After an offseason with no shortage of “Deshaun Watson to the Philadelphia Eagles?” rumors, things quieted down following the report that Watson wouldn’t waive his no-trade to come to Philly.
Despite this, the speculation is starting to heat back up with the 2021 NFL trade deadline about a month away.
It started with NFL insider Jay Glazer reporting on Fox NFL Sunday (prior to Week 3 games) that the Houston Texans have “softened” their asking price for their former starting quarterback. He said that the Miami Dolphins are the team to watch.
Glazer then reiterated that report on Wednesday evening:
The second tweet here seems to suggest something could happen sooner than later.
But, hey, no mention of the Eagles in Glazer’s reporting. That means they’re not in the mix, right?
Well, maybe not. Former NFL quarterback and current analyst Chris Simms had some interesting things to say about Watson and the Eagles in a recent conversation with Mike Florio on Pro Football Talk Live.
FLORIO: I’m going Deshaun Watson. Do they get back in to Deshaun Watson? When you consider Jay Glazer reported earlier on the weekend the Texans have softened their stance in recent days on what they want for Watson, that the Dolphins have Tua Tagovailoa on IR […], I think they have to be considering making the move before the window closes on November 2. From the Eagles’ standpoint, aware of the possibility the Dolphins are going to go a deadline deal, and cognizant of what Hurts is and isn’t doing, maybe at some weird level this is an organizational effort to kind of put the Hurts ceiling/floor analysis in an accelerator. So we know by the end of the October what we have. Instead of knowing by the end of December and into January what we have, let’s go ahead and see where he is. Let’s throw stuff at him, let’s see how he responds so we can make an assessment by November 2. And if we decide to pull the trigger, boom, we go get Deshaun Watson. You have to at least be thinking about that. Right?
SIMMS: Sure. Yeah. I’m with you.
FLORIO: You don’t know where his ceiling is.
FLORIO: You’re kind of seeing where the floor is. But you want to hit pedal to the metal so you have the best information by late October so you can make a decision on whether to make a play for Watson now or later knowing that you don’t that the Dolphins may and then it’s done.
SIMMS: Yeah, I think it’s a good thought by you. I think there’s some reality to that, for sure. I do. And you and I both know that Philadelphia is in that mix for the Deshaun Watson thing. That’s a real thing. From everything I know, the owner has given them the green light as far as Howie Roseman and company to make that deal if it’s right. So, yes, you have to worry a little — and here’s just one other inkling. Another inkling told me they’re not sold on Jalen Hurts. […]
FLORIO: […] The other thing to keep in mind is that no-trade clause, because Watson wants Miami. And there have been some conflicting reports on whether or not he has said no to Philadelphia. I think that if Philadelphia is the only option, he’ll say yes. But we’ll see.
Simms isn’t a regular news-breaker, to be clear, but it’s hardly inconceivable that he has some connections in the league. I don’t know how well he knows the inner workings of the Eagles but it’s interesting to hear him claim that he’s heard that Jeffrey Lurie is on board with a Watson trade.
Though he currently hasn’t faced any discipline (via the justice system or the NFL), Watson’s future is very much up in the air as he’s still facing a number of sexual assault allegations. He’s technically able to play right now since he hasn’t been suspended. But trading for him obviously isn’t as simple as saying ‘Hey, here are a bunch of draft picks for a top quarterback talent.’ There’s much more to weigh than the transactional cost.
The Eagles taking a chance on Watson doesn’t seem to be out of the cards. Even if you disregard all the buzz we’ve heard about the possibility, one must consider Lurie’s top priority. He’s admittedly obsessed with the Eagles having an elite passing offense. And acquiring Watson would — in theory, at least — give them a chance at having just that. There is no definitive evidence to suggest the Eagles will be able to achieve as much with Jalen Hurts, though one could argue Hurts needs more time to develop.
Circling back to the “Watson doesn’t want to come to Philly” of it all, Florio repeated something I said at the time of that report. If Watson’s other suitors dry up, he’s probably going to prefer going to the Eagles than staying in Houston.
Even if the Eagles don’t end up trading for Watson, this situation is definitely worth monitoring. The Dolphins getting Watson is entirely relevant to the Eagles with Philly owning Miami’s 2022 first-round pick. That pick is currently sixth overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. Watson replacing Tua/Jacoby Brissett could end making that selection a lot less favorable for the Birds.
We’ll just have to see what happens before the 2021 NFL trade deadline at 4:00 PM Eastern on Tuesday, November 2. If Watson isn’t moved by then, he won’t be eligible to be traded until March 2022.