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How Much is Too Much for the 49ers to Acquire Deshaun Watson From the Texans?

Levin T. Black
Jan 17, 2021 at 1:02 PM


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Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson isn't happy. This has been known for a while at this point with reports of Watson not returning calls and being upset over the team's hiring process for both the general manager and the head coach. Watson was told he would get to have input but it's been reported that Watson either never got the chance or the input he gave was completely ignored by the Texans.

The possibility that Watson could force his way out went from possible to a near lock on Sunday. ESPN's Adam Schefter dropped a bomb that will likely dominate sports talk all off-season. It came via a tweet.


Let the sweepstakes for quite possibly the best quarterback to ever hit the trade market begin!

Saying the San Francisco 49ers will be interested is an understatement. The question isn't whether the 49ers will make an offer but how big of an offer. Watson won't come cheap. It's likely that he brings back the biggest haul ever for a player not named Herschel Walker.

How much should the 49ers be wiling to spend and who is the main competition? We'll start with the competition.

New York Jets


No one knows if the Jets will actually enter the sweepstakes. They do have Sam Darnold and new head coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur reportedly liked what they saw when they scouted Darnold.

The reason the Jets are kicking things off here is twofold. First, Watson was apparently a fan of Saleh.


The Texans not interviewing Saleh when nearly every team with an opening did is particularly eyebrow raising because Saleh got his NFL start with the Texans. He was on the Texans coaching staff from 2005 to 2010.

If Watson is a fan of Saleh then it is likely he'd waive his no trade clause to go to the Jets. If he does, the Jets have the best assets to offer and no, it doesn't involve Darnold. The Jets own the No. 2, No. 23 and No. 34 overall picks in this year's draft. In addition to this year, they also own two first-round picks in 2022 draft.

If the Jets choose to pursue, the only way they lose is by setting their limit too low. No one can match the draft capital they can offer up.

Miami Dolphins


Do the Texans believe Tua Tagovailoa is a franchise quarterback? Tua didn't have the best rookie season but there was some promise shown and a rebound in throwing velocity could be in order next season after some time off to recover from his hip injury.

If the Texans like Tua, the Dolphins have something no other team can offer. That would be a recent top draft pick the Texans believe in, who also has a minimum of three years left on a cheap rookie deal. For the cash-strapped Texans, the potential value of Tua can't be understated. That's not all the Dolphins have, though.

They also have a lot of draft capital thanks to owning, wait for it, the Texans' first-round pick. That pick would be the No. 3 overall selection in this year's draft. The Dolphins also own the No. 18 overall pick, making them the only team with two top 20 picks. Would they trade Tua, the No. 3 overall pick plus other picks like No. 18 overall or their 2022 first-round pick and a few mid-round selections? If so, the 49ers aren't likely to be able to match.

San Francisco 49ers


So what do the 49ers have to offer? They don't have multiple first-round picks in this year's draft. They don't have a promising young quarterback. They do have a roster that is just a quarterback away from being a 10-plus win team every single year and if things break right, a potential dynasty. That means the 49ers could afford to give up more future picks than other teams.

The 49ers can trade the No. 12 overall pick, their 2022 first-round pick, and 2023 first-round. With Nick Bosa, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, Fred Warner, and Arik Armstead already on the team, the 49ers have elite talents needed to go with Watson.

First-round picks are valuable but the 49ers' ability to win titles after acquiring Watson will be about finding the complementary pieces. Depth essentially. Depth comes from mid-to-late rounds.

The problem for the 49ers is three first-round picks probably aren't enough by themselves. The 49ers may have to part with one of the players listed above in addition to the picks. Are three first-round picks and Samuel too much? What about Bosa and the picks?

In this writer's opinion, I'd pull the trigger on the three first-round picks and any one of the above players, but only one. That's my limit.

Yes, I just said I would trade three first-round picks and Bosa for Watson. Simple fact is as great as Bosa is, he's not a quarterback and he's missed almost the entire season two of the past three years (last season of college included).

The Watson's value and the greatness the offense would achieve being led by Watson, Kittle, Aiyuk, and Deebo with Kyle Shanahan calling plays would be historic. It would be comparable to, and maybe even surpass, the current Kansas City Chiefs team, yet younger both in coaching and players.

The Chiefs are destroying the league. The 49ers' defense would still be better than the Chiefs' without Bosa while the offense would be just as good. That's the level of team the 49ers would have instantly by acquiring Watson, even at the cost of three first-round picks and an All-Pro caliber edge rusher on a rookie deal.

Feel free to @ me on Twitter. I welcome the discussion. Where is your limit?
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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