As of now, the Deshaun Watson situation in Houston remains at a standstill. New Texans GM Nick Caserio isn't listening to offers for his superstar quarterback, but Watson hasn't changed his stance about not wanting to play for an organization led by Cal McNair and Jack Easterby.
So we wait, and the speculation continues. In his latest Football Morning in America column for Pro Football Talk, Peter King addressed Watson's future and came up with several blockbuster trade proposals involving the disgruntled QB. King created hypothetical two-team deals that would send Watson to the Panthers, Jets, and 49ers. But it's the last of four proposals that caught the eyes of Vikings fans.
King's final proposal, which he calls a "wing and a prayer," is a three-team QB swap that sends Watson to the Vikings, Kirk Cousins to the 49ers, and Jimmy Garoppolo to the Texans. It's incredibly unlikely for a number of reasons, but it's notable that someone like King –– one of the most plugged-in, respected NFL writers out there –– would even discuss it as a possibility.
Here's the proposal from King:
This is centered on the premise that San Francisco would not want to rip apart a team and a future, and might be willing to take a lesser deal for a quarterback Shanahan has long admired. And also that Caserio, in the heart of the draft room in 2014 when the Patriots made Garoppolo a second-round pick, would want to try again with Jimmy G. It’s a wing and a prayer, but fascinating to me.
Proposal: The Vikings send quarterback Kirk Cousins to San Francisco. The Niners send Garoppolo to Houston, if, of course, he’d waive his no-trade. The Texans send Watson to Minnesota. In return: the Niners send their first-round pick in 2021 (12th overall) to Houston, and they’re out. (So San Francisco would be trading Garoppolo and a one to Houston and getting Cousins with two years left on his contract.) The Vikings would send linebacker Anthony Barr and running back Alexander Mattison plus their first-round picks in 2021 (14th overall) and 2023, and second-round picks in 2022 and 2023 in exchange for Watson. Houston’s haul: Garoppolo, two ones this year, a one in 2023, and two second-round picks.
There's a lot to unpack here. Let's go team by team.
The Vikings get Watson for the price of the No. 14 overall pick this year, their 2023 first, second-rounders in 2022 and 2023, Cousins, Barr, and Mattison. Is that a big price to pay? Definitely. Is it worth it to land Watson? In my opinion, it absolutely is. Two firsts, two seconds, Cousins, an overpaid (albeit important) linebacker and a backup running back for a young top-five quarterback? When you consider the added bonuses of clearing the Cousins and Barr contracts off of the books, it's a deal that works out in the Vikings' favor. Minnesota hasn't made any calls about trading Cousins, but they would have to at least strongly consider this idea.
But, of course, that's not the biggest issue. The No. 1 roadblock is that there's been no indication Watson would waive his no-trade clause to come to Minnesota and play in a run-first offense. Even if Watson would approve, the 49ers and Texans would also have to be on board...and I'm skeptical of that.
The 49ers get Cousins for Garoppolo and the No. 12 overall pick this year in this proposal. Even if there's truth to the idea that Kyle Shanahan and SF would be interested in adding Cousins, would they really give up the 12th pick in what amounts to a Garoppolo-Cousins swap? I'm not sure the Niners do that (and I'm positive that their fanbase would be upset if they did, not that that matters).
The Texans lose Watson and get a return haul of Garoppolo, the No. 12 and 14 picks this year (which could potentially be packaged to move up for a QB), two players (Barr and Mattison), and three other picks from Minnesota: two seconds and a 2023 first. The Caserio-Garoppolo angle is an interesting one; Jimmy G's contract is a big one for a bridge QB, so maybe this is contingent on the Texans legitimately believing in Garoppolo. Three first-rounders and two seconds is a strong haul of picks.
In the end, there are many reasons why this is a major longshot. The Vikings aren't looking to move Cousins, and even if they're interested in Watson, he would also have to be interested in them. The 49ers may not want to give up the No. 12 pick for Cousins, and the Texans may not have any interest in the contracts of Garoppolo and Barr.
But hey, it's sure fun to talk about. With big names like King and Michael Lombardi continuing to mention the Cousins-49ers connection, that's something that must at least be taken seriously. And if the Vikings could land Watson in the process, they'd have to immediately be viewed as Super Bowl contenders in 2021 and beyond.
Thanks for reading. Make sure to bookmark this site and check back daily for the latest Vikings news and analysis all offseason long. Also, follow me on Twitter and feel free to ask me any questions on there.