Deshaun Watson Trade Rumors: Broncos, 49ers Intrigue Texans QB More Than Jets

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2021

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson walks off the field before an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson reportedly has some interest in a trade to the Denver Broncos or San Francisco 49ers.

Appearing Friday on ESPN's Get Up, ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler reported that Watson is "intrigued" by the Broncos and 49ers:

Get Up @GetUpESPN

.@JFowlerESPN from a source: "Deshaun Watson has a list of teams he's 'intrigued by' ... I didn't get all the teams, but I was told that the Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers are two of them. ... I was told the Jets, 'eh probably not.'" https://t.co/8YOmTbF3zw

Fowler also said he was told Watson is "probably not" too interested in getting traded to the New York Jets and would favor a move to the Miami Dolphins over New York.

Despite Watson's desire to be traded, the Texans have told interested teams that they are not moving their franchise quarterback, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Houston is under no obligation to trade Watson since he is under contract through 2025, but the threat of a holdout exists if Watson truly insists on not playing another snap with the Texans.

Losing a franchise quarterback of Watson's ilk would be devastating. However, the Texans could benefit from the haul of draft picks Watson would likely land them, especially since they aren't scheduled to pick until the third round of the 2021 NFL draft.

Between the Broncos and 49ers, Denver could likely offer Houston a bit of a better package since it owns the No. 9 overall pick in the 2021 draft compared to San Francisco's No. 12.

The Broncos also have the No. 40 overall pick in the second round and No. 71 in the third round. The Niners have No. 44 in the second round and don't own a third-round pick.

Denver has posted a losing record in four straight seasons and hasn't reached the playoffs since 2015, but it has some talent on offense that Watson could perhaps better utilize than incumbent starting quarterback Drew Lock.

Wide receivers Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, KJ Hamler and Tim Patrick, as well as tight end Noah Fant, would all benefit from Watson's arrival.

The 49ers went just 6-10 last season and missed the playoffs, but they are likely much closer to championship contention than Denver.

San Francisco reached the Super Bowl in 2019, but injuries to key players derailed the 2020 campaign. With the Niners, Watson would have the backing of a supremely talented defense—as well as wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel and tight end George Kittle to throw to.

It is possible that Denver and San Francisco are Watson's preferred destinations, but the Texans would likely rather trade him to the Dolphins or Jets if possible.

Miami owns two first-round picks and two second-round picks in 2021, including No. 3 overall, while the Jets own No. 2 overall and the No. 34 overall pick in the second round.

A trade with either of those teams would help the Texans reload quickly since they could conceivably take their new franchise quarterback right away, but since Watson has a no-trade clause in his contract, Houston will be at his mercy if it does reverse course and try to trade him.