Deshaun-to-Dallas continues being teased as a (possible) thing.
After receiving top-10 odds to acquire Deshaun Watson, the Dallas Cowboys were billed as a top-10 landing spot for the disenfranchised Houston Texans quarterback, who has officially requested a trade.
Just ask Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon, who proposed that Dallas surrender a package of premium draft picks, including two first-round selections, to nab Dak Prescott’s replacement.
Watson could continue to build a brand in the Lone Star state while quarterbacking the league’s most popular team. You’d have to imagine he’d approve of that deal, especially considering the weapons he’d have at his disposal in the Cowboys offense.
So if the Cowboys can’t get a deal done with Prescott soon, it might be worth considering an offer for Watson involving this year’s No. 10 overall pick, a 2022 first-rounder and at least a Day 2 selection in either 2021 or 2022.
That said, the Texans might be extremely reluctant to trade him to their state rival.
Gagnon positioned the Cowboys at 10th among 13 proposed landing spots for Watson. He also included, in order, the Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears, Las Vegas Raiders, Carolina Panthers, Washington Football Team, Denver Broncos, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, and Miami Dolphins — the rumored front-runner.
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This speculative trade is virtually impossible for the Cowboys to pull off. They would not only need to surrender franchise-altering capital, but Watson also has a $156 million contract, which he signed in September, that must be absorbed. Instead of giving up picks (plural) to pay Watson $39 million per year, why not just sign Prescott for the same amount and … be done? No capital required.
Such is the fly in the ointment in the case for the Cowboys to land Watson, a now-disgruntled three-time Pro Bowler who led the NFL in passing yards this year. But Prescott, a two-time Pro Bowler, is adept in his own right and was on pace to shatter the league’s season-single passing record prior to his devastating Week 5 ankle injury.
Smart money remains on Prescott staying with the Cowboys, through either a long-term contract or another franchise tag — a cost of $37.7 million for 2021. Watson, meanwhile, is a decent bet to land with the Dolphins or Jets, where he reportedly prefers to play for new head coach Robert Saleh.
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Schefter Raises Option of Cowboys Tagging, Trading Dak
Even if the Cowboys again place the franchise tag on Prescott, it would not preclude the organization from parting with the star quarterback.
As part of a musical-chairs offseason that might see, among others, Watson and Matthew Stafford change jerseys, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter explained how it’s possible for Dallas to tag and trade Prescott, slated to become an unrestricted free agent in March. Possible, but hardly probable.
“To do that, they need a certain level of cooperation from Dak Prescott,” Schefter cautioned Thursday on ESPN’s Get Up. “He’s got to come in and sign that franchise tag knowing he’s being traded somewhere. If they had a deal worked out with somebody to a place where he didn’t want to go, what would be his incentive to sign that?
“This is, really, an unofficial no-trade tag that Dak Prescott has by getting the franchise tag, if indeed the Cowboys do put that tag on him. That would be his unofficial no-trade clause. They could not just trade him without his consent.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL