The Eternal Deadline of the Deshaun Watson Trade

Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 8 - Our own Rivers McCown has some thoughts on the forever-extended Deshaun Watson trade talks. Watson has apparently waived his no-trade clause for just one team, the Miami Dolphins. But is the trade just waiting for Watson to settle the lawsuits against him? What's the fair trade value for a player as good as Watson, or is there even a fair trade value? What happens when the player quits on the team... but the team has effectively quit on him as well?

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18 comments, Last at 02 Nov 2021, 9:02am

1 No winners here

No matter how this eventually turns out, I don't think anyone will enjoy the journey or destination.  McNair seems odious and likely to do things out of spite.  Watson may or may not have committed multiple crimes, but very likely did a lot of ethically questionable acts.  Finally, Goddell keeps sitting around waiting the fire to hit the propane tanks.  I cannot wait for this story to be over so we can get back to simply harassing each other about what happens on the field. 

2 At the end of the day

It'd be asinine for a team to meet the asking price for Watson as is. Whether from a football perspective and/or PR perspective, it'd be suicide. 

And since Miami is the only option, they need to realize they are 1-6 and have a younger guy and just move on. This entire situation is a mess and they need to permanently stop calling and toying with the confidence of the highly drafted QB on their roster.

4 Yup. Watson to Denver,…

Yup. Watson to Denver, Watson to Carolina, Watson to Philly make a lot of sense. Watson to Miami doesn't. Not for Miami, anyway, although with three potentially high firsts in the next two years, the Texans have to be happy about Miami as their trading partner. Of course, the Dolphins have also enjoyed the Texans as trading partners in recent years, but I have no faith that they'll end up winning any potential trade this time.

5 Watson to Denver, maybe…

Watson to Denver, maybe. Watson to Philly is insane: that team has no ability to take on Watson's contract easily and they're laden down with vet contracts for at least 2, more likely 3 more years. Maybe - maybe - you could've justified it before the season, taking one last shot with the Graham/Cox DL and the Kelce/Brooks/Lane Johnson OL. (Which would've failed, mind you. But I maybe could've justified it).

At this point, though, it'd be certifiably insane. 

Denver's just in a massively different place than Philly is.

(edit: yes, I do know Philly was linked to Watson much earlier, but like I said I have to hope that that was just because they were hoping for this season. By now they've denied any interest multiple times)

8 Oh, I know the Eagles' cap…

Oh, I know the Eagles' cap is screwed, but just from a purely football perspective I think it makes sense. Hurts might become a star, but given his draft status and present performance, I think it's warranted to move on, especially for someone of Watson's caliber.

10 Hurts isn't going to become…

Hurts isn't going to become a star. He's going to top out at replacement-level-ish. He's in his second year, he's shown no signs of having the level of accuracy needed to become a top-level QB. Just not going to happen.

But the "from a football perspective" thing just doesn't make sense to me. I mean, not every team should trade for a top-end QB if they don't have one. Especially not one that's going to command $35M+ on the cap. If the rest of the team's not there, what's the point? Now you've just recreated the Falcons - a team with a great QB and a shell of a team around him (or the 2019 Patriots, mind you).

Philly's got maybe two or three solid young assets to build around. They've got a great tight end, a young left tackle, and if I'm being generous, a promising young wide receiver. They've got maybe two-three solid assets on defense that can be counted on for maybe 2 more years with Slay, Hargrave, and maybe Maddox.

Totally ignoring Watson's cap hit, put him on that team and... they're like maybe 7-10/8-9 for the next two years. Like I said, if you could rewind time and put him on the Eagles at the beginning of this year magically, they could've been a wild-card contender. But they're only going to be worse in 22/23, and they're likely to be slightly hamstrung still in 24, and that's all you've got Watson under contract for.

Broncos, Dolphins, Panthers, and WFT make sooo much more sense (although WFT can't happen politically, obviously). 

11 Initially it wouldn't make…

Initially it wouldn't make any difference (Dolphins are on the same boat in that regard), but here's a guy who'll play for you for 10-15 years and the QB is arguably the most difficult piece to find. You can build the team around him down the road.

The only reason I don't want him for the Dolphins is Tua. It seems so wasteful. You might already have your guy and you're going to invest three more firsts?

Plus there's the legal risk. No matter the trading partner, I don't see this trade making sense now unless the Texans offer a substantial discount.

12 Why in the heck would you…

Why in the heck would you assume you could keep him? He forced his way out of Houston. What makes you think you won't have to empty the bank to keep him past 2024 and even then it might not work?

