Deshaun Watson is the latest star athlete to request a trade from his current club.
The difference is most of the time those athletes are in the NBA; Watson is a quarterback in the NFL.
The Houston Texans‘ star is only 25 years old, has made the Pro Bowl 3 times, and plays the most important position in football.
His contract also would keep him under team control until 2026.
Every sports network in the country has been speculating what a trade package for Watson might look like.
However, with the recent trade of Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams, there is now a baseline to go off.
The full blockbuster trade involving two former No. 1 overall draft picks …#Lions get:
QB Jared Goff
3rd-round pick in 2021
1st-round pick in 2022
1st-round pick in 2023#Rams get:
QB Matthew Stafford
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 31, 2021
The Lions got two future first-round picks, a third-round pick this year, as well as Jared Goff for the 33-year-old Stafford.
Let’s use the Stafford trade as an example.
Assuming the 1st round picks in 2022 and 2023 will be mid-to-late round picks, here is the approximate value assigned to each pick.
- 2021 3rd-round Pick: 47 points
- 2022 1st-round Pick: ~230
- 2023 1st-round Pick: ~200
That would give the Lions a total of approximately 380 points in draft capital.
Let’s take a look at what a trade package might look like for Watson.
Watson Requires 2 Firsts at a Minimum
The baseline for any Watson trade is at least two 1st-round picks, potentially even three.
However, the difference between the firsts received for Stafford and the firsts for Watson will be position in the first round.
As a reference, the first five picks in the draft are valued at 1,000, 717, 514, 491, and 468 points.
The last five picks in the draft are valued at 209, 203, 196, 190, and 184 points.
Clearly a drastic difference in value.
This is the reason why the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets are the two front-runners for any deal with Watson.
I think people are overstating the effect of the Stafford deal on potential Watson comp, unless the Texans are taking on an expensive QB from the acquiring team.
But the Jets and the Dolphins seem to be the biggest teams in that market, and their QBs are both on rookie deals.
— Lee Sharpe, ⛓️ @ 🏠 (@LeeSharpeNFL) January 31, 2021
The Dolphins nearly made the playoffs this season and now have four picks in the first two rounds.
The Laremy Tunsil trade from the last offseason landed them the Texans’ first- and second-round selections to go along with their picks.
Surrendering both of their 2021 first-round picks, one of their 2021 second-round picks, and Tua Tagovailoa would be a start.
That would give the Texans 967 points of draft capital (3rd, 18th, and 36th overall picks) as well as last year’s 5th overall pick.
The irony is the Texans would just be getting their draft picks back after giving them away.
The Jets are in a similar situation.
They have two first-round picks and a second-rounder in this year and next year’s draft.
A trade package centered around Sam Darnold, their 2021 first- and second-round pick (2nd and 34th overall), and their 2022 first-round pick would be a good start.
892 points of draft capital plus next year’s pick and a young QB prospect is a good package for Houston moving forward.
Will the Texans Even Consider a Trade?
If a Watson trade is to be done, it would likely consist of at least 4 draft picks – at least two being first-rounders – and a young QB.
Unless one of the first-round picks allows them to draft a future franchise signal-caller.
In which case the Texans may accept a positional player.
However, it is hard to truly put a price on Watson.
Most recent season to have a QB with a 112.4 Rating or higher (MIN: 200 Pass Attempts):
Deshaun Watson (2020)
WFT (N/A) pic.twitter.com/jBwsWqTuJu
— Fifth Quarter Stats (@FQStats) January 28, 2021
The QB is without a doubt the most important position in all of football.
Teams search relentlessly to find even a good quarterback to lead their team.
Finding one who has made multiple Pro Bowls is like striking gold in a mine.
Even more so when that player is under the age of 25.
As valuable as draft picks are, they are still an unknown commodity.
Just because a prospect has the potential to develop into Deshaun Watson doesn’t mean they will.
Deshaun Watson already is Deshaun Watson.
Only QBs w/ 10 games of 300+ passing yards this season:
🚀 Patrick Mahomes
🚀 Deshaun Watson pic.twitter.com/vwqUaPDOnx
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) February 1, 2021
There is also the fact that the NFL changes drastically from year-to-year.
The Houston Texans were coming off a 10-6 season when they traded for Tunsil.
This year, they went 4-12 and all of a sudden the first-round pick they sent Miami is the 3rd overall pick in the draft.
Trading arguably a top-5 QB in the league for any amount of draft capital would be a huge move.
Houston could go another 20 years without finding a QB of Watson’s talent.