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A proposal from Peter King that would land Deshaun Watson with the Vikings

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Jan 3, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the first quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

In his Football Morning in America column, Peter King proposes five potential trade options for the Houston Texans to move quarterback Deshaun Watson. King starts by pointing out that new Texans general manager Nick Caserio isn’t interested in listening to offers for Watson at this point, but acknowledges that could change as the offseason progresses.

One of King’s proposals includes the Vikings in a three-team deal that would send Kirk Cousins to San Francisco and Watson to Minnesota, assuming he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause. There is one thing worth pointing out about the fact Watson can reject a trade he doesn’t like. If Watson really wants to get out of Houston, he’s going to realize that he needs to go to the team that gives the Texans the offer they like the most. If Watson attempts to control his landing spot, the Texans could just sit on his rights.

With that being said, here is what King threw out regarding the Texans, 49ers and Vikings:

This is centered on the premise that San Francisco would not want to rip apart a team and a future, and might be willing to take a lesser deal for a quarterback (coach Kyle) Shanahan has long admired. And also that Caserio, in the heart of the draft room in 2014 when the Patriots made (Jimmy) Garoppolo a second-round pick, would want to try again with Jimmy G. It’s a wing and a prayer, but fascinating to me.

King’s Proposal: The Vikings send Cousins to San Francisco. The Niners send Garoppolo to Houston, if, of course, he would waive his no-trade. The Texans send Watson to Minnesota. In return: the 49ers send their first-round pick in 2021 (12th overall) to Houston, and they are out. (So San Francisco would be trading Garoppolo and a one to Houston and getting Cousins with two years left on his contract.) The Vikings would send linebacker Anthony Barr and running back Alexander Mattison plus their first-round picks in 2021 (14th overall) and 2023, and second-round picks in 2022 and 2023 in exchange for Watson. Houston’s haul: Garoppolo, two ones this year, a one in 2023, and two second-round picks.

Zulgad’s Reaction: This is a lot to give up, and the return for Cousins would end up in Houston, but if we’re talking about Watson, the Vikings should jump at this deal. Watson’s salary-cap hit is scheduled to jump from $15.9 million in 2021 to $40.4 million in 2022. The difference between this cap hit and Cousins’ bloated cap number in 2022 (which is $45 million) is the Vikings would be getting a top-level quarterback whose skillset fits into today’s game. Watson’s acquisition would probably result in a coaching change after 2021 to pivot to a head coach who puts offense first. I realize the odds of Watson being traded to the Vikings are small, and giving up two first- and second-round picks wouldn’t be easy, but Watson’s presence in purple would finally end the team’s search for a long-term solution at the most important position in sports.