The Drive with Jody Oehler

The Drive with Jody Oehler

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Should the Cardinals Be In the Deshaun Watson Sweepstakes?

What we witnessed today, will likely not happen again for a very, very long time if ever in our collective lifetimes.

But enough about Robinhood and other stock trading companies voluntarily shutting down trading on publicly traded companies, lets talk some football.

Deshaun Watson wants out. And this time it's not ambiguous tweets, anonymous reports leaked to preferred media members or rampant speculation - this is a public trade request, a clear escalation in Watson's ongoing issues with the Texans franchise.

Watson is a 25 year old franchise quarterback with two division championships and a 1-2 playoff record on his resume in three seasons of starting. He led the NFL in passing yards last season and has a career touchdown to interception ratio of 104:36.

While Watson has a full no trade clause, a few teams have already emerged as favorites. The Jets, Dolphins and 49ers appear to be the betting favorites to land the disgruntled Texan.

As you can see, the Arizona Cardinals are not even listed amongst the top 20 teams with the best odds of trading for Watson. And why should they be? Kyler Murray is coming off a strong sophomore campaign and with a hand picked head coach still in place for Kyler and the Cardinals have shown zero hesitation in proceeding with Kyler as the franchise centerpiece.

But this isn't about casting doubt on Murray. I'm still all in on Kyler despite the slight steps back he and the offense took this year. If anything, the Cardinals should trade for a head coach and not another quarterback. Kyler is still The One for me.

On the other hand, Watson is at 25 what Kyler hopes to be. There are no questions about Watson's leadership. There are no questions about Watson's size. There are no questions about his long term place as one of the game's elite.

So, should the Cardinals pick up the phone?

  1. There are a few things that would help answer this question:
    What is Deandre Hopkins saying? Is he pounding the table to Steve Keim and Michael Bidwill, raving about Watson's intangibles and leadership?
  2. Are there any internal concerns about Kyler's leadership?
  3. Are there any lingering concerns about Kyler's toughness after an ankle sprain took him off the field for 3/4 of the Cardinals must win week 17 game?

I don't know the answer to any of those questions. But I do know that Watson's availability is a once in a career opportunity for every GM in the NFL. Steve Keim's quickest path to even more job security than he currently inexplicably enjoys is swapping Kyler for Watson.

Watson is, right now, a better quarterback than Murray. He's not a better runner. He's not necessarily a better thrower but he is a better overall QB.

If the Texans were concerned about losing a generation of Texans fans to a total rebuild around a question mark of a rookie QB, would they be tempted to swap Watson for prodigal-Texas-high-school-football son Kyler Murray returning to the Lone Star state?

How much additional draft compensation would they want? Ian Rapoport told me earlier this month on The Drive that the Texans would absolutely not swap Watson for Murray straight up.

I would absolutely trade Kyler for Watson with some draft capital to grease the wheels. A future first or a second this year? I'm in. Anything more and I'm more than happy to ride with Kyler.

Sure its fantasy land talk for now but guess what else has been a fantasy for the Arizona Cardinals?

Sustained success.

This is a once in a generation trade. Some smart team is going to throw caution to the wind, realize that first round draft picks with Watson on board are overrated and do what it takes to virtually guarantee their franchise a decade plus of quarterback relevance to pull off this deal.

If that smart team isn't the Cardinals, it will probably be a rival of the Cardinals.

Business as usual in the NFC.

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