We have another new entry to the “Deshaun Watson being connected to the Philadelphia Eagles” timeline this week. Here’s the latest from Howard Eskin (who also recently reported Zach Ertz is reporting to training camp) in a conversation with Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie on the SportsRadio 94WIP Midday Show.
Here’s what I’m working on, and you’ve gotta follow me on this. It’s on Deshaun Watson. I’ve talked to people in Houston. And they are all but resided to the fact that they’re going to have to trade him. Now, there’s a little issue here … are you going to wait before or after — and he’s going to get a suspension. It doesn’t matter what happens in the court of law and what the civil suits are, the NFL sees he did what he did, and obviously, I think he did. Now, it may be a frail case, but there’s probably going to be some kind of suspension. But they’re resided to trading him. That’s the first part of the equation.
The second part of the equation, who will he be traded to? There’s only three teams, in talking to people around the league, that I know of, that really have the strong desire. That would be Denver, Miami — who, they gave away their first-round pick to the Eagles, so that really weakens their position, because I think they’re starting to realize that Tua [Tagovailoa] is a stiff.
But the Eagles have the three first-round picks, and that’s what they’re gonna have, and this is the prediction I’m going to make: based on the information that I got, when — and I’ll say WHEN — he is traded, I think there is a 90% chance that he will be with the Philadelphia Eagles. And just based on all the information that I’ve gotten, that’s what I’ve come down to.
Given how much we’ve written about Watson to this point, there isn’t even much new to say about the merits of this possibility. But this update still feels worth highlighting and documenting. It’s not nothing that the Eagles’ official radio sideline reporter is confidently saying there’s a “90% chance” Watson is going to end up in Philly. Especially when you consider this pre-existing timeline of rumors:
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.”
May 14 (Dianna Russini) - “RUSSINI: I don’t want to make any predictions but I still think they’re going to do something big before the start of the season to improve their roster. So, if that ever comes to fruition, I can’t wait to come back on the show ... and I hate to have it painted that way. I opened up the can, I opened up the can. HOST: That smells like a Deshaun Watson situation is what that smells like. RUSSINI: No, I don’t know anything at this point. [Anything] firm. It’s obviously rumored. But I daydream a lot about what that could look like. What it would look like for Houston to finally recognize this isn’t going to work. And, look, trading is on the table. They’re open to it. I was on Get Up for three months saying ‘It’s not happening.’ Everyone I was talking to in Houston was like, ‘Stop wasting your time, stop calling us, we’re not trading him, it’s Deshaun Watson.’ And they changed their tune. I’ve heard, and even just continually talking with them, that it’s still on the table. And even though he has to deal with those lawsuits, I think that’s going to go away. And I think this is going to come back to light this summer, guys. And I think the Eagles could be a team in on it.
July 14 (Adam Schefter) - “The Eagles are more equipped to make a run at Deshaun Watson than any team out there.”
When asked about what he’s hearing regarding the timetable for such a trade, Eskin didn’t offer a concrete answer. Of course, that’s understandable given the uncertainty hanging over Watson due to unresolved legal issues.
And so we’re all waiting to see what happens with the Houston Texans’ star quarterback. In the meantime, the Eagles are proceeding with Jalen Hurts as their starter in 2021. To be determined how long his reign will last when there’s already a lot of smoke about him being replaced.
Related: Jimmy Kempski and I talked about whether the Eagles should trade for Watson or not in the latest BGN Radio podcast.