Name a crazy QB trade scenario, and chances are we’ve heard it over here at NBC Sports Chicago. At some point, every single Deshaun Watson rumor comes across our virtual desk. But when former ESPN radio host Trey Wingo joined us for our “Countdown to Kickoff” show, he managed to come up with an offseason take that bucked all the trends.
“There’s going to be a crazy amount of interest, but I don’t know how many quarterbacks this offseason are actually going to switch teams,” Wingo said. “I don’t think Deshaun Watson is going anywhere, because I don’t think Nick Caserio, the new GM, wants to give away one of the top four players in football.
“As much as Deshaun might want it, he signed the deal. Whether it’s been fair or unfair the way the Texans have absolutely trashed their franchise— if the Texans trade away, within a calendar year, Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins, they should be relegated like the Premier League does in soccer. They should not not exist as a franchise.
“So, it’s been a bleep-show all the way around, but I think Nick Caserio is bound and determined to try and prove to Deshaun Watson— it’s going to take something— that he should stay, or he’s going to stay. Because they don’t have to do anything. It’s a cap-friendly situation for them.”
While that would certainly put a damper on what has been billed as a potentially historic NFL offseason, Wingo didn’t stop there.
“Then you get to Carson Wentz. To me, there’s no reason why Carson Wentz should be going anywhere, because they don’t know what they have in Jalen Hurts yet. He’s played what, four games? And you’re ready to move on from a guy who at one point in 2017 was going to be the MVP of the league before he blew out his knee in that win in the Coliseum against the Rams? And you have a cap-friendly deal, so you can keep both of them.”
Wingo rattled off a few other QBs who could be in the mix, but didn’t think they’d be home runs for the Bears for a variety of reasons. Derek Carr would be an upgrade over either Nick Foles or Mitchell Trubisky, but the Raiders likely wouldn’t move him unless they knew they could get Watson, and that would involve a complicated three-team deal. If 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan pushed for a reunion with Matt Ryan, that would make Jimmy Garoppolo available. But would Garoppolo really provide a significant boost over Trubisky? If Wingo was running the Jets, he also wouldn’t be ready to move on from Sam Darnold. He’d prefer giving the young quarterback some weapons and a new coach to see if he can improve, so that’s another potential trade partner off the table.
“There’s this idea that there’s going to be this crazy quarterback movement market,” Wingo said. “I have no idea how much of it is based in reality… The idea of Deshaun Watson going to Chicago? Love it, in a vacuum. But as we all know, nothing happens in a vacuum. You have to look at the reality of the situation… You have to convince the Houston Texans to do it.”
For a little fun, Wingo asked hosts Adam Jahns and Adam Hoge to come up with a trade offer to get conversations started between Ryan Pace and Caserio on a Watson deal.
They came up with three first-round picks and a roster player. “Not Roquan Smith, though,” Jahns added as a caveat.
“A roster player,” Wingo said. “So like a long snapper? What are we talking about here. Pass!”
For Wingo, it boils down to the old adage: a QB in the hand is worth two in the draft.
“I know what I got,” Wingo said. “Do you want to know the list of players the Raiders got when they traded away Amari Cooper for first-round picks and Khalil Mack for first-round picks? Do you want to know their names? Henry Ruggs, who’s yet to be who we thought he would be. Damon Arnette, a cornerback out of Ohio State. Josh Jacobs, a good player, good player, but a running back though. A fairly benign position that you can find somebody without a first-round pick. And Johnathan Abrams, the safety that’s been in and out of the lineup. Are any of those players as good as Khalil Mack or Amari Cooper? I don’t think so.
“I’m a big believer in the known. I know what I got in Deshaun Watson. And unless the organization is telling me to strip it down to the studs, why in the hell would I give away a guy who, if he was on any other team would’ve been in consideration for the MVP with what he did in 2020? Why would I do that?”
So where does that leave the Texans?
“My job as Nick Caserio now is to try to salvage that relationship in any way I can, and convince him I know what I’m doing, what we did before isn’t going to work, and we know that now, and we’ve got to do things the right way.”