ESPN’s Adam Schefter joined “The Murph and Mac Show” on Thursday to discuss the never-ending QB carousel. Schefter led with the Matthew Stafford trade and the ongoing saga surrounding Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson.
As for the Texans star quarterback, Schefter doesn’t believe there’s such thing as “too much” for Watson:
“I don’t think there’s a price that’s too expensive to pay for a quarterback like Deshaun. I would trade anybody for him. Anybody. There’d be nobody on the roster that’s safe… Houston is not budging. They’re not budging right now. We’ll see if they decide to change their stance.”
I do not disagree with Schefty here. Logically, you’re not going to trade all of your best players for Watson, but some of the arguments going around as to why aren’t giving Watson enough credit. In the simplest terms, Watson is going to score roughly 7-10 more points a game as the 49ers' starting quarterback. Your defense doesn’t have to be “god-tier” level anymore with Watson. An average defense with Watson under center means you’re a Super Bowl contender for years to come.
Now, Houston has to trade Watson, which doesn’t appear to be happening anytime soon. That’s part of the reason Schefter doesn’t believe Watson is the only option for the Niners:
“I wouldn’t say that. Deshaun or nobody? There’s a lot of quarterbacks out there. Those Kirk Cousins rumors, I’ve never heard anything to them, but who knows? What about Sam Darnold in New York? How about him? I think the Jets could wind up dealing him. What about Carson Wentz in Philadelphia?
What about, what about Andy Dalton? What about Tyrod Taylor, a guy who’s never gotten his chance? There are so many quarterbacks. It’s a weird offseason with the quarterbacks. Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers. What about Dak Prescott?”
Schefter added that there has been plenty of action surrounding Wentz and that he’ll get traded. I’m in the camp that Wentz isn’t as bad as he showed he was this past season but isn’t the MVP-level QB he showed during the 2017 regular season.
If traded, the team acquiring Wentz would carry cap hits of $25.4, $22, $25, and $26 million over the next four years. The 28-year-old QB would average $24.6 million with $47.4 million guaranteed left on Wentz’s contract. Wentz has been in the NFL for five seasons and has only played 16 games twice. Again, you don’t move on from Jimmy Garoppolo for a QB who has proven he can’t play the entire season.
Dak is somebody I’d be willing to push all my chips into the middle for because he is that good of a quarterback. Schefter believes it’s a longshot, but worth a call:
“They could franchise him at $37.1 million, in a year where the cap is down. And after, he can walk. They’ll try to sign him to a long-term deal, but they’ve been trying to do that now for the better part of two years and nothing’s been done. So what if, what if you’re a team like the Niners, any other team out there that has a need for a quarterback, and you make a run at Dak Prescott.
Again, is it a long shot? Yes, it is a long shot. Absolutely. Is he a free agent? Yes he is. Is there the recipe for something to try to make happen? Well, there’s a path there of some sort.”
For what Kyle Shanahan asks his quarterbacks to do, Prescott is as close to Watson as you’ll find. Dak knows where to go with the football and has shown to be one of the smartest — as far as understanding what the defense is doing and executing — quarterbacks during the past couple of seasons in the NFL.
The 28-year-old is an unrestricted free agent who figures to command a hefty price tag. Before you say, “he was injured this past season,” Prescott hadn’t missed a start for Dallas the previous four seasons. This isn’t a gamble the Niners are taking. Presumably, you could get creative with Dak’s contract and push money into future years, making his 2021 cap hit a touch lower to sign more free agents.
How would you feel about acquiring Wentz or Prescott? Or would the 49ers be better suited to keep Garoppolo in this scenario?