New Denver Broncos general manager George Paton promised to be involved in every deal relevant to his interests, but active involvement in a (possible) deal for Deshaun Watson comes at a mind-boggling price.
Media reports have speculated that three first-round picks buys a hello from Houston. That's the jumping-off point. It will take additional capital, in the form of roster assets, to actually pry the franchise quarterback from Cal McNair's cold, dead grip.
If Paton were to phone new Texans GM Nick Caserio, what roster assets could he offer? 9News' Mike Klis believes Caserio may demand QB Drew Lock and wide receiver Jerry Jeudy or tight end Noah Fant or defensive lineman Dre'Mont Jones — foundational core players — in return for Watson. Again, on top of several first-rounders.
Whether this blockbuster trade package advances beyond the feeler stage remains unclear. Due diligence is a certainty, however.
“My guess is George Paton will at least make a call. He may even put a package together," Klis said Thursday on 104.3 The Fan, via reddit. "I think that would be a big upset if the Broncos wound up with Deshaun Watson.”
A major upset.
Beyond the compensation and absorption of Watson's $156 million contract, the blockbuster proposal flies in the face of Paton's NFL ideologies. He promised to be aggressive but not reckless as John Elway's successor and spoke of his philosophy of building through the draft, likelier to stockpile his war-chest than deplete it.
"In the offseason you can make a trade for a player, draft day you can kind of work your way up and down the draft—if you want to go get a player, you go get them. So, we always thought it was important," Paton said Tuesday in his introductory press conference. "The more picks, the more darts and the better chance of you hitting the bullseye. I would like to think that would continue here."
The status quo is the name of the game in Dove Valley. The Broncos retained the incumbent head coach, incumbent coordinators, and, in all probability, an incumbent starting QB until 2022, when the Elway era officially ends and the Paton era begins.
Paton wouldn't have referred to the club as a "sleeping giant" if he felt Lock is beyond saving. He wouldn't have praised Lock as "talented" and worth developing if that ship was going to be jumped. And he wouldn't tamp down the value of a franchise passer if he were about to sell the farm — and the land the farm's on — for one.
"When I was in Minnesota, I think we went to the playoffs with six different quarterbacks if I’m not mistaken. That’s not ideal, but you can still win if you don’t have the franchise guy," Paton said Tuesday.