How does Deshaun Watson’s trade request impact the Lions and Matthew Stafford?

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Jeff Risdon
·2 min read
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The ongoing drama in Houston has now come to a head. Texans Pro Bowl QB Deshaun Watson, the NFL’s leading passer in 2020, has officially requested a trade from the team according to numerous reports. The long-suspected news comes on the heels of the team hiring relative unknown David Cullen as the new head coach.

Watson has a no-trade clause in his massive four-year, $156 million contract extension signed just before the 2020 season kicked off. That means Watson has some control on where the Texans would trade him, if they even attempt to deal their face of the franchise.

There are several reports from Houston, notably from longtime Texans insider John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, that the team still does not intend to trade Watson despite his repeated desires to get away from the organization.

From a Lions standpoint, the hope is the Texans do not attempt to trade Watson — but if they do, they don’t come to that conclusion before Detroit makes a deal to trade Matthew Stafford. Watson jumps Stafford as the most attractive available NFL quarterback, either in free agency or a potential trade. Watson is just 25 and has made the last three Pro Bowls, guiding the Texans to two AFC South titles in that time as well as a playoff win in 2019.

Stafford, 32, has two years remaining on his contract. His cap hit is between $7 million and $16 million lower than Watson’s in those seasons. The Lions are attempting to get at least a first-round draft pick in return for their longtime QB. Watson figures to command significantly more in return, which will eliminate several teams that could also have an interest in Stafford.