Proposed Trade Sends Buccaneers 3-Time Pro Bowl Quarterback

Bruce Arians

Getty Bruce Arians' Buccaneers are in the market for a new quarterback.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a Tom Brady-size hole to fill at quarterback, and the team’s best chance of finding an elite replacement for Brady is through a trade. Bleacher Report’s Ian Wharton put together a list of trade proposals that could “prevent a Rams Super Bowl repeat.”

One of Wharton’s ideas has the Buccaneers acquiring quarterback Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans in exchange for a package of draft picks. In the proposal, published March 1, the Bucs would land Watson by sending the Texans their 2022 first-rounder (No. 27), 2023 first-round pick (protected in case of a suspension), 2022 fourth-round selection (No 131 overall) and 2023 second-rounder.

Despite Watson’s ongoing legal woes, the Buccaneers might love acquiring the star quarterback without having to give up more than two first-round picks. The Texans are unlikely to consider doing such a proposed trade, even with Watson facing a potential suspension.

Watson still has four seasons remaining on his four-year, $156 million contract. The quarterback is slated to have a $35 million salary in 2022.

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Arians: Bucs Ownership Would Have to Approve a Trade for Watson

During the NFL Combine, the Buccaneers downplayed their chances of pulling off a trade for a quarterback. When asked about the possibility of trading for Watson, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians sounded intrigued but acknowledged that the team’s ownership would have to sign off given the quarterback has 22 civil suits filed against him.

“It would strictly be organizational sign-off,” Arians explained to ESPN’s Jenna Laine on March 1. “I’ve known the kid for a long time. I’m shocked that he’s in this situation. But that would be a strict organizational sign-off.”

Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht declined to comment on Watson because he is under contract with the Texans, per Laine.

“Another quarterback the Bucs have been linked to is Deshaun Watson, but he currently faces accusations of sexual assault by 22 different women,” Laine wrote. “Licht declined to discuss Watson because his personal policy is not to discuss players under contract with other teams, while Arians said ownership would have to make the call.”

Watson Sat Out the 2021 Season After a Trade Request

Watson sat out all of the 2021 season while pushing for a trade out of Houston. The quarterback posted 4,823 yards, 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions while completing 70.2% of his passes in 2020.

Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson listed in a March 6 story the Washington Commanders, Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos as teams potentially interested in trading for Watson. There has been an obvious hesitancy from teams to give up significant draft capital (likely three or more first-round picks) for a quarterback facing an uncertain future.

The Buccaneers View a QB Trade as Unlikely

During a March 1 interview with NFL Network, Arians confirmed the Buccaneers have “called everybody” about a potential trade for a quarterback. The Bucs coach added that he views a trade as unlikely for Tampa Bay.

“I just don’t see those coaches having anything behind door No. 2,” Arians said. “You’re giving up a Pro Bowl player, the guys that everybody’s talking about trading, who’s playing for them?

“Yeah, we’ve called everybody, just like every year. You call about all the players you think they might want to trade and have healthy conversations, and see what it would take, what it wouldn’t take. That’s probably been going on for a month. …I don’t see it, as the coach, I’d be really pissed if you traded my guy.”

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