With new head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes in the fold, the Detroit Lions have a big decision to make this offseason on the future of Matthew Stafford. However, they are hardly alone in having to deal with a tough situation involving their Pro Bowl quarterback.
That is also the case for the Houston Texans, who are currently dealing with an “extremely unhappy” Deshaun Watson, as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported earlier this month. As a result, the Texans could be forced to trade their star signal-caller. If Watson, who signed a four-year, $156 million contract extension last September, is on the market, plenty of teams will be interested.
According to Good Morning Football on Tuesday, the Lions should be one of those potential suitors and they should dangle Stafford and a 2021 draft pick to entice Houston’s front office, now headed up by new general manager Nick Caserio.
The show took a stab at proposing trades teams could offer for Watson, including this one for the Lions.
Would either Detroit or Houston be interested in this deal? It’s tough to say the Texans would be intrigued at the prospect of nabbing a 32-year-old Stafford, especially since the franchise doesn’t appear to be in “win now” mode after a 4-12 showing this season. However, the deal would provide the Texans the top-10 pick they currently lack after sending its 2020 and 2021 first-round selections to the Miami Dolphins in a massive 2019 trade for offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.
It’s likely the Lions would have to sweeten the deal with additional draft capital considering the competition they’d be up against on the open market. A January 7 report from Benjamin Allbright of Pro Football Network suggested that the starting point on any Watson deal would need to include three first-round picks, three second-round picks and a player.
If that is truly Houston’s asking price, it’s tough to envision the Texans even picking up the phone for this particular offer. It is, however, a very interesting concept to say the least.
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Deshaun Watson’s Fit With Lions
Since the former Clemson star was taken with the 12th overall pick in 2017, Watson has been one of the best young quarterbacks in the league. He can extend plays with his arm or his legs, and that is huge in today’s NFL. Through his first four seasons as a pro, Watson has compiled 14,539 passing yards, 104 touchdowns and 36 interceptions with only a 28-25 record to show. The 25-year-old has also been solid as a runner, rushing for 1,677 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Depending on the direction the Lions go with their new front office and coaching staff, Watson could be a great fit with the team’s current personnel. Detroit might elect to keep impending free agent Kenny Golladay, which would give Watson an elite wideout — relevant considering Houston dealt away DeAndre Hopkins in a shocking trade last March. Otherwise, they could look to draft or trade for complementary pieces at wide receiver.
At running back, the Lions have 2020 second rounder D’Andre Swift and Kerryon Johnson behind the makings of a decent offensive line featuring Taylor Decker, Frank Ragnow and Jonah Jackson. Pro Bowl tight end T.J. Hockenson offers an upgrade over Houston’s previous options at the position, meaning Watson would have no shortage of weaponry to rely on if he came to the Motor City.
Stafford’s Potential NFL Trade Market
If Stafford is indeed on the trading block, there should be a ton of quarterback-needy teams interested in linking up with the Lions for a deal. Clubs such as the Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, Los Angles Rams, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints all have quarterback situations that could be in flux this offseason.
Projected by Spotrac to be among the top five teams in available cap space in the months to come, the Colts and Patriots make a ton of sense considering the $33 million cap hit tied to Stafford’s deal in 2021.
Detroit would have to decide what kind of return they’d want for their former No. 1 overall pick, and the asking price would probably be fairly high considering his 12-year track record as one of the more consistent passers in the league.