As the Philadelphia Eagles continue to be linked to Deshaun Watson, one can’t help but monitor the developments about his future. The latest news on Houston’s star quarterback is that the Texans are “now willing to listen to offers” on him.
Pelissero says acquiring Watson would “likely take at least three first-round picks and more.” Chris Mortensen, meanwhile, cites two league executives who claim the Texans’ price tag is “some combination of five high draft picks and starting caliber players.”
It only makes sense that the Texans are aiming high. That’s what any team typically does heading into trade negotiations.
It does not necessarily mean they’ll get what they’re asking for, though. The Texans hardly hold all of the leverage in this situation.
Unless the Texans can spark a bidding war for Deshaun Watson's contract, they don't have the leverage to be making huge demands. He wants out, he's still facing 22 lawsuits, and at some point he quite possibly will be suspended without pay, under the Ben Roethlisberger precedent.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) July 26, 2021
Plenty in media working hard this morning to help Texans get more than maybe they should for Deshaun Watson, given the various unresolved dynamics of his off-field situation.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) July 26, 2021
Further, Watson’s no-trade clause gives him the power to veto trades to teams he doesn’t want to play for, thus potentially suppressing his market.
Overall, it’s a complicated situation with an unclear timeline. It seems hard to believe any team would be willing to trade for Watson without a high level of confidence that legal issues and/or suspension won’t seriously impact his availability.
Then again, it’s incredibly rare that a quarterback of Watson’s ilk is available. He’s a 25-year-old elite talent under team control through 2025. And it’s exactly this reason why the Eagles are rumored to be so intrigued about the possibility of acquiring him.
Understandably, there are those who want nothing to do with seeing Watson in a midnight green uniform. Some fans would just not be interested in cheering for him given the allegations that have come to light.
Even putting that aside, which isn’t easy to do, there’s a belief that the Eagles are best served to give Jalen Hurts a chance to be their franchise quarterback. If he proves to be The Guy, Philly can use their future draft picks to build around him instead of shipping them out to acquire a new starter. Such a scenario would be ideal.
But is it realistic? The Eagles seem to have reservations about Hurts. And that’s not unreasonable. He ultimately struggled as a rookie. Sure, he’s only 22 and has the potential and work ethic to improve. Can he realistically bridge the gap between being one of the league’s worst starters and one of the very best, though?
If we know anything about Jeffrey Lurie, he really cares about offense. He literally said “I put a heavy emphasis on wanting to have an elite offense” in his postseason press conference earlier this year. And, as Doug Pederson can attest to, he specifically cares about passing offense. So much so that Pederson was reportedly questioned for not passing more often in two of Philadelphia’s wins during the 2019 season.
It seems clear, then, that Lurie isn’t interested in settling at the quarterback position. ‘Good enough’ isn’t going to be good enough for the Eagles’ owner. He’s in pursuit of an elite quarterback and, again, Watson represents a rare opportunity. Going back to the very first report of the Eagles’ interest in Watson, it was Lurie’s name that came up:
“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. [...] It is indisputable that the Eagles are monitoring the Watson situation closely and evaluating it. No one in that organization would deny that. [...] Some in the Eagles brass would try to poo-poo the idea of their interest by noting there must be about 30 teams paying close attention to this situation, but my sense is this is much more than an idea on the periphery; I get the sense this is something ownership and management would very much like to make happen. “I hear that it is very much at the ownership level,” as one league source put it.”
Ultimately, there’s much to play out when it comes to Watson’s future. The thinking here has been that a deal can’t even realistically be reached until the 2022 offseason. But maybe the Eagles (or another team) will strike sooner than that. After all, the Texans are now taking bids.
Should the Eagles trade for Deshaun Watson?
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