NFL Trade Rumors: Broncos Would Pursue Deshaun Watson, 'Top Group' of QBs

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2021

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson runs up field during an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

While the Denver Broncos are in the market for a quarterback this offseason, they have their limits.

NFL Network's James Palmer reported the Broncos are interested in Houston Texans star Deshaun Watson and would be "aggressive" if the Texans make him available. However, Denver wasn't interested in Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and prefers to add someone from the "top group" at the position:

James Palmer @JamesPalmerTV

Where do things stand at QB for the #broncos this offseason? Here's what I've gathered and it could tell you a few things as to where everything stands with their thinking. My report on NFL NOW on @nflnetwork https://t.co/Mc3EX9VLde

ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen subsequently reported the Eagles agreed to send Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional second-rounder in 2022.

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

If Carson Wentz’s playtime is at or above 75% next season, the conditional 2022 second-round pick would become a first-round pick, per sources. The second-round pick also.could become a first if Wentz plays at least 70 percent of the plays and the Colts go to the playoffs.

Palmer mirrored a report from Denver7's Troy Renck.

Watson would be a big upgrade under center for all but a handful of teams. His age (25) and contract status (four-year, $156 million extension through 2025) ensure he'd be a long-term solution at the position, too.

That Denver's list expands beyond Watson may speak to a lack of confidence in Drew Lock.

Dan Patrick reported on his radio show that the Broncos went after Matthew Stafford and was prepared to put Lock and the No. 9 overall pick in the 2021 draft in their trade package to the Detroit Lions:

Dan Patrick Show @dpshow

Source: The #Broncos made a run at trading for Matthew Stafford. They offered their 9th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and Drew Lock. #Lions https://t.co/6uOYrdpeDs

The Lions instead dealt Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff, a third-round pick and two future first-round picks.

If the Broncos ultimately don't bring in a marquee quarterback, Lock will clearly be under the microscope in 2021.

He made five appearances as a rookie, throwing for 1,020 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions. However, lack of progress in his second year raised cause for concern. The 2019 second-round pick's completion percentage fell from 64.1 to 57.3 while he threw for 2,933 yards, 16 touchdowns and an NFL-high 15 interceptions.

While it's too early to label Lock a bust, he's may be on a trajectory to follow Paxton Lynch and Brock Osweiler as former general manager John Elway's biggest whiffs in the draft.

Should the 24-year-old put together another shaky season in 2021, the Broncos would presumably be more active in looking to move on.