New Denver Broncos GM George Paton said in his opening statement announcing his hire that he plans to be « aggressive but not reckless » in building the roster. Little more than a day later, Paton told the team site that the Broncos will be « involved in every deal. »
That sets the stage for the latest buzz in the Deshaun Watson trade rumors. Although Watson has yet to officially request a trade from the Texans, ESPN is reporting that sources close in Houston believe the disgruntled quarterback has played his last snap for the team that drafted him No. 12 overall in 2017.
This buzz has given rise to the oddsmakers beginning to seriously take bets on where Watson could land next — if indeed he is traded. According to SportsBetting.com, the Broncos have 5/1 odds of landing the three-time Pro Bowler which is fourth-best in the NFL.
The teams ranked ahead of Denver in the Watson trade sweepstakes are the New York Jets (2/1), Miami Dolphins (3/1), and Chicago Bears (4/1). Again, the Broncos check in at No. 4 with 5/1 odds, followed by the Indianapolis Colts at No. 5 with 8/1 odds.
What once seemed like a pipe dream at best has suddenly become more and more realistic. 10 days ago, the notion of the Texans trading Watson was unthinkable.
After all, the Texans may have had a forgettable season but are only a few months removed from giving Watson a four-year contract extension worth $156 million in new money. He got $73.716M fully guaranteed at signing.
That’s a big commitment to the QB, which is what made the behavior of Houston’s owner all the more perplexing. Purportedly, Watson was told by the McNair family that he would have a hand in helping to select the Texans’ next GM and head coach.
Houston hired ex-Patriots personnel czar Nick Caserio, backing up the Brinks truck to make him possibly the highest-paid GM in the NFL. Watson wasn’t consulted on the hire.
That’s what set Watson off and now the Texans are in a pickle. Time will tell Houston can salvage this thing with the 25-year-old Watson but trading him away, based on the most recent insider reporting, has become a distinct possibility, so much so that the oddsmakers are taking bets.
Is that level of a blockbuster trade something Paton would countenance in his first offseason as Broncos GM? I have my doubts, mostly because of the king’s ransom it would take to ply Watson off Houston’s hands.
Paton might check to see what Houston’s ask will be but suffice to say, the Broncos would have to be willing to not only absorb Watson’s hefty contract but also give up the proverbial farm. Such a move would require saying goodbye to at least two first-round draft picks, if not three, and maybe even a pair of seconds.
« You really have to know where you are as a team and that, in turn, determines your aggressiveness, » Paton told the team site last week. « But I think you’re involved in every deal that’s out there and then you can discuss and collaborate and just determine if you want to make that jump. It’s really important to be involved with everything so you don’t miss a deal that may get by you. So we’ll be aggressive—involved—but that doesn’t mean we’re going to jump. »
Meanwhile, Denver insiders like Woody Paige are reporting that Drew Lock will be the Broncos’ starter again and that John Elway and Vic Fangio are campaigning for Paton to play along. One more year with Lock under center is the likely end result, but if Paton looks around the league, scouts the 2021 draft class, and ultimately decides Lock is the best option, expect the Broncos to sign a more competent and proven veteran to back him up.
As far as Watson is concerned, it’s a situation to monitor. But Broncos fans really, and I mean really, shouldn’t get their hopes up.