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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports


Peter King weighs in on what it might cost for 49ers to trade for Deshaun Watson

Feb 22, 2021 at 5:56 AM--


Would the 49ers be willing to trade one of their top two young defensive stars, a slew of draft picks, and more if it meant getting Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson in return?

It's possible that's the type of package they might have to ship in Houston's direction if they ever have the chance. And it's one that NBC Sports NFL writer Peter King proposes in his latest Football Morning In America column, in which he comes up with his own deals for teams that could be interested in bringing the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback into the fold.

King starts this discussion with an important disclaimer, which is the Texans have yet to give any sign whatsoever that they are actually interested in trading Watson, even though Watson (4,823 passing yards, 33 touchdowns, seven interceptions, with 444 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns in 2020) has made it abundantly clear he's no longer interested in playing for the Texans. King reports that he's hearing Texans general manager Nick Caserio is "categorically opposed" to trading Watson and that the team isn't even listening to trade offers at the moment.

"At least two teams have given offers to Houston and gotten zero feedback," wrote King. "Like, no reaction, no 'We'll get back to you.' Nothing."

But that doesn't mean there won't become a time when the Texans eventually decide it would be in the best interests of everyone to ship their disgruntled quarterback out of town. The question is how much it would cost for interested teams to obtain him.

King listed the 49ers as one of several teams that would be a good trading partner for Houston, then proceeded to lay out one trade scenario he thinks could get the Texans interested in sending Watson to the Bay Area. King proposed the 49ers ship first-round picks in 2021 and 2022, a second-round pick in 2021, a third-round pick in 2022, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (who would have to waive the no-trade clause in his contract), right tackle Mike McGlinchey, and one player in particular who would be extremely difficult for the 49ers to say goodbye to -- linebacker Fred Warner.

The 49ers might not have a problem parting ways with many of the assets in King's proposal if it brought Watson in return, but Warner has become the heart of the defense and is a player the franchise would almost certainly love to sign to a long-term contract in the future. But that contract would undoubtedly be expensive, which is why King included the rising star linebacker in his deal.

"It's a lot for the Niners to pay; of all the players in all the deals I'm proposing, Warner would be the most coveted one in my book," wrote King. "But he's here because he is entering the final year of his rookie contract and would want a new deal. (McGlinchey is in exact same position, too.) Houston could view them as cornerstones for the rebuild."

King also proposed another deal involving the 49ers, albeit not one that would bring them Watson in return. He came up with a three-way trade that sends Watson to Minnesota while shipping Vikings quarterback and Kyle Shanahan favorite Kirk Cousins to San Francisco, the 49ers' 2021 first-round pick and Garoppolo to Houston, and Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr, running back Alexander Mattison, plus two first-round picks and two second-round picks from Minnesota to the Texans.

"This is centered on the premise that San Francisco would not want to rip apart a team and a future, and might be willing to take a lesser deal for a quarterback Shanahan has long admired," wrote King. "And also that Caserio, in the heart of the draft room in 2014 when the Patriots made Garoppolo a second-round pick, would want to try again with Jimmy G. It's a wing and a prayer, but fascinating to me."

Both ideas are interesting to ponder, particularly the first one for fans who have their hopes up of one day seeing Watson in a 49ers jersey. There's never been any doubt that obtaining a still-young (25) player with years of potential stardom at the quarterback position ahead of him would be extremely costly, but is there a point where he would become too expensive? Or would the payoff he could bring lead a team like the 49ers to part with the type of deal King puts on the table?

It's all entertaining to discuss, even if it's unclear if Watson will ever actually become available. The answer to that question may not be known for some time.

"If I'm Caserio, calming the waters now is the best plan," wrote King. "Over the next two months, you want to try every way you think might work to rebuild a bridge with Watson. But if it gets to the point that you can't by late April, that's when the best offers will be out there."

Click here to see King's full column, which also includes proposals for the Carolina Panthers, New York Jets, and Miami Dolphins.



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