.
“Owner Cal McNair told me Friday that Watson is a Texan and he fully intends to keep him in Houston,” King wrote. “Which is exactly what he should say, because I wouldn’t think of trading 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. To be clear, I would play very hard ball with Watson till September, then see where the situation stands.”
It’s hard to envision the 49ers sending Jimmy Garoppolo and at least three first-round picks to acquire any single player, even of Watson’s talent. There are far less debilitating ways to find an upgrade under center, perhaps starting with this year’s draft, though the elite college quarterbacks could already be gone by the 49ers’ No. 12 selection.
Jimmy G gets knocked for his injury history and inability to get San Francisco’s vertical passing game going, but he seems likely to remain the starting quarterback in 2021 given the current trade market.