PHILADELPHIA (CBS)- It’s been a quiet start to the NFL’s free agency period for the Eagles, which was expected considering that they didn’t enter with much cap space to make moves to begin with. That quiet ended Wednesday however when CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora posted a column that singled out the Eagles as a potential destination for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Citing sources with ties to ownership, La Canfora says that the move makes sense given Eagles general manager Howie Roseman’s penchant for making big trades.READ MORE: Eagles Rumors: Birds Likely To Be 'In Play' For QB Deshaun Watson, But Trade Might Not Come Until After 2021-22 Season
“The Eagles are always among the most aggressive exploring trades, and general manager Howie Roseman is as willing a dealmaker as there is in the NFL. Blockbuster trades are a particular specialty, including unconventional deals (i.e. the Carson Wentz trades they have pulled off),” writes La Canfora. “Some in the Eagles brass would try to poo-poo the idea of their interest by noting there must be about 30 teams paying close attention to this situation, but my sense is this is much more than an idea on the periphery; I get the sense this is something ownership and management would very much like to make happen.”
The 25-year-old Watson has indicated that he wants out of Houston following a series of moves the Texans have made over the last few years culminating in him being left out of the decision making process for hiring the new head coach. A three-time Pro Bowler, Watson is considered among the league’s elite quarterbacks and it would take a lot to make a deal happen. As La Canfora notes, the Eagles 6th pick in this year’s draft plus a couple of their other selections in the first few rounds and future picks would likely need to be involved.
“Landing Watson in his prime on a fair-market long-term deal is worth a similar package, with them holding 10 picks in all in this draft, including sixth, 37th, 70th and 85th,” writes La Canfora. “That could jumpstart the Texans’ rebuild and it’s not imperative they land their QB now, although if you love Trey Lance at eighth overall he’s probably all yours. Throw in a future one and two, and maybe a player.”READ MORE: Philadelphia Eagles Sign Cornerback Steven Nelson To 1-Year Deal
Watson signed a four-year $156 million extension that includes over $110 million guaranteed but it doesn’t kick in until next season. By that point, the Eagles will be out from under the Carson Wentz dead cap hit and, theoretically, could have more room given the expected cap jump with new television deals kicking in the following season in 2023.
Making a trade for Watson wouldn’t fix all of the team’s current issues however, with holes to fill across the roster. So, even if a move happened, as La Canfora notes, 2021 is likely to be a season in which the Eagles take a step back from trying to contend. The question is whether after making the move for Watson they would be so devoid of draft capital as to not be able to build around him.
From Watson’s standpoint, I can’t imagine the Eagles are his idea of a great situation at the moment. The offensive line issues that plagued Houston are also an issue in Philly with uncertainty on the right side as Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks work their way back from injuries now in their 30s. And the left side hasn’t exactly been solidified as the team would have hoped when they selected Andre Dillard in the first round in 2019.
Aside from the line, there are still plenty of questions at receiver. For as bad as the Texans were, they did have Brandin Cooks, Will Fuller and Randall Cobb for him to throw to last season. Is the Eagles group of Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Quez Watkins and John Hightower more appealing?MORE NEWS: Report: Philadelphia Eagles Tickets Prices Increase 84% Over Last 15 Years
Still, the report from La Canfora is interesting, and allows Eagles fans to dream of the scenario in which the team acquires a top quarterback via trade.