08 Jan Watson on the Block?
49ers fans were stunned when reports came out stating that Texans star QB Deshaun Watson wanted out of Houston amidst the team’s failure to interview Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy.
Not too surprising to say the least. After yet another disappointing season, Watson and the Texans finished with a 4-12 record.
A mic’d up moment emerged of Watson and J.J. Watt walking off the field, expressing their remorse for the season.
Watson’s level of frustration could not only stem from the team’s performance this season, but also in their previous playoff appearances as well, which resulted in a wildcard loss in the 2018 season, and a divisional playoff loss in the 2019 season.
With no first or second round draft picks due to the Laremy Tunsil trade the team conducted with the Miami Dolphins, the Texans will not be drafting until the third round of the NFL draft.
Enter 49ers fan talk. With heavy speculation that the team could be moving on from Jimmy Garoppolo, as well as possibly drafting a first round QB in the upcoming draft, fans have seemingly called for GM John Lynch to make a trade for the disheartened Watson.
And in a sense, it makes sense! The Texans are slated to be over the salary cap by 17 million going into the 21’-22’ season.
Breaking down the details a bit, the Texans would only save money by moving Watson after June 1st. Trading him away after this date would only incur a dead cap hit of 5.4 million, while saving roughly 10 million in cap space. My understanding is that this move would save the Texans loads of money in the long run, but take my words with a grain of salt as I don’t understand the salary cap too much.
In any event, pulling off this kind of trade would require the 49ers to make multiple moves. One move would be to release Garoppolo, which would save the team 24~ million in salary cap.
Other moves include releasing/trading oft-injured DE Dee Ford (after June 1st = 4.7 million dead cap, 16 million savings), as well as Weston Richburg (after June 1st = 3.5 million dead cap, 8.3 million savings). If necessary, the 49ers can release/trade all of these guys which would raise the team’s salary cap from 22 million, to 62 million. This amount would be more than enough to take on Watson’s contract.
Another aspect that makes this trade doable, are the trade pieces needed to satisfy Houston. For a trade this monumental, it would likely cost 2 or 3 first round picks, a bevvy of 2nd round picks and more, and a young player with upside (Dre Greenlaw, Deebo Samuel/Brandon Aiyuk, etc.)
Expensive, right? This is the cost of trading for a franchise QB, one that is already established and proven. Having to trade away good draft picks, as well as a player, makes this trade that much harder for the 49ers front office to pull off. I won’t say that I DO or DO NOT want the team to make a move like this, but I will say that if the 49ers can upgrade at the QB position, make it happen. Whether that be trading for a QB, or drafting one, getting new faces in the QB room should be the ultimate goal.
The Garoppolo experiment had its ups and downs, but it feels like the writing is on the wall for his future as the team’s leading QB. If it really is time to move on, the front office is in a position to go all in on a potential franchise QB.
There are many factors that go into this type of trade; From draft picks to moving players, as well as both sides simply agreeing to a trade. If anything is certain however, it’s that the NFL is a crazy, crazy league, and the offseason is only just beginning.