The 49ers trade a a lot to land Watson in King’s trade proposal.
NBC Sports’ Peter King gave his idea on what it might take for a team to trade for Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson. King mentioned what everyone else has: The Texans have received offers from teams, but Houston isn’t engaging. King said at least two teams have given offers to Houston and gotten zero feedback.
How long will Houston dig their heels in? There’s no real reason for the Texans to budge. Watson is under contract, and that’s not changing no matter how he feels about the state of the franchise. The NFL Draft is a little over two months away. A lot could happen between now and then.
Texans GM Nick Caserio’s poker face could change as the draft gets closer and he realizes his 25-year-old franchise QB wasn’t bluffing about stepping onto the field as a member of the Texans again, which brings us to King’s trade proposals.
One of his wild proposals included a three-team trade where the Minnesota Vikings send Kirk Cousins to the Niners. In that scenario, San Francisco also sends No. 12 to Houston and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. That’s the only part that pertains to the 49ers. I doubt anyone would feel confident that San Francisco came out ahead in that trade proposal.
Here’s King’s first trade proposal, where the 49ers land Watson:
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS. San Francisco would be okay with entering 2021 with Jimmy Garoppolo as its starter. But no matter what Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch say, they can’t be totally comfortable with it. Garoppolo has missed 23 of the last 48 regular-season games with injuries. (Tom Brady has missed 15 games due to injury in 20 seasons.) And I’ll always wonder if the 49ers have the tiniest bit of buyer’s remorse for not putting the trigger on a deal with Brady last March. We’ll know when Brady (or Lynch or Shanahan) write a book in 15 years how close that came. But if the Niners could convince Garoppolo to waive his no-trade clause, I could see San Francisco being all in here, even though the Niners clearly would have to part with some major assets, perhaps including the young nerve center of their defense. Linebacker Fred Warner is such a rising star, however, that his re-signing in San Francisco in the next 12 months might affect the franchise’s ability to keep other great young players (Nick Bosa?) in house.
Peter King Proposal: Seven-for-1. Garoppolo, linebacker Fred Warner (that really hurts), tackle Mike McGlinchey, first-round picks in 2021 (12th overall) and 2022, plus a second-round pick in 2021 and third-round pick in 2022 for Watson. It’s a lot for the Niners to pay; of all the players in all the deals I’m proposing, Warner would be the most coveted one in my book. But he’s here because he is entering the final year of his rookie contract and would want a new deal. (McGlinchey is in exact same position, too.) Houston could view them as cornerstones for the rebuild.
The way King frames Warner in this trade resembles the team’s thought process moving DeForest Buckner last offseason. He’s also spot-on as far as Warner’s value. Seeing the Niners part ways with the best linebacker in the NFL would be difficult for many fans to swallow. Seeing Watson under center in exchange would make those same fans forget about Warner within the first month of the season.
I love Warner and think he’s still underrated. We’re talking about a linebacker versus a quarterback, though. In Watson’s case, this is objectively a top-5, at worst, quarterback in the NFL. There’s no comparison here.
So, Houston gets Warner and McGlinchey on a rookie deal, two first-round picks, a second-rounder, and a third-round pick in ‘22. The downside is you create two major holes on both sides of the ball, and now you’re without three premium draft picks in the next two years to fill those holes.
Another issue is assuming this trade doesn’t happen until the first wave of free agency is over. That means San Francisco misses out on an opportunity to sign any unrestricted free agents at linebacker or tackle and are rolling into this year’s NFL Draft trying to find a starter on Day 3 at both positions.
Daniel Brunskill back to right tackle? Colton McKivitz? The shuffling would continue upfront for the Niners, but you’re betting on Watson being able to overcome the loss of McGlinchey. We saw the 49ers operate without both starting offensive tackles in ‘19 for multiple games.
If you’re in the camp that wants Watson, you’re not getting him for cheap. These are the types of deals it would take to land the superstar quarterback. In King’s scenario, would you accept this trade?