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In honor of the WNBA mega-deal, a five-team Deshaun Watson trade spins the QB carousel

The NFL rarely makes fun trades, and they never make multi-team trades. But with so many teams hoping to change quarterbacks, this offseason what if they went full WNBA and we moved 4 QBs with a five-team deal including Deshaun Watson?

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Deshaun Watson would be on the move to Miami in this trade scenario.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL never has fun trades. Speculation season in the winter and spring focus on who signs where and which team might surprise trade in the draft. Basketball gets it right. Even baseball has more fun with this stuff. Earlier this week, the WNBA pulled off a massive trade involving nearly half the league, and it even included the No. 1 pick.

This would never happen in the NFL, but it should. Plus, that shouldn’t stop us from getting a little crazy with some trade ideas.

With the quarterback trade market flush with potential options, I put together a five-team quarterback swap trade with picks and pick swaps to find new homes for four current NFL signal-callers, including Deshaun Watson. In the deal, Miami finds trade partners who kick in picks to sweeten the deal for this season while helping them get off quarterbacks they no longer want to find ones they’d prefer. I think this is a trade where no two teams could simply do their portion of the deal, but that’s also just not the point.

Here’s what each team would give up in this deal, with all numbered draft picks coming in 2021:

  • Patriots Give Up: #15
  • 49ers Give Up: #12, #43, Jimmy Garoppolo
  • Vikings Give up: #14, 2022 first-round pick, Kirk Cousins
  • Dolphins Give Up: #3, #18, #36, Tua Tagovailoa
  • Texans gives up: Deshaun Watson, their immediate future

And here’s where these players and picks would end up:

  • Patriots Get: Jimmy G, #36
  • 49ers get: Kirk Cousins, #18
  • Dolphins get: Deshaun Watson
  • Texans get: #3, #12, #14, Vikings’ 2022 1st
  • Vikings get: Tua Tagovailoa, #15

In the pick swap, the Patriots are giving up roughly the value of the 39th pick for Jimmy G, so a little more than they paid for him originally and around what they got for him in the deal the first time around.

On the other side, the 49ers get Kirk Cousins by giving up a first and a second but getting a solid first back. Their net value lost would be about a first, something around the 22nd pick for Cousins. Still, esoteric value aside, they get to keep an actual first-round pick, and only give up their second to upgrade at quarterback. They also get off the Garoppolo contract even though they’re taking on a new deal for Cousins, that has value. Is it a marginal upgrade? Sure, but the upside of Cousins outweighs what Garoppolo can provide and he’s such a perfect fit for this Shanahan offense.

For Minnesota, they’re admitting the Cousins era topped out, so they’re dropping a spot in the draft while giving up the future first to not only get off Cousins contract, but acquire Tua who is a distressed asset in this deal. He’s a terrific fit in their offense with his ability to get out on the move and make accurate throws. Throwing to Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson will send him back to his Alabama days with plenty of stud receiving talent.

The Dolphins get Watson, which is an obvious win, but don’t have to give up firsts beyond 2021 and only have to give up three total picks, including two firsts, because the deal allows them to sweeten the pot for Houston. Giving up 3, 18 and 36 with Tua probably doesn’t get the trade done with the Texans, but bringing in these other teams while re-routing Tagovailoa ups the offer to a whopping three top-15 picks plus the Vikings’ future first. That would be value, by the traditional trade value chart, well above the No. 1 overall pick, even when it’s Trevor Lawrence.

Who says no in this deal?