A number of “Deshaun Watson to the Philadelphia Eagles” trade rumors surfaced earlier this offseason but that buzz has since died down.
Until NFL insider Adam Schefter broached the topic on 97.5 The Fanatic’s John Kincade show this morning, that is.
It’s interesting because Schefter wasn’t even specifically asked about the Houston Texans quarterback or the Eagles at all. He was actually talking about how the Sixers should look to address their issues (he thinks they should sign Kyle Lowry) and then pivoted into a big move that the Eagles should make. It’s then that he said the following:
“The Eagles are more equipped to make a run at Deshaun Watson than any team out there.”
Naturally, Schefter was asked about the allegations that Watson is facing and how those could very well impact his future.
“Let’s see how it plays out first. But, again, what I would say is if there are charges and he gets imprisoned or something happens to that effect, something far-reaching and damaging and awful … like a lot of this stuff seems, then, yeah, well, it’s not happening. But I’m operating under the assumption somehow this will be settled, or he will serve his discipline for the league, or whatever punishment he has coming, whatever is fair and just, once that is done, I just think that at that point in time, whenever it is, when he is deemed ready to play by legal authorities, by the National Football League, to me, the Philadelphia Eagles should be waiting.”
Schefter later said that he wasn’t “telling you anything you don’t know.” And that much is true from the standpoint we all know the Eagles will potentially have three first-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. And potentially a big need for a new starting quarterback.
But one might be remiss to write off Schefter’s comments as mere idle speculation. He has a history of couching information in opinion, as he did in early January when he talked about how he didn’t believe Carson Wentz wanted to be back in Philly.
Beyond that much, there are many notable reports from different outlets connecting Watson and the Eagles. Let’s revisit the timeline:
March 17 (CBS Sports) — “Do not discount the Philadelphia Eagles as a strong suitor for Deshaun Watson. Too many sources with ties to ownership have whispered that sentiment my way for me to ignore.”
March 19 (Inquirer) — “Howie will give up everything he has for Watson,” an NFL source familiar with the Eagles’ thinking said.
March 22 (Houston Chronicle) — The Eagles are among teams that remain interested in Watson despite uncertainty moving forward.
April 6 (Houston Chronicle) — “Several NFL teams, including the Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins, are monitoring the latest Watson legal developments, which have complicated any efforts to trade for him.”
April 9 (Pro Football Talk) — “Much has to happen before Deshaun Watson could be traded, especially if he’s going to be traded at or around the 2021 draft. If, somehow, Watson manages to properly and appropriately settle the 22 civil lawsuits pending against him before the draft, there’s one team to watch closely as a potential destination. The Eagles. Yes, the Eagles. They have Jalen Hurts and Joe Flacco, but Deshaun Watson has proven that he’s a franchise quarterback, and one of the best players in the NFL. As one league source explains it, the Eagles are sufficiently determined to upgrade the team that they would pursue Watson, if the window opens for doing so.”
April 14 (Sports Illustrated) — “The Philadelphia Eagles are trying to find a direction. So are the Houston Texans. And according to an NFL source, despite their various issues, the two teams could still get together on a Deshaun Watson trade. [...] Meanwhile, the Eagles are trying to straighten themselves out as well, having traded away Carson Wentz with a tentative plan to hand their QB job to young Jalen Hurts - except that our source insists that Philadelphia’s desire to secure Watson remains in place. [...] It has been speculated that a Watson trade may be months away. It’s even been speculated that a swap is “impossible.’’ We’re not sure that is so. Some level of clarity could come before that. Some level of risk-taking by a bidder could as well. But this we know: The Philadelphia Eagles’ interest in trading for Deshaun Watson remains in play.”
May 10 (Peter King) — “I think predicting the future of Deshaun Watson is fraught with, well, it’s impossible. I just think by a year from today he’ll have a new home. This is a gut feeling. It’s impossible to predict the future with so many legal issues involved. And depending on the outcome of the cases, several teams might not want to even think about Watson, and rightfully so. If he’s free to play football unencumbered by legal issues in 2022, here are my odds on Watson’s next football team, with a tie at the top: 3-1: Philadelphia. A likely need, plus Eagles are in perfect position to deal with three first-round picks (if Carson Wentz plays three-quarters of the Indy season). 3-1: Carolina. Owner David Tepper would find the resources to do a deal.”
May 12 (Pro Football Talk) — “Peter King offered up some rough odds in his latest Football Morning in America column. And it’s clear that he’s been hearing the same things we’ve been hearing: Watch the Eagles. [...] As we see it in light of the ongoing silence, here are the current odds for Watson for 2021: 4-1 Dolphins, 5-1 Eagles, 7-1 Texans (on Commissioner Exempt list and not playing), 8-1 Panthers, 10-1 Washington, 12-1 Broncos, 20-1 field, 50-1 Texans (actually playing). Even if the litigation is resolved, Watson will surely serve a suspension, under the same reasoning that applied to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in 2010. But teams will likely make a move if/when the lawsuits are resolved. If they’re resolved before the start of training camp, Watson will become available — and the Dolphins and Eagles likely will be the two teams at the front of the line, in our view.”
Nothing seems imminent on the Watson front with his legal situation yet to play out. It’s possible we might not see a resolution to this situation until 2022.
Schefter’s comments, though, serve as a reminder that the Eagles are worth watching when it comes to Watson’s future.