Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has been the talk of the league after the 25-year-old quarterback has reportedly spoken with teammates about requesting a trade following a cryptic tweet earlier this week.
The Minnesota Vikings aren’t in the greatest position to get Watson with quarterback Kirk Cousins on a fully guaranteed contract that few teams would be interested in taking. There was speculation surrounding Cousins’ future with the team after he led the league in interceptions through the first half of the season, but Cousins solidified his job security in the second half of the season, throwing 24 touchdowns and three interceptions.
Fans are still dreaming up scenarios where the Vikings could maneuver a trade for Watson and ESPN analyst Field Yates chimed in on the fun, taking a jab at general manager Rick Spielman.
Sharing a trade scenario where Minnesota would receive Watson for Cousins and a first-round pick, Yates ironically was lukewarm on the deal, pleading that Houston would need to throw in a seventh-round pick to sweeten the deal — a play on Spielman’s notorious reputation for hoarding late-round draft picks.
If the Texans were to throw in a 7th rounder the Vikings would have to at least think about doing it. https://t.co/lWQbSBR6CO
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 7, 2021
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Vikings Are Longshots to Get Deshaun Watson
The Texans are in the midst of major changes after coach and general manager Bill O’Brien was fired. Watson, who has made three consecutive Pro Bowls after his 2017 rookie season, is arguably a top-five quarterback in the league who still has his best years ahead of him. He’s an invaluable asset that should have most general managers scrambling to make an offer for him.
And the Vikings should too. But what Minnesota has to work with will likely not field the 25-year-old star quarterback.
Houston has already expressed it is not interested in dealing Watson. NFL insider Benjamin Allbright “asked for a hypothetical offer that might move” Watson. Houston set the bar for negotiations unrealistically high to shrug off any potential suitors.
“Three 1sts, three 2nds and a player might start the conversation,” Allbright repeated verbatim from a source.
Deshaun Watson Won’t Make a Major Difference Short Term
Minnesota enters the 2021 offseason $14.26 million in the hole, per Sportrac, and will already have to sever ties with several veterans or renegotiate their contracts this offseason.
The Vikings, who have the 14th overall pick and no second-round picks this year, would need to convince the Texans to take Cousins, who still carries a hefty cap hit of $20 million over the next two seasons if he is traded before June 1. If Houston remains stern in its asking price, Minnesota would have to give up their first-rounder and several high-value picks over the next few seasons as well.
That leaves virtually no cap space over the next two years with Minnesota’s current contracts to sign any exceptional free agents while the offensive and defensive lines remain in disarray and starting safety Anthony Harris on his way out.
Continuing to rely solely on the draft and development of players isn’t a sound strategy with the 2020 season serving as evidence. The Vikings faced several injuries and immediately found themselves with a defense that was playing at one point seven first-year starters.
There are endless scenarios of how the Vikings could swing a trade for Watson, but many ultimately bring Minnesota back to the root of its problems this season — depth on defense and porous pass protection.
That’s a situation that leaves little for Watson to gain in the short term as he’s looking to leave a floundering Texans franchise.
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Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.