March 19, 2021
A lot of people laughed at or were dismissive of a report from Jason La Canfora earlier this week that suggested the Eagles were "a strong suitor" for Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, who by all accounts desperately wants out of Houston but reportedly won't be traded by the front office — at least that's their story and their sticking to it.
But that won't stop teams from reaching out — and a trade could eventually happen whether the team wants it to or not because they may reach a point where Watson simply refuses to play for the Texans and forces the team's hand — even as Watson is currently mired in several civil lawsuits in which he's accused of sexual assault, with more suits reportedly on the way, all of which Watson has vehemently denied.
While that will (and rightfully should depending on the outcome) complicate any trade, especially with the NFL currently looking into the situation, it does appear that La Canfora's previous report was not as out-of-left field as it initially appeared, with the Inquirer's Jeff McLane confirming on Friday that the Eagles have indeed reached out the the Texans about their quarterback.
The GM has essentially four possibilities for next season, and he hopes, the long-term future.
• He could sign a free agent who wouldn’t be viewed as an obvious starter to compete with Hurts.
• He could pull off a blockbuster trade for a franchise-caliber talent (i.e. the Texans’ Deshaun Watson).
• He could draft a rookie with the No. 6 overall pick next month.
• Or he could follow the supposed Lurie directive and simply roll with Hurts and bona fide backups.
The first option appears unlikely after Roseman passed on free agents who would have fallen under a “competition/backup” category. The second is a long shot, even if two independent NFL sources confirmed a CBS Sports report that the Eagles recently inquired about trading for Watson. [inquirer.com]
That's interesting enough on it's own, but it's even more interesting when viewed in context with Roseman's recent comments on the quarterback position, when he told the Eagles website that he "'won't put a cap on what we're going to do at that position' and that the team will consider every option as they address depth and competition at the game's most vital position."
Well, if the Eagles are indeed interested in Watson, that's probably a good thing, because it's going to cost an arm and a leg to get him, so much so that the trade cost, combined with the nearly $40 million annual cap hit he'll carry after this season, is enough to sour many on the idea of trading for him, despite his immense talent and the fact that he's only 25 years old.
But that reportedly won't stop Roseman. Here's more from McLane:
A trade for any caliber of quarterback is possible, but nothing would move the needle like an exchange for Watson or the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson. It would take significant cost. Seattle reportedly turned down three first-round picks, a third rounder, and two players for the 31-year-old Wilson.
Watson is five years younger and would presumably cost more. He reportedly wants out, and has a no-trade clause, but Houston has said it has no intentions of trading the quarterback.
“Howie will give up everything he has for Watson,” an NFL source familiar with the Eagles’ thinking said. [inquirer.com]
It's worth noting that that last quote isn't someone saying Howie told them he'd give up everything for Watson, it's simply someone familiar with the kind of aggressive GM he is. Either way, it seems like there's at least something to the idea that the Eagles are interested in bringing in Watson. And they are definitely looking to bring in another quarterback — Hurts is currently the only QB on the roster — whether that's through free agency, a trade, or in the draft, most likely with their sixth overall pick.
"Like Coach [Nick Sirianni] said, and he reminds me daily, we only have one quarterback on our roster. It's definitely not going to stay that way," Roseman said Thursday. "We've always tried to value that position and have depth at that position. I don't see any of that changing here as we go forward. That's nothing we would be comfortable with. We want to have a really strong quarterback room. We feel like we have incredible coaches on the offensive side of the ball and the defensive side of the ball who can maximize quarterback play.
"We're going to look at the free agent market, the trade market, and we're certainly going to look at the draft to try to strengthen that position," Roseman said.
And although there was a report that owner Jeffrey Lurie instructed Roseman and Sirianni to build around Hurts, the Eagles GM denied that assertion pretty strongly.
We have not been told to do anything other than to try to strengthen the football team and make sure that we're doing the right things now and going forward.
Adding a player like Watson would certainly be strengthening the roster — but at what cost? That's what the Eagles will have to decide in the coming days and weeks if they hope to land one of the biggest prizes of the NFL offseason.
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