Why the 49ers Can't Trade for Deshaun Watson Until June 1

There's a reason the Houston Texans haven't traded Deshaun Watson yet.
By Grant Cohn ,

There's a reason the Houston Texans haven't traded Deshaun Watson yet.

They can't.

If they were to trade him now to the 49ers or any other team, the Texans would take on $21.6 million in dead cap money. And if they were to keep him, they'd pay him only $15.94 million in 2021. Which means trading him now would cost the Texans almost $6 million more than keeping him.

So, of course they haven't traded him yet. They would be incompetent to trade him now.

But things will change on June 1.

On that date, the Texans can trade Watson and take on a dead-cap hit of just $5.4 million. Meaning if they trade him on June 1 or after, they will save more than $10 million in cap space for 2021. So the Texans have to wait until June 1 at the earliest to trade Watson. And by then, the 2021 NFL Draft will be complete. So whichever team trades for Watson won't have to trade draft picks in 2021 to get him. Instead, they'll trade future draft picks and players.

Which could be good news for the 49ers, because they won't have to trade the 12th pick in the upcoming draft to land Watson. They still would have to send the Texans six or seven assets -- some combination of high future draft picks and foundational players. And I can't think of a team in NFL history that traded six or seven assets for one player and won a Super Bowl. But that's another issue.

If the 49ers want Watson, they must be patient.