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July 22, 2021

When (not if) Deshaun Watson is traded, there's a '90 percent chance' it's to the Eagles, says Howard Eskin

Eagles NFL

Where there's smoke, there's fire. And right now, it's getting a bit difficult to breathe with how much Deshaun Watson smoke there is surrounding the Eagles. 

Just last week, ESPN's Adam Schefter said, unprompted and on Philly talk radio, that the Birds are better positioned than any other team to make a run at the Texans quarterbacks, should Houston decide to trade him, a calculation that became much more complicated this offseason after 20-plus massage therapists claimed Watson made unwanted sexual advances toward them during their sessions. 

A day later, former NFL GM Mike Tannenbaum went on ESPN and said that it's a bit of an open secret around the league that the Eagles are going to be aggressive in going after Watson, which is interesting given we're not even sure how his civil cases are going to play out, let alone a potential criminal investigation as well as one by the NFL that will almost certainly end in a suspension, regardless of how the first two investigations play out. 

Now, there's even more smoke. WIP's Howard Eskin, a day after breaking the news that Zach Ertz will surprisingly be back in Philly this season, went on their mid-day show on Thursday with Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie to give his take on what's happening with Watson, and specifically how it relates to the Eagles.

Here's what he had to say, with a h/t to Bleeding Green Nation for the transcription:

Here’s what I’m working on, and you’ve gotta follow me on this. It’s on Deshaun Watson. I’ve talked to people in Houston. And they are all but resided to the fact that they’re going to have to trade him. Now, there’s a little issue here … are you going to wait before or after — and he’s going to get a suspension. It doesn’t matter what happens in the court of law and what the civil suits are, the NFL sees he did what he did, and obviously, I think he did. Now, it may be a frail case, but there’s probably going to be some kind of suspension. But they’re resided to trading him. That’s the first part of the equation.

The second part of the equation, who will he be traded to? There’s only three teams, in talking to people around the league, that I know of, that really have the strong desire. That would be Denver, Miami — who, they gave away their first-round pick to the Eagles, so that really weakens their position, because I think they’re starting to realize that Tua [Tagovailoa] is a stiff.

But the Eagles have the three first-round picks, and that’s what they’re gonna have, and this is the prediction I’m going to make: based on the information that I got, when — and I’ll say WHEN — he is traded, I think there is a 90% chance that he will be with the Philadelphia Eagles. And just based on all the information that I’ve gotten, that’s what I’ve come down to.  []

That's eye-popping for a few reasons. First, in addition to working for WIP, Eskin is an Eagles employee, working as the team's sideline reporter during the season. Furthermore, this is far and away the strongest report we've seen, with Eskin saying he believes the Eagles have a 90% (!!) chance at landing the 25-year-old QB. And there have been A LOT of reports. Let's recap, shall we?

MARCH 17: Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says Eagles are a 'strong suitor' for Watson

MARCH 19: The Inquirer's Jeff McLane links Eagles to Watson

MARCH 22: Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle lists the Eagles among six teams keeping an eye on Watson

APRIL 9: On the heels of another report from Wilson two days prior, this one listing the Eagles as one of two teams still in on Watson, ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio says the Eagles are going to pursue the QB once his legal issues are resolved

APRIL 14: Sports Illustrated's Mike Fisher reports that the Eagles and Texans could still work something out despite Watson's ongoing legal issues

MAY 10: Peter King makes the Eagles 3-1 favorites to land Watson via trade

MAY 14: ESPN's Dianna Russini makes a veiled reference at a Watson-to-Philly trade when she says she expects the Eagles "doing something big" before the start of the season

JULY 14-15: ESPN's Adam Schefter and Mike Tannenbaum both link the Eagles to Watson on back-to-back days. 

Like we said, lots of smoke. 

Obviously, as Eskin alluded to, there are a lot of civil and potentially legal issues to work through, not to mention a potential suspension. And given that nearly two dozen women have accused Watson of being a serial predator, the Eagles could still be willing to take a chance on the Texans QB — regardless of whether or not you or I think it's the right move — because Jeffrey Lurie, as John McMullen recently wrote, is a firm believer in second chances. 

A former Eagles’ personnel executive claimed that Christina Weiss-Lurie would probably put a stop to the thought and some fellow reporters contacted me to clutch their pearls over the Eagles coming out on the wrong side of that talent vs. tolerance equation.

And maybe that’s true, but what we do know about Jeffrey Lurie is that he has been consistent when it comes to off-the-field issues. Placing Watson on a personal blacklist after he’s cleared to return to the league would actually be the hypocritical move for the Eagles’ owner. [...]

You either believe in second chances or you don’t. 

Making a run at Watson isn't about Roseman, Nick Sirianni's offense, or Jalen Hurts' development, it's about the owner deciding if he wants the superstar with the Q-rating stained by scandal.

The names Riley Cooper, Michael Vick, and DeSean Jackson should tell you Lurie has already staked his position.  [MORE]

The Eagles clearly have a history of trying to help players rehab their injuries — especially when they believe they can help the team win — and, for better or worse, Watson could be the latest example of that before too long. 

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