After an impressive season from Derek Carr, it looked like the Las Vegas Raiders would go into the offseason without even thinking about the quarterback position. That was until Deshaun Watson made his unhappiness with the Houston Texans clear. Carr is a very good quarterback but Watson is probably a top-five player at the position.
Though it would likely be unwise for the Raiders to unload a ton of draft picks to land the quarterback, it has to at least be a little bit appealing to head coach Jon Gruden. According to Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr, Las Vegas is among the best fits for Watson in a potential trade:
Jon Gruden loves Deshaun Watson. Jon Gruden loves veteran quarterbacks. Jon Gruden has flirted with just about every potential option that wasn’t Derek Carr, despite Carr continuing to put up encouraging seasons. While Vegas has now blown through its Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper bounties, the team does have some movable pieces on the roster and will reset a bit this offseason as it does its best to rework bulky contracts signed by the likes of Tyrell Williams and Trent Brown, among others. Gruden is a great recruiter and has the time and contractual runway to develop an offense to Watson’s liking. The drawbacks? Facing the Chiefs twice a year, facing new Chargers head coach Brandon Staley twice a year after his historical run in Los Angeles and facing Vic Fangio twice a year, a defensive coordinator from which a lot of modern successful schemes have been borrowed.
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Is There Any Chance a Watson Trade Happens?
The only way the Raiders would move on from Carr this offseason is if they can land Watson. That really shouldn’t be seen as disrespectful to Carr. Watson is just a special talent that teams wait for decades to find.
However, a trade to the Raiders seems unlikely. Watson probably wouldn’t mind though. He’d get to play with an offensive guru at head coach, a stout offensive line, an elite running back and one of the three best tight ends in the NFL. He’s also said in the past that he likes the way the Raider jerseys look. Plus, there’s no state income tax in Nevada.
While playing the AFC West isn’t ideal, the Raiders could certainly build a winner around Watson. That said, it’s probably not going to happen. There are teams that can offer Houston a lot more. Watson has a no-trade clause in his contract so he’ll have some leverage over where he’ll go but the connection to the Raiders isn’t strong enough for him to force his way to Las Vegas.
What Could the Raiders Offer for Watson?
Though it seems like a Watson to the Raiders trade isn’t likely, it’s not impossible. If the silver and black want to play ball, they’re going to have to trade Carr. If the Texans actually value him as a top-10 quarterback, a package around him could be appealing.
Bleacher Report recently floated the idea of two first-round picks and Carr for Watson. That might be a fair trade depending on how Houston values the Raiders quarterback. If not, Las Vegas should steer clear as the price would be way too high while their defense still needs a ton of work.