We’re going on Year 2 of Deshaun Watson trade rumors.
But between (1) the Texans’ insisting they won’t trade their quarterback and (2) the 20+ civil lawsuits Watson faces after alleged sexual misconduct and assault, there hasn’t been much movement in terms of trade options. However, with the offseason underway, the trade winds are expected to pick up. In fact, the Buccaneers are reportedly “doing extensive homework” on Watson as an early step toward a possible trade. And while the Bucs probably won’t be alone in their pursuit, Watson may want a say in where he goes.
With that in mind, recent reporting from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler is an eyebrow raiser, because one of those teams is an NFC North foe.
From our post-Super-Bowl buzz file. https://t.co/xCMlP2gFpp
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) February 16, 2022
The Vikings have emerged as a team that interests the 26-year-old quarterback as a potential trade option.
Minnesota has a new-look front office with a fresh face at GM (Kwesi Adofo-Mensah) and a Super Bowl winning offensive coordinator as its new head coach (Kevin O’Connell). That group might want to make a splash upon arrival. At minimum, that duo might want to do something that appeases playmakers at skill positions (Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook) for the foreseeable future. And perhaps that Jefferson-Cook combo is what piques Watson’s interest in the first place.
Of course, the Vikings already have a quarterback, Kirk Cousins, whom they’d have to move on from in order to fit Watson onto their roster.
Cousins, 34 in August, is entering the final year of his contract. It’s a whopper, if you’ll recall. One that includes a $35 million base salary and a $45 million cap number for 2022. Cousins has been to Pro Bowls in two of the last three years, put up 30+ touchdowns in each of the last two seasons, and has 4,000+ yard passing campaigns in six of his last seven years. Publicly, Minnesota has been floating a vote of confidence from the top. And yet, that might just be a front for a team that might’ve already hit its peak with Cousins.
In the end, this situation is one worth monitoring. Firstly, because of the connection to a Bears NFC North rival they’ll play twice a year. The Vikings making any quarterback moves would be a significant thing around here, to say the least. But also, because any Watson movement might be an indication about what could happen with his legal issues. To be clear, I strongly doubt any NFL team will push to acquire Watson while so much uncertainty remains. But that the ball is already rolling on the rumor mill is enough to grab our attention. Stay tuned.