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Quarterback Deshaun Watson is messing with Texas, more specifically, the Houston Texans. He wants out and has made that desire clear to his new coach, in addition to anyone else paying attention.
This NFL offseason has been back and forth by quarterback movement. Carson Wentz, Matt Stafford and Jared Goff haven already changed teams, impacting the NFL futures markets. Russell Wilson has all but issued a trade demand and given the Seahawks four approved destinations. Philip Rivers retired and Drew Brees is expected to follow.
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At least a dozen NFL teams need a new starting quarterback, want to make a change at the position, or are reportedly interesting in making a move for the right player. Watson would be tops on any team’s wish list.
Loyalty is everything. Don’t you EVER forget it.
— Deshaun Watson (@deshaunwatson) February 25, 2021
A year ago, Watson signed a four-year, $156 million contract extension. He is scheduled to earn $10.54 million in salary in 2021, which is the final year of his old deal. His salary increases to $35 million in 2022, $37 million in 2023 and $32 million in 2024 and ’25. Compare that to the expected franchise tag on quarterbacks this season, which is expected to be $37 million.
So yes, even after signing a that $156 million extension, Watson is a bargain.
Where Will Deshaun Watson Play In 2021?
Several books have posted markets on where Watson will take his first snap in 2021, but the action has been limited to Colorado. Here are Watson’s first-snap 2021 odds at PointsBet in that state.
NFL odds current as of publication and subject to change
FanDuel has also had odds on Watson’s next team, as well. The Top 2 selections by bet count on “Where will Deshaun Watson take his next snap” in 2021 at that site are the Denver Broncos (41%) and Miami Dolphins (9%).
There are countless reasons why the Texans do not want to deal Watson. Chief among them is a $21.6 million dead money cap hit they would absorb with a trade before June 1. The cap hit shrinks to $5.4 million if the Texans deal Watson after that date.
From NFL Now: The #Texans don’t plan on trading QB Deshaun Watson for a long, long time (and likely not at all). pic.twitter.com/iNOmLjm7BS
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 26, 2021
Watson just finished another stellar season in 2020 despite the Texans’ woes. He threw for a career-best and league-leading 4,823 yards along with 33 touchdowns and career-low seven interceptions. Thanks in large part to DeAndre Hopkins, who was traded to Arizona last year, Watson sits as the NFL career completion leader at 67.8%.
Watson’s desire to be dealt became public after the Texans hired Nick Caserio as their new general manager without his input. Things didn’t change when the Texans hired David Culley as head coach.
Per sources, Texans QB Deshaun Watson met with new Texans head coach David Culley last Friday. In that meeting Watson reiterated that he wants to be traded and told Culley he has no intention of playing for the Texans again. No change from Watson’s end. He remains dug in.
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) February 25, 2021
Peter King of ProFootballTalk.com lists the Panthers, Jets, 49ers and Dolphins as the “best candidates” and has the Bears and Broncos among his “others.”
Here is a look at the current division, conference and Super Bowl odds for six of Watson’s potential landing spots outside of Houston, how his arrival might impact each team and the Best Bets to make in the NFL futures markets.
RELATED: Super Bowl 56 Futures Odds
Deshaun Watson To Carolina Panthers
|Super Bowl 56||+5000|
The Panthers have a solid offensive set-up with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback and running back Christian McCaffrey as anchors. But coach Matt Ruhle and new GM Scott Fitterer saw their team finish 5-11 this past season. They play in a division that was electrified by Brees in the regular season and Tom Brady in the playoffs.
The Brady Effect in Tampa Bay has given inspiration and a road map to the rest of the NFL, or at least those teams with multiple parts in place. Just add the GOAT and win a championship. Fitterer has said he wants to be “in on every deal” in the NFL. If the Texans are willing to deal, the Panthers may indeed be the team most willing to dance with them.
BEST BET: We never advise directly betting against Tom Brady. Avoid the Panthers to win the NFC South no matter their quarterback. The play here is limited and would be on the Panthers and Watson pulling off a stunner in the NFC championship game and paying off at +2500.
