Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Insider on Deshaun-to-49ers chatter: “I wouldn’t order that No. 4 ‘Watson’ jersey quite yet”

Jan 8, 2021 at 7:31 AM--

Rumors surrounding quarterback Deshaun Watson being "extremely unhappy" with the Houston Texans has sparked a flurry of trade speculation from fanbases across the league. And why wouldn't it? Watson is an exciting player to watch, and the prospect of upgrading your quarterback position will always create some buzz.

That is certainly occurring among 49ers fans on social media. Many hope general manager John Lynch has picked up the phone and inquired with the Texans about their disgruntled quarterback.

With an unhappy quarterback or not, Houston would still require an absurd amount of compensation in exchange for Watson. Maybe a little less if the quarterback forced a trade, but the team is probably unwilling to look bad in any such deal, especially with a new general manager and head coach entering the picture.

One NFL insider, Benjamin Allbright, recently asked about the prospect of the Texans trading their young franchise quarterback. He was told Houston wouldn't even begin considering the notion without three first- and three second-round picks on the table. That would be a big haul for the Texans but perhaps a franchise-crippling surrender by any interested club.

Maybe an uncooperative quarterback changes that. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Watson is so unhappy with the Texans not considering his input in these major offseason changes — after being told he would be — that he is not returning calls from team brass.

What does one 49ers insider and beat writer think about the odds of Watson supplanting Jimmy Garoppolo as San Francisco's starting quarterback?

"I wouldn't order that No. 4 'Watson' jersey quite yet," Matt Barrows recently wrote in a mailbag feature for The Athletic. "League insiders seemed eager to shoot down the notion Watson would be traded. For one, he'd cost the Texans $21.6 million in dead money. Second, he's the biggest reason why anyone would want the Texans head-coaching job. Without Watson, the Texans are a team bereft of good draft picks, with little salary-cap space and no starting quarterback."

Trading Watson could certainly eliminate the "Texans are a team bereft of good draft picks" argument, as Houston would be in good shape if it were to receive anything close to the compensation it would likely request. There are quarterback-needy teams ahead of the 49ers in this year's draft order that might be more appealing trade partners, too. The Texans could use that higher draft pick to replace Watson, should a deal go down.

Of course, all of this is speculation at this point. It remains very likely that Watson remains the Texans' franchise quarterback for years to come, as was the plan when the team recently locked him up to a four-year, $156 million extension, keeping him signed through the 2025 season and making him the second-highest paid quarterback in the NFL.

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