Which Teams Could Go After Deshaun Watson?

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Deshaun Watson #4 watches a play. Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/AFP.

The Houston Texans and quarterback Deshaun Watson are set to part ways via trade this off-season but where he might land remains a big question mark––especially considering the fact that he is still facing 20 civil lawsuits for sexual misconduct, which could delay any potential trade. 

Nonetheless, people are still talking and possible trade scenarios are still going down. 

In fact, Watson already has some dream destinations, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. 

Fowler shared on February that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings are teams on Watson’s radar as potential trade fits.

Here’s what Fowler said on February 16: 

The Texans quarterback, who spent the 2021 season on the team’s active roster but did not play, has begun evaluating potential fits for his services in 2022, with the Buccaneers and Vikings among teams on his radar.

One source noted that Watson — who has a no-trade clause — is still early in the evaluation process, but he’s looking for the right blend of offensive system, coaching, talent, and, most importantly, the chance to win.

The Buccaneers will exhaust all options to resolve their quarterback situation after the retirement of Tom Brady, per sources. The goal is to maximize the championship window instead of rebuilding. Second-round pick Kyle Trask and veteran Blaine Gabbert remain in the fold, but big-name quarterbacks such as Watson or Russell Wilson could be options Tampa Bay at least explore.

But you can’t always get what you want…or can you? 

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Bucs Doing ‘Extensive Homework’ on Watson

The Buccaneers are just as interested in Watson as he is them, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero who reported that the Buccaneers are doing “extensive homework” on Watson.

“Should he remain retired, the Bucs have shifted their focus to other veteran QBs who could be available via trade,” Rapoport and Pelissero said on February 13. “Sources say they’re doing extensive homework on Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and are one of the multiple teams expected to explore a potential trade for Russell Wilson, though the Seahawks have given no indication they’ll deal him.”

Of course, this will all come down to whether or not Tom Brady wants to step out of retirement for one more season, amongst some other reasons––how Watson’s civil lawsuits unfold and what it’s going to cost them.  

The same goes for the Vikings, but as for now, it looks like they are still tied to Kirk Cousins for the 2022 NFL season and will be looking for someone much younger to sit behind him for the season…unless they do a QB swap with Houston. 

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What the Odds Are Saying

While the Vikings and Bucs are high on Watson’s list of “dream” destinations, there are some other teams that make a lot more sense.

Here’s what the latest top-rated sportsbooks have to say: 

Carolina Panthers (+300) 

Carolina’s Sam Darnold experiment didn’t work out last season and Matt Rhule will be desperate to save his job in 2022. There have been reports that the Panthers want to go after Aaron Rodgers, but Watson seems more realistic. Not to mention that they had already tried to go for him ahead of the November 1 deadline last year. 

Denver Broncos (+400)

Denver has also been linked to Aaron Rodgers after hiring former Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett as their new head coach, but Rodgers is likely to hang his hat in Green Bay. 

Philadelphia Eagles (+500)

The Eagles don’t seem to be too sure about Jalen Hurts as they have been involved in QB trade rumors for over a year now and they have the ammo to make a tread with three-first round draft picks to use. But, that just depends on if they have plans to build around Hurts or move on from him. 

Washington Commanders (+600)

It’s been rumored that with a new name, the Commanders are looking for a new QB as well. Watson would certainly elevate a team that already has the talent on both sides of the ball to be real NFC East contenders in 2022, now they just need a leader. 

Let’s hope that wherever Watson ends up, it’s a fresh start for both parties.