March, 2020: The Arizona Cardinals agreed to acquire wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans.
Next: The Arizona Cardinals acquire quarterback Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans for quarterback Kyler Murray?
Call me crazy, but what’s the downside once the Texans realize they have no choice but to send Watson on his merry way?
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Yes, the Cardinals have been all-in on Murray since he was the first overall selection in the 2019 draft. However, they are looking down the cannon of likely having to start negotiating for a new contract with Murray after the 2021 season.
That’s assuming they believe he will be worth the mega-contract necessary to keep him.
With Watson, the Cardinals would be adding a quarterback already on his second contract, one that takes him through the 2025 season. It’s pricey, but it’s the going rate for a player that passed for 4,823 yards (8.87 yards per attempt), completed 70.2 percent of his passes and had 33 touchdowns to go with only seven interceptions in 2020. He also rushed for 444 yards and three touchdowns.
And that happened without Hopkins.
Watson’s base salaries total $129.54 million over the next five seasons, but it’s only $10.54 million in 2021. He is also due a $17 million roster bonus in 2023 and that’s what the Cardinals would acquire ($29.3 million average per year) because the Texans paid a $27 million signing bonus he signed the new deal six months ago.
There would be dead money against the 2021 cap for Murray, and the Cardinals would have to be creative to manage that if a deal of this magnitude was accomplished, but it’s not impossible.
The reality is that Murray is 5-foot-10, while Watson is 6-foot-2. And Watson is only two years older than Murray, who would be able to take his talents back to his home state.
Surely, this isn’t a criticism of Murray, who has made recent noise about playing baseball and football and is one of the most exciting players to watch in the NFL.
It’s simply a matter of doing whatever it takes to make your team better. And the Cardinals would be a better team with Deshaun Watson at quarterback.
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