For what feels like the 90th time this offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles have been linked with Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson. It’s a topic that brings up heated debates every time it’s mentioned, as it should. It’s very easy to see why the Eagles should stay away from Deshaun Watson, from both a moral and footballing standpoint, and I wrote a full article on that back in April. But from Howie Roseman’s perspective, is there any actual logic behind a potential trade?
*Disclaimer – I do not think the Eagles should trade for Deshaun Watson at all. Out of respect for the alleged victims, nothing should even be on the cards until there is full clarity and a finalized judgement from both the NFL and whatever powers are needed to fully evaluate the allegations.
We know that Howie Roseman is a shrewd general manager. If there’s value to be found, Howie Roseman will be all over it. When it comes to trades, there are few as efficient as the Eagles GM, who usually finds a way to come out on top.
In the eyes of many, Deshaun Watson is one of the top quarterbacking talents in the NFL. He managed to complete over 70% of his passes for 4,823 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 7 picks last year. How? I don’t know. The 25-year-old clearly emerged as an elite talent on an absolute mess of a team and if he doesn’t get out quickly, his prime years will be wasted away.
With most of the NFL wanting absolutely nothing to do with Watson due to the horrific allegations off the field, there is somewhat value to be had if Roseman was able to strike a trade. The Texans obviously wouldn’t give up on their QB for pennies and it would take a substantial haul to bring him in, but it would also be substantially less than if none of this would have happened.
If Roseman has orchestrated enough due diligence to determine that there’s enough reason to believe Watson is innocent, then taking a swing to bring in a top-tier QB would make sense…from a logistical standpoint. Morally, it’s despicable until the victims voices have been heard fully and there is a clear outcome. But from a football standpoint, this is a situation that doesn’t come up all-too often if he is innocent.
If they’re not sold on Jalen Hurts
If they weren’t sold on Jalen Hurts, they shouldn’t have drafted him in the second round, or traded their franchise QB away to the Colts, leaving him as their viable QB1. That should be the end of the argument. However, in the NFL, races to find the next blue-chip QB happen all the time and if the Eagles see an opportunity to leap-frog a few years ahead of the competition, it’s easy to see the appeal.
Prior to this past season, Watson signed a monumental four-year, $156 million contract extension that included a no-trade clause. This mean that he would have to be all-in on the Eagles in order for the Texans to even be able to pull the trigger to begin with. The Eagles are hardly the most flexible team in the world when it comes to cap space and it’s almost a definite that a move like this would undo all of Roseman’s offseason work of restructures and loading up to build through the Draft long-term in a bid to decrease an ever-increasing cap structure that sees contracts laden with prorated bonuses and spikes in cap-hits entrenched onto the roster for years to come.
However, they could also see it as an opportunity to offload some of the heavy-hitters. We know that Derek Barnett recently restructured his deal, but players like Zach Ertz, Darius Slay, Brandon Brooks, and Fletcher Cox all still have huge cap hits. If the Eagles could offset the arrival of Watson by ridding themselves of some poorly structured contracts, it would give the Eagles an intrinsically better quarterback and a chance to keep the rest of the team fairly flat, totally redistributing where their money is spent.
Again, to clarify, I think it’s morally wrong to even discuss a move until the voices of the 24 women who have spoken up have been heard and justice is dealt one way or the other. But as the talks continue to ramp up, we have to least explore why Roseman would be so interested after seemingly building the team around Jalen Hurts. It’s a pretty sharp 180 to take, but if all the stars somehow magically align, you can at least see why there’s a twinkle in his eye.
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