The Houston Texans presumably don’t want to trade Deshaun Watson, a legitimate franchise quarterback in the prime of his NFL career.
Thus, the question becomes: What can Houston realistically expect to receive in a trade involving Watson?
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler recently posed this question to front-office personnel across the NFL, and several evaluators told him Houston definitely could land at least three first-round draft picks.
“Oh yeah — he’s worth at least that,” an NFC executive said, per Fowler. “The haul would be pretty insane.”
As Fowler notes, eight veteran NFL players have been traded for multiple first-round picks since 2000, but technically no player since Herschel Walker in 1989 has brought back three first-rounders.
It’s reasonable to think the Texans’ asking price for Watson will be astronomical, however, as it’s extremely rare that a player of his caliber becomes available in trade talks, especially a quarterback in today’s pass-happy NFL.
Three first-round picks — or similar value — might be a starting point in negotiations.
“NFL front-office personnel are unanimous in this, with several saying additional draft capital might be necessary,” Fowler wrote in a piece published Wednesday on ESPN.com. “It largely depends where the picks in the first round might fall. Many pointed out that if (Jamal) Adams, (Jalen) Ramsey and (Laremy) Tunsil garnered two firsts, Watson should get far more because of the importance of the quarterback position.”
Watson, the 12th overall pick in 2017, has earned three Pro Bowl selections in his four seasons with the Texans, who posted a 4-12 record in 2020 despite the 25-year-old’s excellent performance.
He’s also under contract through the 2025 campaign after signing an extension with Houston back in September. So, any team that acquires Watson would do so with the understanding that he’s locked up for several years at a reasonable rate for a quarterback of his stature.