Denver Broncos on Deshaun Watson’s list of teams to listen to

Denver Broncos possible 2021 trade target Deshaun Watson. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos possible 2021 trade target Deshaun Watson. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Broncos, per multiple reliable reports, inquired about trading for former Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford before he was ultimately sent to the Los Angeles Rams.

What does this mean the team is going to try to do going forward?

Well, as unlikely as it may seem, the next torturous trade rumor mill to fix your attention on will be the Deshaun Watson one. According to Denver Broncos insider Mike Klis (9News in Denver), the team is going to put their hat in the Deshaun Watson ring.

He spoke to 104.3 The Fan in Denver about the Matthew Stafford trade and the possibility of new Broncos GM George Paton trying to land such a rare player in a trade like Watson.

Klis says he thinks the odds will be “long” against the Broncos but he does think the team is going to try to trade for Watson.

The Texans have not made Watson available, at least not that we know.

Klis was asked in this interview about whether the Broncos’ next step after not acquiring Stafford was to go after a free agent like an Andy Dalton type of player, and this is what he had to say:

"They’ll go Watson. They’ll be in it on Watson. At least I think they want to monitor. I think things will be quiet until Watson shakes out if he does shake out. There’s a lot of people out there…who think there’s no way at the end of the day the Texans are trading Deshaun Watson…It’ll get closer to March, closer to free agency that the quarterback market opens up.Mike Klis (via 104.3 The Fan interview)"

Klis also stated that he believes the Denver Broncos will undoubtedly be going after an upgrade at the position this offseason, saying that the team will upgrade at quarterback and find at least a “1B” to compete against and push Drew Lock for his job.

But the next step sounds like it’s going to be Deshaun Watson, even if the odds are long he gets traded at all.

Watson has a no-trade clause. He already has a lot of guaranteed cash in the bank. His leverage is to sit out this season and never play for the Texans again, and their leverage is almost nothing. They could try to play chicken with Watson as his value goes down, but at this point, he appears to be done with the team and he seemingly has the leverage of an NBA player.

Other reported destinations that Watson could land include the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, and Carolina Panthers. If the Denver Broncos want Watson, they would not only have to make a competitive trade offer, but they would have to get Watson interested in them.

According to Klis, they are on the shortlist.

"They have — they’re not speaking to Watson themselves, but I think they’ve gotten from the Watson party, agents or whatever, they’ve been assured that the Broncos will be one of about four teams, four or five teams that Watson would like to listen to.Mike Klis (from 104.3 The Fan interview)"

This is probably some of the most substantial news we’ve gotten all offseason. The Denver Broncos’ inquiry about Matthew Stafford was exactly what we thought it was — an inquiry. They could have probably acquired him if the Lions were willing to trade him for the Broncos’ preferred price (and if Stafford wanted to go to Denver above all other places), but it’s becoming clear that those talks were truly exploratory with a clear line drawn in the sand.

With Watson, all bets are off because of his no-trade clause. If he says Denver is his preferred spot, he could say no to all other teams and essentially force the Texans to take the best possible deal the Broncos could offer.

A trade for Watson would be historic and unprecedented, even compared to the Denver Broncos’ 2009 trade of Jay Cutler for two first-round picks, a third-round pick, and Kyle Orton.

Any Watson deal is going to far exceed that, if indeed he is traded.

The Denver Broncos acquiring Watson seemed like little more than a pipe dream, but if Watson has Denver on his preferred list of teams, the Broncos and new GM George Paton would be foolish not to explore that possibility.