The San Francisco 49ers have been busy during the opening of the free-agency negotiating period.
General manager John Lynch re-signed fullback Kyle Juszczyk, cornerbacks Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Mosely as well as brought in pass-rusher Samson Ebukam.
One position Lynch said he wanted to address this offseason is quarterback. GIven Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury-history, the Niners were rumored to be interested in bringing in a backup.
Things are heating up once again in the rumor mill, but it’s not involving a backup. Former NFL GM and current NFL Insider with The Athletic, Michael Lombardi, says disgruntled Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson wants to play for either the San Francisco 49ers or Denver Broncos
“(Watson) controls where he wants to go,” Lombardi said on The Rich Eisen Show. “The rumor is he doesn’t want to play in New York, he doesn’t want to play in Miami. He wants to play in Denver and San Francisco.”
(Go to 13:25 to hear where Lombardi mentions the 49ers)
The 25-year-old star has a no-trade clause and has made it clear he doesn’t want to go back to Houston. But Texans’ GM Nick Caserio is adamant that he has no interest in trading the quarterback.
Lombardi also alludes to the fact that if Watson says he wants to go to the Niners, then the organization would hold all of the leverage.
“Say (Watson) says, ‘I only want to go to San Francisco,’” Lombardi says. ”Well now, San Francisco has all the leverage in the trade.”
Watson signed a four-year deal worth $156 million which kicks in next season. His cap hit is only $15.9 million for the 2021 campaign before jumping up to more than $40 million for 2022.
The 49ers hold the No. 12 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and could look to package the pick along with Garoppolo and several other future assets in a potential trade with the Texans. Caserio is familiar with Garoppolo from their time together with the New England Patriots.
There is still a lot of time to let this play out, but it is interesting to hear from Lombardi that Watson doesn’t want to play for the New York Jets or Miami Dolphins, two teams who have the most draft capital to offer Houston.
For now, Jimmy G remains the starter, but if Watson stays adamant that he won’t play for the Texans, this could drag out into the summer.