Deshaun Watson Trade Rumors: Texans QB Prefers to Play for 49ers, Broncos

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIMarch 17, 2021

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) kneels / sits on the field in frustration during an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Matt Patterson)
Matt Patterson/Associated Press

The San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos were both expected to be active on the quarterback market during free agency, looking for options to supplement the quarterbacks they already have. But they might be in the mix to find someone to replace their signal-callers entirely.

As a disgruntled Deshaun Watson continues his quest to leave the Houston Texans, San Francisco and Denver are reportedly among the spots he's open to landing in a trade.

"[Watson] controls where he wants to go," The Athletic's Michael Lombardi said on The Rich Eisen Show (h/t Jas Kang of SB Nation). "The rumor is he doesn’t want to play in New York, he doesn’t want to play in Miami. He wants to play in Denver and San Francisco." 

Watson, who signed a four-year, $156 million extension ahead of the 2020 season that will keep him under contract through 2025, became frustrated by the Texans' hiring of longtime New England Patriots executive Nick Caserio as their new general manager this offseason, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. He reportedly told new head coach David Culley that "he has no intention of suiting up for the team again," according to Dan Graziano of ESPN. 

But Culley has mostly remained firm in his position that Watson is the team's starting quarterback. 

The 49ers seemed to take a similar stance with Garoppolo, who has missed 23 games dating back to 2018. General manager John Lynch said the team's focus this offseason was finding a better player to back up the former Patriots reserve (h/t Matt Barrows of The Athletic).

Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard, both of whom are free agents, have combined to go 6-17 since 2018. 

Meanwhile, NFL Network's James Palmer said Denver is expected "to bring in competition for Drew Lock," who went 4-9 and threw for 2,933 yards, 16 touchdowns and a league-leading 15 interceptions across 13 starts in 2020.

If Watson were to make his way to either team, it would be a breath of fresh air. He led the league in passing yards (4,823) and threw a career-high 33 touchdowns with the Texans last season.