It’s one thing for slappies like me to spitball about a potential Deshaun Watson for Kyler Murray trade. It’s another for John McClain of the Houston Chronicle to suggest it.
A week after McClain wrote that the Texans should accept reality and trade Watson, McClain argues that the Texans should approach the Cardinals about a Ken Stabler-Dan Pastorini-style quarterback swap.
It’s a move that instantly would make sense for the Texans and Watson. Houston would replace one franchise quarterback with another, and Watson would be reunited with DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt, on a team that had twice the wins as the Texans in 2020. The Cardinals. however, would have to be willing to embrace Watson (and his contract) in place of Murray, the first overall pick in 2019 who has shown flashes of superstardom.
Then there’s Murray. As McClain notes, Murray has to be on board with joining a franchise mired in dysfunction. After all, Murray has the ultimately leverage — he can quit football and go play baseball. (It currently would cost him $11.6 million to walk away form football for baseball. If the Texans trade for Murray and if Murray leaves the sport, the Texans would have the right to recover the unearned bonus money.)
If both teams and both quarterbacks would be OK with it, the next challenge becomes fixing the right price for a trade. Would a straight-up deal do it? Or would the Cardinals have to add more to the pile?
From Arizona’s perspective, the argument against adding more could be that they’re giving up Murray and the three years left on his rookie deal for a contract that pays out $10 million this year and that has a huge $35 million salary in 2022.
McClain opens his item by explaining that he hadn’t considered a Kyler-for-Deshaun until J.J. Watt joined the Cardinals. That’s when the light bulb first flickered for me.
It’s a long shot, to be sure. But even crazier things have happened in the NFL. Indeed, it feels like, in the coming days, even crazier things will happen.