Watson makes sense for a team who's borderline competitive and likely to remain so for a few years. That's not Philly. They'd trade for him, he'd get pissed and frustrated by how much the team sucks, and either they'd overpay or lose him anyway.

3 I lived through the '90s…

I lived through the '90s Cowboys in Dallas, and there's something really gross about rooting for a team that disgusts you.  I wouldn't want him on my team

7 It’s hard enough for me as a…

It’s hard enough for me as a rams fan to cheer for Jalen Ramsey, who left his pregnant girlfriend for another woman. I think I might actually find a way to quit on the rams if Watson was the QB, especially if they weren’t a serious SB contender. Maybe if they were.

9 That's why they say never…

That's why they say never meet your heroes. Me, I'd rather not pass judgement yet. The truth is a slippery thing even with a front row seat, let alone from a distance and without all the information. Perspective, point of view, and limited information are the cause of much of the conflict in the world.

6 #readthepiece Problem with…

#readthepiece

Problem with Watson trying to clear his name, is that people don’t really care too much if what he did legally qualified as rape. He’s really creepy. When you put a bunch of women in situations where they are alone with you, and then pressure them into doing borderline or explicit sexual acts on you that they don’t feel comfortable with, it’s a terrible look. Getting cleared of rape does not clear you in the court of public opinion.

The only way that makes any sense is if he can counter sue for defamation, and go on the offensive and make it clear that he was slandered the whole time. However, I think there was some serious evidence that this was real from the start, so I don’t see that happening.

That Watson still someone makes his salary while doing nothing is an interesting wrinkle.

13 What Miami has done with Tagovailoa is a disgrace

They draft the guy fifth overall. Then, for no obvious reason, they bench a popular veteran starter and throw him in there mid-season, only to yank him around and undermine him at every turn. Now this season, he's forced to endure the constant Watson rumors, which imply that the franchise believes Tagovailoa is already a bust. They couldn't have handled it any worse, it's total ineptitude on every level.

14 what the hey, it's been awhile

31 out of 31 NFL teams decided DeAndre Hopkins and his salary demands were not worth a 1st Round draft choice. 30 out of 31 teams decided what Arizona did give up was more than they wanted to pay.

Guys, what a silly thing to deny the undeniably obvious over.

18 I don't think it's clear…

I don't think it's clear this is true. As far as I can tell, Bill O'Brien thought David Johnson was an extremely valuable asset, not the significant liability he actually was. He might well have preferred what he got from the Cardinals to an offer including a first round pick from someone else.

16 The practicalities

Aside from whether he is worth it from a "football" perspective, I don't get how any GM or owner could do this now.

How could you sit next to him at the press conference "welcoming" him to the team? How could you justify giving away multiple (?!) first round picks for a guy who (i) may be suspended as soon as you sign him, (ii) could be in jail soon and/or (iii) may be suspended (again?) next year if lawsuits are resolved?

17 In the real world . . .

Twenty-two complainants coming forward at the same time, with the same complaint, through the same attorney, with accusations against a major celebrity, and no one else coming forward afterwards or through another attorney doesn't happen and is effectively an impossibility; the lawyer would have to start with one complainant, exhaustively interview thousands of potential complainants without anyone leaking about the lawyer's investigation, and somehow luck into finding all possible complainants without any of them deciding on hiring a different lawyer.

In the real world, a solo complainant or small group of complainants come forward with accusations against a high-profile celebrity and then, if there are significantly more victims, the floodgates open. 

What the Deshaun Watson case looks like is a grossly unscrupulous lawyer doing research to identify women who would be willing to sign a complaint without looking at it too closely (most likely being paid cash by the lawyer to not look too closely), faking a scandal in the hopes that the celebrity pays him off quietly to make the matter go away before the public hears about it, and then going public when Watson shoots him down in the hope that Watson will then settle quickly before the lawyer can be investigated too closely.  The only reason it's still going on is because the lawyer has no way to dismiss the complaints without admitting to civil and criminal liability. 

And don't forget that the FBI is investigating. The FBI has very limited jurisdiction under federal law to investigate sexual assault cases, none of which would apply in this case as alleged, but the FBI sure does investigate extortion cases if so much as an email or interstate phone call was involved (18 U.S.C. § 875(d)).

Of every celebrity sex scandal in my lifetime, Watson's is far and away the least likely to be true.

Miami trading for Watson as the only team approved under a no-trade clause, when Watson has made it clear he'll never play in Houston again, is a no-brainer.