Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

PFF examines what it might cost the 49ers to trade for Deshaun Watson

Jan 8, 2021 at 11:11 AM--

We'll probably be hearing a lot of speculation surrounding potential trades for quarterback Deshaun Watson until his situation with the Houston Texans gets resolved — if it gets resolved. While most believe that a trade is unlikely to happen, Ian Rapoport's report that Watson is "extremely unhappy" with the Texans brass can't be ignored. Could Watson be so unhappy that he would welcome a divorce from the team that made him the No. 12 overall pick in the 2017 draft?

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk was the first to spark the social-media buzz, reporting that NFL whispers were pointing to Watson being so upset that he might potentially request a trade. Analyst and NFL insider Benjamin Allbright reported soon after that the Texans have no real interest in trading their franchise quarterback, who is just months removed from signing a four-year, $156 million contract extension. He asked what it might take for Houston even to begin considering moving on from Watson. The answer was three first-round picks and three second-round picks.

On Friday, Pro Football Focus jumped on the Watson-trade-rumor train. It examined several hypothetical trade scenarios that are realistic in its eyes and might push the Texans to consider parting with their star quarterback. For the San Francisco 49ers, it would mean surrendering much of their future in draft picks and saying goodbye to their own quarterback.

Brad Spielberger and Kevin Cole have the 49ers trading away the No. 12 overall pick in this year's draft, their 2021 second-round pick (No. 43 overall), next year's first-round pick, 2023's first-round pick, and Jimmy Garoppolo.

49ers get: QB Deshaun Watson
Texans get: QB Jimmy Garoppolo, 2021, 2022, and 2023 1st-round picks, 2021 2nd-round pick

Those are first-round picks in each of the next three drafts, a second-round pick this season, and the quarterback for whom they traded a second-round pick to the New England Patriots in 2017. That certainly sounds somewhat comparable to the package that Allbright laid out and would leave the 49ers without a pick until the fourth round in this year's draft. Of course, they could be awarded a higher selection, should defensive coordinator Robert Saleh land a head-coaching job.

"This trade is most similar to the Kyle Orton exchange (no offense to Garoppolo)," wrote Spielberger and Cole. "Houston gets a viable NFL quarterback and uses the exorbitant draft capital to build a team around him. Garoppolo is still only 29 years old, and a trade would leave the 49ers with just $2.8 million in dead money."

It is worth noting that Garoppolo would need to approve any trade that involved him. Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported last year that the quarterback has a no-trade clause in his contract for the 2021 league year and that the 49ers can't trade him without his permission until March of 2022.

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