BETTING ON BIG BEN: Roethlisberger Record ATS Doesn’t Match His Success
Deshuan Watson To New York Jets
|Super Bowl 56||+8000|
The New York Jets have the No. 2 and No. 23 pick in the upcoming draft, $67 million in cap space and a viable quarterback in 24-year-old Sam Darnold. They clearly have the most to offer the Texans in terms of a trade. Houston is bordering on a complete rebuild with or without Watson.
The Jets haven’t won a Super Bowl in more than 50 years so any move by Gang Green can’t be overlooked or discounted. The Jets would likely keep Darnold – who is making $10 million this season – if they choose Ohio State QB Justin Fields or BYU QB Zach Wilson with that second pick. The NFL would love to have a superstar like Watson playing QB in the Big Apple.
BEST BET: Not betting on the Jets.
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Deshaun Watson To San Francisco 49ers
|Super Bowl 56||+1400|
The 49ers are just a year removed from having a 10-point lead in the Super Bowl. San Francisco crashed in 2020 after Jimmy Garoppolo got hurt as he played just six games. GM John Lynch earlier this week said he was had no doubt Garoppolo will be his starter in 2021. But of course even Lynch added a caveat about the “right situation” presenting itself. Translation, he is taking calls from Houston.
Watson would be major upgrade over Jimmy G. given his mobility and passing skills. Kyle Shanahan was in high school and college when his father Mike coached John Elway with the Broncos. No doubt Kyle would love a shot coaching a talent like Watson.
BEST BET: The markets on appear to have already priced in a 49ers move at QB or a return of Jimmy G. to his conference-winning form. The best value here is +1400 to win the Super Bowl, with or without Watson.
Deshaun Watson To Denver Broncos
|Super Bowl 56||+7500|
The Denver Broncos have the No. 9 pick in the NFL draft. That’s enough to form the basis of a deal with the Texans for Watson. The question for bettors is two-fold. Do the Broncos have enough after such a deal to elevate themselves to contend in a potentially loaded AFC West?
And can anyone dethrone the Chiefs as back-to-back conference champions? The Broncos were 4-9 behind Drew Lock in 2020. Lock was without WR Courtland Sutton and showed terrific progress in the final five weeks of the season.
BEST BET: The only reasonable play here is the Broncos at +1800 to win the AFC West. They’d have to land Watson, hope the Raiders (who are on Wilson’s approved trade list) do not make a deal with Seattle and bank on the Chiefs to settle back to earth after their Super Bowl debacle.
Deshaun Watson To Chicago Bears
|Super Bowl 56||+6000|
The 2020 season began with high expectations for the Chicago Bears. They beat Brady and the Bucs early in the season, but soon faltered. The Bears did manage to make the playoffs before getting bounced in the wild-card round.
However, Mitch Trubisky is all but gone and with Watson and Wilson both on the Bears’ radar, expectations are beginning to spike across Bears Nation. Running back Tarik Cohen openly recruited both Wilson and Watson via Twitter this week. Not a good sign if you’re Trubisky and want to stay in Chicago.
Watson is a 25-year-old superstar quarterback. While he doesn’t have Wilson’s championship resume, his arrival in Chicago would undoubtedly make this team a contender to win the NFC North, if not earn a Super Bowl berth.
Deshaun Watson To Miami Dolphins
|Super Bowl 56||+2800|
Miami has plenty of Football Bitcoin to make a deal happen. The Dolphins are no doubt already dangling second-year QB Tua Tagovailoa to entice the Texans. They also have the No. 3 and No. 18 picks in the first round.
All of that – and more – will be necessary to bring Watson to South Beach. Tua is a good equivalent value to the No. 2 pick the Jets have to offer. He was taken high in the first round and has already worked through some of the rough edges in making his NFL debut. The Dolphins spent 20 years in AFC East purgatory in the aftermath of Dan Marino’s retirement and dominance of Brady and Bill Belichick in the AFC East.
Watson would give the Dolphins their first marquee franchise QB in the 21st century. Brian Flores’ defense ranked No. 1 in the NFL in forcing turnovers in 2020 and was fifth in points allowed. Even if Miami were to deal its first-round picks to Houston, the franchise would still have a pair of second-rounders and a third-round pick to bolster the offensive line and running game.
BEST BET: You can’t miss here as the Dolphins are a great value all around. Make it easy on yourself and load up on Miami winning the AFC East at +280.