Before the NFL action began on Sunday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the Broncos were among the teams interested in Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. He also wrote that the Broncos may be open to trading away former All Pro cornerback Kyle Fuller.
“Multiple teams are still interested in trading for Deshaun Watson. I know there was a report earlier in the week about the Dolphins, they are not alone. Among the teams that have been discussed over the past several months, the Panthers, the Broncos, the Eagles and some others. His legal situation is still as of right now unsettled. Still of course the civil and criminal allegations of sexual misconduct. I’m told there are still teams interested in trading for him despite the fact that this is still unsettled. Watson also has a no trade clause. The belief is he would waive it for Miami, unclear as of now what he would do for the others.”
It’s important to note that as of now Deshaun Watson is not on the NFL’s exempt list, but that he could be placed on it at any time. Watson faces 22 civil complaints alleging sexual misconduct. He also faces 10 criminal complaints. As I write this, Watson has not been charged with any crime. Barring a settlement, the case will not go to deposition until February, 2022.
If the Broncos are now open to trading for Deshaun Watson, it would mark an official turn for the organization. Unofficially, the Broncos have been linked to Watson since it became clear he would force his way out of Houston, and it lasted throughout the civil and criminal complaints.
In March, we learned the Broncos were still interested in Deshaun Watson despite 22 allegations of sexual misconduct. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport has recently reported the Broncos are still interested. On July 27th president Joe Ellis said the Broncos were not interested in the veteran quarterback.
“Vic and George have said we can win with the guys we have, and that’s where we’re going. That’s what we’re looking at tomorrow and from this point forward. That really isn’t a consideration on the table right now,”
While the Broncos could be interested in Watson, there’s a possibility he isn’t interested in them. NFL Insider Aaron Wilson reported last week that Watson will waive his no-trade clause for the Dolphins and has preferred them throughout the process since requesting a trade in January. While the Dolphins are in a similar state of disarray to the Broncos on the field, Denver also boasts a looming ownership transition, dysfunctional management structure, a lame duck coach, and the loaded AFC West.
Complicating matters further are the questions about what a potential Watson trade would cost. Wilson reported the Texans are seeking three first round picks and two second round picks for the 3-time Pro Bowler.
It looks like the Broncos will trade Kyle Fuller
Rapoport also reported that the Broncos’ Kyle Fuller could be the odd man out now that Ronald Darby is healthy. After the Broncos signed the former Bear to a one-year, $9.5 million deal in March, George Paton took calls about Fuller before the season began. The 29-year-old struggled during the first month of the season and was benched when Ronald Darby returned from Injured Reserve with rookie Patrick Surtain II taking his spot at left corner. Fuller has played two snaps over the last two games, both in the Broncos’ 34-24 loss to the Raiders.
There remains the possibility a team would still be open to a deal for the veteran now, as corner is one of the most injury-plagued positions in the league. The question is compensation, as Fuller’s value around the league reached an all-time low after he was benched. With Michael Ojemudia on Injured Reserve and both Duke Dawson and Essang Bassey on the Physically Unable to Perform list, all seeming to trend back towards good health, teams around the league know George Paton’s about to have more corners than open roster spots.
Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger reported Fuller has about $5.8M in remaining 2021 salary. He believes the Broncos would almost certainly have to convert a portion into a bonus to facilitate the move, and it makes sense given the way he played to open the season.
Knowing what we know, should the Broncos trade for Deshaun Watson?
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