At times, the antics of some can inspire ideas in others. Perhaps that’s what happened when Houston Texans GM and head coach Bill O’Brien traded away Deandre Hopkins, arguably the best wide receiver in the game, to Arizona in exchange for a second-round pick and oft-injured running back David Johnson. O’Brien followed that by trading for veteran wideout Brandin Cooks, essentially sending the second-round pick he got for Hopkins away to the Los Angeles Rams.
O’Brien’s questionable decision-making has left many scratching their craniums, while some have been inspired by the Texans’ GM’s recent decisions. Matt Barr, a beat writer and podcaster who hosts multiple San Francisco 49ers-centric podcasts, became inspired by O’Brien’s heavily criticized offseason moves.
On his 4th & Gold Podcast, Barr, along with co-host Javy Vega, laid out a trade scenario he thinks should absolutely happen. He thinks the 49ers should contact O’Brien about one more possible trade: Jimmy Garoppolo for Deshaun Watson.
Barr on 49ers: ‘John Lynch Should Be On the Phone Right Now’
Barr has thrown out hypothetical Watson-for-Garoppolo scenarios before. He first brought it up over a month ago, and again a few days ago after the Texans acquired Brandin Cooks. Barr’s initial trade proposal on Twitter suggested the 49ers should send their current quarterback and a first-round pick to Texas: “Jimmy Garoppolo and 31 for Deshaun Watson and 90. John Lynch should be on the phone with BOB right now.”
Barr said the Texans trading a second-round pick to the Rams while agreeing to pay wide receiver Brandin Cooks at least $8 million guaranteed was yet another example of bad decision-making by Bill O’Brien. He thinks it would be remiss for the team that came up just short of winning the Super Bowl this year to not take advantage of a Houston team and GM that seem to be tossing poor decisions around like confetti.
He then highlighted his ideal trade scenario in further detail on his podcast.
Barr: Jimmy G is a top 10 QB, Watson is Top 5
Barr thinks that if the 49ers are serious about improving at every position, they should, at the very least, kick the tires on this specific QB trade. “You have to at least call,” Barr said. “My thought process behind it is very simple. Outside of George Kittle, Nick Bosa, Kyle Juszczyk and Fred Warner, everyone on that roster can be improved upon … Jimmy Garoppolo is really good. I have got him as a top 10, top 12 quarterback. He’s good. I have Deshaun Watson in my top five. I think Watson is that good.”
Co-host Javy Vega saw his point. “I would also think Watson would be an upgrade over Jimmy Garoppolo, I think more so just from a mobility standpoint,” Vega added. Still, both acknowledged that while they felt 49ers GM John Lynch should be looking into a possible trade, it very likely wasn’t going to happen.
“Is it gonna happen? No! Absolutely not. Kyle (Shanahan) and John are sold on Jimmy Garoppolo as their guy. That’s cool, that’s great, he’s a good quarterback. We’ll see if he can take the next step next season. Deshaun Watson is just that dude to me,” Barr explained.
Both Watson and Garoppolo have suffered devastating, season-ending ACL tears, and both have recovered and gone on to successful seasons. Their stats were quite similar last season, with one notable difference.
Garoppolo threw for 3,978 yards, throwing 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 16 games last season, while Watson had 3,852 yards, 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 15 starts (the Texans rested him Week 16 in a game that didn’t matter). Most of their stats are eerily close. Garoppolo’s career rating is 100; Watson’s is 101. Watson had five game-winning drives last year, Garoppolo had four. Jimmy G’s career completion percentage is 67.5 percent; Watson’s is 66.8.
The glaring difference between the two stat-wise supports Vega’s statement: Watson is a dual threat, and Garoppolo is not. Watson had 413 yards on the ground and seven rushing touchdowns last year. Jimmy G ran for 62 yards and one score. It’s not even close there.
While Barr is very likely correct in his assertion John Lynch will not pick up the phone and call Bill O’Brien, picturing Watson in a 49ers uniform does conjure intriguing thoughts.