As Deshaun Watson's reported frustration with the organization continues to mount, the Houston Texans have had "internal conversations about possible trade partners" for the star quarterback, ESPN's Sarah Barshop reported Sunday, citing sources.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Sunday there is a "growing sense" that Watson has played his final game with the franchise, and the 49ers could be among the teams actively pursuing a deal for the QB.
The Miami Dolphins would be a preferred destination for Watson due to his appreciation for the culture under head coach Brian Flores and Florida's lack of a state income tax, a source close to Watson told ESPN's Chris Mortensen.
Watson must have some kind of appreciation for what the 49ers have done in recent years, as he pushed for Houston to interview then-49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh for the Texans' head coaching vacancy. He also sent a cryptic message to 49ers fans by seeking out an Instagram post featuring him in a Joe Montana jersey. Houston was the only franchise with a head coach opening that didn't interview Saleh.
Of course, it would take a blockbuster package to acquire Watson, even if he is demanding a trade. The presence of a no-trade clause in his contract does give him some leverage in potentially choosing a preferred destination.
General manager John Lynch has been reticent to trade first-round draft picks since taking over the 49ers' front office, but for a "generational" QB like Watson, as 49ers legend Steve Young called him last week, perhaps the organization would be more willing to pile up assets to bring him in.
This is set to be one of the storylines of the offseason, and while the 49ers have remained firmly committed to Jimmy Garoppolo as the QB in 2021, things can change quickly in the NFL.