Colts perfectly positioned as Deshaun Watson trade rumors mount
By Adam Weinrib
Could the Colts convince the Texans to trade Deshaun Watson in the division?
Though the Colts are firmly entrenched in the playoffs at the moment, that hasn’t stopped offseason quarterback buzz from dominating their franchise’s narrative — and why would it?
After all, Philip Rivers had to race out to a 10-4 start to even begin to get consideration to be brought back for a second one-year tenure in 2021 — and now we’re not so sure that has a chance of succeeding, following a confusing coda to the campaign.
Even if you believe in Rivers moving forward (well, slightly forward), you can’t really argue he’s anything more than a one-year solution to Indy’s quarterback conundrum, first created when Andrew Luck ducked out just before Week 1 of the 2019 season. Every name that crops up on the market will someday be connected to the Colts until they stabilize the position, from Frank Reich’s old pupil Carson Wentz to aging gunslinger Matthew Stafford, a few years ahead of the Rivers curve.
But all options have been either underwhelming or imperfect…until now. Is there any chance at all that Chris Ballard can convince the fledgling Houston Texans braintrust to look his way, within the AFC South’s walls, in a Deshaun Watson trade, as the buzz grows louder?
You’re going to hear a lot of clamoring from the usual suspects here, but other than the shared divisional boundary, there’s no reason the Colts shouldn’t be among them. There’s also no amount of draft capital that would be “overkill” to acquire a franchise-changer of Watson’s level.
As Mike Florio notes, the potential cap charge is only $21.6 million here, despite the extension the “franchise” QB signed just this past offseason. And it feels irresponsible to even speculate about potential cost, seeing as said cost should be paid, no matter how high it escalates.
Keeping that in mind, there are few teams as prepared to absorb the cap burden as Indianapolis — with an estimated $60+ million in cap space entering the offseason, and without a quarterback locked down, Watson’s deal would be a drop in the bucket here. The Colts and Patriots are basically operating on a different financial plane here than anyone else.
The rivalry aspect of these discussions is going to be difficult to duck, though any forward-thinking team should ignore such boundaries and opt for the strongest offer on the table, prepared to swallow the pill of watching the traded player thrive against your roster twice a year.
Will that strong offer come from Chris Ballard? All the parameters suggest he could win this chase if he wanted to.
Forgive us for getting distracted from the Buffalo game for just a bit. It’s only the future of the franchise suddenly at stake.