Is Deshaun Watson Worth Asking Price for the Vikings?

If there is any conceivable dialogue that actionizes Deshaun Watson to the Minnesota Vikings, bowing out of the sweepstakes entirely is unforgivable. Perhaps the price tag is ultimately too high, but no NFL team [outside of the Kansas City Chiefs] should consider Watson talks a non-starter.

The great equalizer on the topic – even applicable to a team like the Seattle Seahawks – is age. Deshaun Watson is 25 years old. This is the single-most vital aspect of the Watson hubbub to keep at the forefront. An argument can be issued that teams like the Buffalo Bills or Los Angeles Chargers need not inquire with Houston, and that is somewhat fair as those franchises have youth at quarterback, too.

But the Vikings, Packers, 49ers, Saints, and many other teams do not have that luxury. Securing the services of Watson — although the cost will be elephantine — is worth the gamble if one believes a quarterback is the glue of a team. Watson’s team will not finish 4-12 each season. Consider this most recent Texans season a piece of feces dropped by Bill O’Brien.

As for the Vikings, the [extremely] hypothetical acquisition of Watson would not act as a cure-all. Yet, Watson provides an acceleration of a puncher’s chance to reach the Super Bowl every season. His capabilities can, to an extent, mask other roster shortcomings – unlike other NFL quarterbacks. It is unlikely that 4-12 is the new normal for Watson. For wins and losses, he overcame longstanding offensive line woes in Houston. Outside of 2020, his team reached the playoffs in years Two and Three with a coach now considered iffy. 

Here are the three most significant elements of the Watson-to-Vikings chatter.

The Price

The “price” is not Watson’s individual contract. It is pre-established that his contract is virtually guaranteed to be the second or third-highest in the league each season. Elite quarterbacks make elite money. Watson checks both boxes. 

The cost is the trade haul needed to facilitate the trade. The working theory implies, to land Watson, an NFL team must offer three 1st-round picks and then other assets. Is Watson worth that? Most likely. Why? Draft picks are perceived through a lens of infallible optimism – mainly by general managers but also by fans. Surely, a general manager with three 1st-rounders in consecutive years will select Pro Bowlers, right? If an executive does not waltz into draft night with that mindset, he/she is a defeatist. But on the whole, a franchise might nail just one of those three 1st-rounders. 1st-round draft capital is not a rubberstamp to stardom. The selections have to be wise and lucky. 

Because the draft is routinely a crapshoot (although it is fun to pretend otherwise), Watson likely merits the draft-pick haul. Sticker-shock is the only hurdle. So-and-so number of draft picks in the vault is a forecast of future optimism rather than bonafide dope on the table. 

Yes, Kirk Cousins plays into the mix. His contract would be shipped to Houston (or to a third team) because of two reasons. First, his money must go elsewhere for the salary cap. And a team does not need two good quarterbacks. Ironically, a Cousins departure is the “easy” facet of the equation from a Vikings standpoint.

You Mean, You Still Have to Protect Watson?

If Watson struts into U.S. Bank Stadium only to be handed a Dakota Dozier and Dru Samia sandwich, he’d get food poisoning. His disillusionment with the Texans brass is said to be centered on coaching moves and communication follies, but make no mistake – a change of scenery for offensive line purposes lurks underneath all of this. 

The Texans quarterback has started 53 games in his career. He has been sacked a stupefying 170 times in those contests. For perspective, Peyton Manning was sacked 65 times in his first 53 starts. That’s a 105-sack difference. Bloody Hell. 

Watson is leaps-and-bounds more nimble than Cousins, but Watson alone cannot wholly circumvent the doldrums of an offensive line. If he could, the Texans would be Super Bowl champions by now.

Should Watson [somehow] become a member of the Vikings, a revised and renewed commitment to fix offensive line struggles is absolutely mandatory. Where will that contract money come from? Which specific offensive line players will accomplish this? “Rookie project” players will not do the trick.

QB Continuity Finally Fixed — Emphatically

Now for the upside – it is robust. Watson is not far away from Patrick Mahomes via respective skill sets. To date, Mahomes has been gifted brilliant circumstance – the best quarterback coach on earth, the fastest football player on earth, and the best tight end on earth. It is earthly possible that Watson would be the NFL’s poster boy if he played in Kansas City. 

Minnesota opposes quarterback continuity as a franchise theme. During the infancy of the organization, the Vikings had wedlock with Fran Tarkenton. They reached four Super Bowls. When Tarkenton retired, they reached no Super Bowls. The proceeding 40+ years have generated 30 different starting quarterbacks – from Tommy Kramer to Kirk Cousins. Mathematically, that is a new quarterback every 22 games. Think about that.

Watson, if he is a real possibility, solves the quarterback problem. A draft pick-laden asking price is worth it.