Who Could Replace Deshaun Watson at QB?
By: Zac Alfers
Superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson is very angry with his current team the Houston Texans and has requested to be traded. So how did we get here?
Last offseason the team shipped out DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals in a laughable trade that saw Houston bring in oft-injured running back David Johnson. This led to Watson voicing his frustrations with owner Cal McNair who assured the young signal caller he would be involved in future negotiations. Right on cue, McNair doubled-back on his word and hired Nick Caserio as general manager without consulting Watson. The Texans continue to deny any interest in trading their quarterback. Watson has stated he will not play for the team next season if they refuse to trade him. Eventually, something has to give.
My feeling is, because of the bad blood brewing, Watson will be suiting up in a different uniform next season. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathon Jones thinks a realistic trade package for Watson could command at least three first-round picks. Given these numbers, there are only a handful of teams that have enough capital to put together an enticing deal. Here are five options for the Houston Texans to consider in order to replace their disgruntled quarterback.
The Miami Dolphins are one such team that has what it takes to pull off a mega-deal of this caliber. Here’s what the hypothetical trade package would look like.
- 2021 first-round pick (No. 3)
- 2021 first-round pick (No. 18)
- 2022 first-round pick
- 2023 second-round pick
- Tua Tagovailoa
OPTION #1 TUA TAGOVAILOA
My top option to fix Houston’s QB debacle is by trading for Tagovailoa. I was huge on him coming out of Alabama a year ago and I still think he has potential to develop into a franchise player. Tua was serviceable last year as a rookie, posting a 6-3 record as a starter while tossing for 1,814 and 11 TDs. The best part about this trade for Houston, is they restock their draft capital. Two first-rounders this year in a loaded draft class is a HUGE asset and allows the Texans to start building for the future.
OPTION #2 ZACH WILSON
Another route management could decide to take is using the No. 3 overall pick on a QB prospect. If McNair elects this route, the Texans would be in prime position to bring in Zach Wilson out of BYU. Wilson is a tall, athletic pocket passer whose biggest strength is his accuracy. He will provide Houston with a promising young signal caller to mold their team around. The potential of trading Tua for more picks also remains and could help expedite the team’s inevitable rebuild phase.
The New York Jets are another interesting trade candidate and is reportedly one of Watson’s top destinations. If the Jets want to get Watson in New York they will most likely have to offer up something along these lines.
- 2021 first-round pick (No.2)
- 2022 first-round pick
- 2023 first-round pick
- 2021 second-round pick (No. 34)
- 2022 third-round pick
- Sam Darnold
OPTION #3 JUSTIN FIELDS
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is my favorite in the class and I’m not afraid to admit that. This trade allows the Texans to select Fields No. 2 overall in the 2021 draft while providing the team with some future first-round picks. Fields is an elite athlete with outstanding arm strength and is an underrated leader in the locker room. The team should also flip Darnold for extra picks however, I don’t expect the return to be as big as what Tua will command.
OPTION #4 SAM DARNOLD/ANDY DALTON
Darnold, at just 23-years-old, can still potentially develop into a starting QB in his own right. If the Texans believe in the former USC product enough, they could decide to rock with Darnold next season. In turn they can use the No. 2 pick on Penei Sewell (Oregon, OT) or Ja’Marr Chase (LSU, WR) to initiate the rebuild. They could also trade down if the Texans feel that will bring in a surplus of draft capital. If Darnold is the best option at starter, a cheap veteran like Andy Dalton could be brought in to increase the level of competition in the QB room.
The Carolina Panthers are the last team who can reasonably trade for Watson next season.
- 2021 first-round pick (No. 8)
- 2022 first-round pick
- 2021 second-round pick (No. 40)
- 2022 second-round pick
- Kawann Short
- Shaq Thompson
- Teddy Bridgewater
OPTION #5 TEDDY BRIDGEWATER
In my opinion, this is the fastest way back to building a competitive team for the Texans. Houston will get two proven defensive starters in Kawann Short (DT) and Shaq Thomson (LB) while also landing a top-15 QB in Teddy Bridgewater to sweeten the deal. Even though this draft class is very talented, I’m going to take the established veteran every time. Still, the Texans have two solid picks in this year’s draft to bring in some youth onto the roster.