NFL rumor mill: Deshaun Watson ‘intrigued by’ playing for SF 49ers
By Peter Panacy
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson’s future remains speculative, but a report states he’s interested in potentially joining the SF 49ers.
The SF 49ers are only a small part of all the offseason quarterbacking speculation and likely carousel fans are going to witness between now and the start of the 2021 regular season.
Much of it has focused on the Niners’ current starter, Jimmy Garoppolo, and whether or not he winds up being the guy under center this season and beyond after missing half of last year with multiple ankle injuries.
Earlier this offseason, the thought of San Francisco possibly adding Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson amid his growing frustrations with his own employer sparked the headlines. Yet that chatter died down a bit, particularly after the SF 49ers were one of the teams often mentioned in the hunt for now soon-to-be LA Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Right around the time the Texans were getting ready to announce their release of star defensive end J.J. Watt, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported Watson expressed interest in playing for a team like San Francisco or perhaps the Denver Broncos:
Fowler’s report on ESPN’s Get Up:
"I checked in with a source that says Deshaun Watson has a list of teams that he’s intrigued by. He’s not pigeonholing anything, but he’s got a list. I didn’t get all the teams, but I was told that the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers are two of them.I also asked the source about the Jets and the Dolphins because they have the most draft capital this year and the next few years. I was told the Jets, ‘Eh, probably not.’ Maybe more so the Dolphins as far as viability."
The Texans have repeatedly said they have no interest in trading the 25-year-old three-time Pro Bowler who led the NFL with 4,823 passing yards despite him having a lackluster supporting offensive cast and an inept coaching staff. It makes sense why Houston would want to retain him as a cornerstone piece amid what looks to be a lengthy rebuild.
But if Watson’s situation becomes untenable, any moves to acquire him from the Texans would be more than lucrative.
This has led some to wonder whether or not the SF 49ers would be willing to offload one or more of their star players, perhaps someone in the likes of EDGE Nick Bosa or linebacker Fred Warner. It’s not uncommon for fans to think those two players are off limits in a would-be blockbuster trade. Yet the reality of this is “you have to give up something big to get something big.”
It’s something NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco pointed out recently:
"Still, there is no way to get around the observation that the best teams also have the better quarterbacks. And the longer those quarterbacks are with an organization, the more those teams pile up victories.So, yes, as painful as the answer might be, it is also quite simple.Is there any player off-limits if the 49ers have an opportunity to acquire a young, franchise quarterback?No."
Maiocco’s argument was simple: Players like Bosa, Warner and other cornerstones are awfully important, yes. But a franchise-changing quarterback like Watson is the necessary commodity to regularly compete for Super Bowls.
Whether or not the Niners feel that would be the route to take is anyone’s guess. But there’s little doubting Watson would be a significant upgrade over Garoppolo and could set the franchise up for success for years to come.
As long as San Francisco was able to put some sort of package together.
But at least according to the initial report, it sure sounds like Watson would entertain the idea.