With J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans mutually agreeing to part ways on Friday morning, it appears the team's quarterback could be next to take his talents elsewhere.
Deshaun Watson, who reportedly has been frustrated throughout the offseason with Houston's front office, has the 49ers among his most "intriguing" potential trade destinations, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported Friday morning, citing sources.
Fowler also mentioned the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos as organizations that Watson is keeping an eye on. The star quarterback has a no-trade clause in his contract and can choose his potential landing spot, but Houston's new front office under general manager Nick Caserio has remained steadfast publicly that the 25-year-old quarterback will not be moved.
The Dolphins and 49ers "would be at the top" of Watson's list were he given permission to seek a trade, Go Long's Tyler Dunne reported Friday morning, citing league sources.
Watson got 49ers fans perked up a few weeks ago when he sought out a photo from a 49ers fan account featuring himself in a Joe Montana jersey and commented.
Jimmy Garoppolo's future as the 49ers' starting quarterback remains murky, as general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan have put their support behind him as the 49ers' signal-caller in 2021, but also have said they'll analyze potential upgrades at every position.
Watson would be an obvious upgrade over Garoppolo, as the Clemson product led the NFL in passing yards in 2020 (4,823) and finished with 33 touchdowns to just seven interceptions.
He also would give Shanahan something he hasn't had in an offense in nearly a decade: a true dual-threat option at quarterback.
After what the Los Angeles Rams reportedly sent to the Detroit Lions for Matthew Stafford's services in January, the asking price for Watson were he to go on the market would be pretty substantial. Two first-round draft picks, a third-rounder and Jared Goff was a haul for the 33-year-old Stafford who has dealt with some scary injuries in recent years.
It likely would require three first-round picks, and reports have indicated the Texans would want a defensive starter or two in any package, especially now that Watt officially is moving on from Houston.
Miami has significantly more draft capital to throw at the Texans, but the potential of joining Shanahan's offense could sway Watson to push for a trade to the Bay Area.
If Watson wants to come to the 49ers, Lynch should be willing to part with just about any player on the roster and a few first-round picks at least. Seeing how Watson performed with an awful supporting cast and fractured organization in Houston, imagine what he could be in an elite offense with young talent all around him and a phenomenal safety valve in tight end George Kittle.
The Texans would be smart to not give up Watson for scraps. He is just 25 years old and has five years left on his contract.
But as the organization seems to be amid a complete overhaul, it might be time for Caserio to smash the rebuild button and recoup whatever he can for Watson and start over.