News has come out that Deshaun Watson may not be satisfied living out his career as the martyr of the Houston Texans. Rumors are abounding of Watson telling his teammates that he may request a trade to go play elsewhere. Because of Watson’s impact from the quarterback position, nearly every franchise has to evaluate whether it would be worth it to move heaven and earth to bring him in. So, should the Vikings consider making a move to flip their franchise upside down?
Watson is better than Cousins, but does that matter?
Back to the discussion at hand. Believe me, I have been a fan of Deshaun Watson since he was in college. I thought he was the best quarterback in that draft class and was shocked when he fell to Houston. Watson has proven to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league, yet his team went 4-12 this season.
Granted, he had a weak receiving corps, virtually no defense, and a bad offensive line. However, outside of the Vikings offensive threats, what is better in Minnesota right now? Minnesota had the worst special teams unit in all of football. Their offensive line’s play was subpar all year.
Houston had a terrible defense, but in a lot of ways, Minnesota’s was just as bad. I don’t know how much more Watson would have accomplished more than what Kirk did. Here’s a look at where the two stack up in some key areas:
Yards Per Play
The two units allowed opponents to move the ball in a similar fashion, score equally as often, and they were penalized about the same amount. The biggest difference is that Houston’s defense was absolutely horrible at forcing turnovers, ranking dead last in the league with just nine all season. Minnesota forced 22.
This helps some, but the league’s leader in turnovers, Miami, didn’t make the playoffs, either. Turnovers can do some things, but they do not cover up every missed assignment, blown coverage, and missed tackle.
Minnesota’s problem isn’t scoring
The Vikings had a top-10 passing offense and a top-five rushing offense this year. Their offense scored the sixth most touchdowns in the league. According to Pro Football Reference, their offense ranked seventh in expected points contributed.
They were only behind Green Bay, Tennessee, Kansas City, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, and New Orleans. Houston ranked 13th with Watson.The Vikings, who are already one of the best offenses in the league, can be even better if they fix the offensive line. I don’t think Deshaun Watson makes a huge difference there.
Is the reward worth the cost?
Everything I’ve seen on social media has been “would you give up Kirk Cousins and the 14th pick for Deshaun Watson?” The answer is, of course, a resounding yes. However, I expect that will be not nearly enough for that level quarterback.
Remember, as bad as the DeAndre Hopkins trade was, Bill O’Brien is no longer running the Texans’ franchise. There are other trades that happened last offseason suggesting that Houston should demand much more. Looking back to last July, the Jets got two first-round picks and a third round pick for Jamal Adams. Included in the deal was Bradley McDougald, who was a huge disappointment, but still, that’s a huge haul of draft picks.
Sure, Kirk Cousins for Deshaun Watson is a more even player swap, but the magnitude of the quarterback position could still demand a large load of picks. This is especially so when you consider that Cousins is under contract for three fewer years and has a larger cap hit. There’s a long history of bad quarterback trades, and Houston would be smart to get as much as they possibly can for Watson.
Minnesota would be wise not to buy in. Like I said, if it’s Cousins and the 14th pick for Watson, do it in a heartbeat. However, the asking price should be much higher than that. To throw away the draft capital that the Vikings have built up for the next few years just to bring in a new quarterback would be a rash decision. Just as it would be a rash decision for Houston to trade their franchise quarterback for a good (but not as good) quarterback and a mid first round pick.
Watson cannot play defensive end, offensive line, or be on the special teams. He is just one man playing one position. The Vikings went 7-9 this year. If you swap Watson and Cousins this year, you improve by what, maybe two or three wins? Minnesota would just be playing to get into the playoffs and be knocked out in the first two rounds when their defense gets torched, and Watson has to run for his life when the O-line doesn’t protect him.
If the Vikings want to escape the doldrums of just missing the postseason and early playoff exits, they should focus on filling holes on defense and the O-line. Deshaun Watson may be a fun thought, but I don’t think he’s the golden ticket to a Super Bowl.