NFL rumors: What’s a realistic trade offer for Deshaun Watson?

The asking price for Deshaun Watson has only gone up following this weekend’s blockbuster move. 

Teams interested in trading for Deshaun Watson were dealt a tough blow over the weekend. The Los Angeles Rams sent Jared Goff, two first-round picks and a third-round pick to the Detroit Lions in exchange for Matthew Stafford.

The Houston Texans were reportedly starting talks at a minimum of three first-rounders. Any team hoping for less can kiss that dream goodbye after the Stafford deal.

In this week’s Stacking the Box column, FanSided’s Matt Verderame spoke with several NFL executives about what it would take to trade for Watson before the Stafford news dropped. Three executives all had different answers.

What will it cost to get Watson?

Verderame learned the following:

“Hours before the Goff deal, I reached out to three current or former general managers (who are currently in personnel roles with different clubs) and asked a simple question: If they were in Texans GM Nick Caserio’s position, what would be the minimum offer for Watson to warrant their attention? One source said three first-rounders, or a pair of firsts with a Day 2 pick and a good player. Another texted back he would need three first-rounders and a legitimate player. A third responded ‘A lot,’ saying he wouldn’t need a trio of firsts but there would have to be a litany of assets in play. Again, this was a few hours before Stafford was sent to Los Angeles. Suffice to say, the price has gone up.”

The Stafford deal has changed the perception of what it will take to convince Houston to trade Watson. However, Nick Caserio may have already had a higher price in mind than what had been leaked out in rumors.

The value of sending three first-round picks also changes based on where those picks are expected to be in each draft. Adding Watson should realistically make a team better, so the 2021 pick would be key. The New York Jets and Miami Dolphins obviously stand out as top contenders because they’re selecting so high in the 2021 draft.

One interesting bit of information is the Dolphins could send the No. 3 overall pick to Houston. That pick was acquired in the Laremy Tunsil trade, so the Texans would simply get their pick back.

The one executive who replied “a lot” to Verderame’s question sums up this situation. It is going to take a potentially record-setting haul of draft picks and active players just to get Houston to consider a deal. Watson just signed an extension, and while it would create a fractured organization, the team can choose to fine him for missed time and not trade him.

However, Watson has made it clear he wants out. Caserio needs to come to his senses and realize this organization has to reset because of its own failings. David Culley can know who his quarterback is early on and not have to wonder if Watson would indeed ever come back. Adding a haul of picks would also help the organization improve after years of mismanagement by Bill O’Brien in the personnel department.

Three first-round picks and a starting quarterback may no longer be enough to land Watson. Waiting any longer to make a stronger offer could lead to a front office wondering what could have been if they were only bolder.