The first domino of the quarterback market fell in blockbuster fashion this past weekend as Lions star Matthew Stafford was traded to the Rams in exchange for Jared Goff, two first-round picks and a third-rounder, leaving Colts fans in a state of disarray since they were largely viewed as the favorites to land the 33-year-old quarterback.
Still without a starter lined up for next season, Indianapolis luckily has a handful of realistic options to target this offseason. We would all agree that Deshaun Watson is the cream of that crop and he further foreshadowed that he’ll waive his no-trade clause before long by removing all traces of the Texans organization from his social media accounts.
Houston’s front office has come out publicly to state that Watson will be its starter in 2021, but everybody with a shred of common sense knows that’s a pipe dream. In fact, their latest reported demands for the three-time Pro Bowler indicate that there will be a myriad of suitors lined up.
According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, the Texans will want two first-rounders, two seconds and two young defensive starters (at least) in return. If the Colts don’t look to exploit this opportunity, then fans might form an angry mob outside of Lucas Oil Stadium.
The latest reports indicate that Deshaun Watson wouldn’t cost the Colts too much.
The consensus reaction among insiders and analysts after the Stafford news broke was that it would balloon Watson’s price tag. However, McClain seems to think otherwise, and considering that he’s one of the most experienced and respected reporters in the business, it’s credible.
More important, however, is the fact that the Colts’ front office should be throwing a parade knowing that Watson could be acquired for this haul. General manager Chris Ballard was reportedly willing to part ways with multiple picks and players in a potential deal for Stafford, and that suggests Houston’s current asking price is right up his alley.
Sure, Ballard was reluctant to give up multiple firsts for the former No. 1 overall pick, but you have to think that would change for Watson, who checks all of the boxes in terms of what a team would want in a franchise quarterback. Not only is he a top-five player at the position, but he’s just 25 years old and under contract for the next five (!) seasons.
Despite being sacked the second-most of any quarterback in the league, Watson still managed to finish first in passing yards (4,823) and yards per attempt (8.9), as well as second in passer rating (112.4), third in completion percentage (70.2%), fourth in interception percentage (1.3%), fifth in first downs (221), and seventh in passing touchdowns (33).
Ballard got a pass for not giving up the farm for Stafford, but he wouldn’t hear the end of it if he let his affinity for hoarding assets dissuade him from trading for Watson. The former No. 12 overall pick would put the Colts in position to compete for a championship as soon as next season, and these reported demands are hardly iron-fisted.