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What Matthew Stafford's Trade Means for Deshaun Watson

Brian Giuffra
Deshaun Watson.
Deshaun Watson. / Carmen Mandato/Getty Images
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While Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans engaged in a worthless western standoff this past week, the Lions and Rams were busy actually getting things done. Like Houston, Detroit had a disgruntled Pro Bowl quarterback who wanted out. Unlike Houston, at least to this point, the Lions appeased their franchise leader and got the best deal they could while also helping Los Angeles sort out its quarterback issue.

That's good news for Matt Stafford and Jared Goff, who get the fresh start each needed with new franchises far away from the baggage formerly tethered to them. It's also good news for the Lions, who got two first-round picks and one third-rounder in exchange for a player who didn't want to be on their team anymore. They also pick up a former Pro Bowler in Goff, whose contract and play the Rams clearly just wanted to get rid of at all costs.

What's interesting about this deal outside of Stafford and Goff finding new teams, however, is how it impacts what's happening with the Texans and Watson. If a 32-year-old quarterback who hasn't made the Pro Bowl since 2014 is worth two first-rounders and a third, what is a 25-year-old quarterback who just led the league in passing yards and is unquestionably one of the top 5 quarterbacks in the NFL right now worth?

It's staggering to consider and Stafford's trade certainly ups the asking price for Watson from the Texans' perspective. Speculation was trading for Watson would require at least three first-round picks. After this, you've gotta think figure that estimation is low.

At this point, it's reasonable to assume Watson's trade value is three or four first-round picks with players, lower picks and pick selection impacting the final figures. Regardless, you gotta think the Texans want at least five starting-caliber players back in return for Watson.

Just like when the house down the street from you sells for 25% over the asking price, the Rams-Lions trade helps set the market value for future quarterback trades this offseason. If the Lions can get a former Pro Bowl player, two firsts and a third for an aging quarterback with solid but not elite credentials, the Texans have every right to believe they should get that and more for a world-class talent just entertaining the prime of his career. That could hold up a trade even longer as the Texans try and squeeze every penny they can from the bartering opposition. But it seems safe to assume if a trade is going to happen, it will before the NFL Draft starts on April 29.

Houston has already tried to create leverage for itself by saying it has no interest in trading Watson. Watson counted by taking all references of the Texans off his social media profile pages, seemingly reiterating his desire to be traded. In the end, Watson will likely get his wish before the draft. But Stafford's trade has thrown a wrinkle into it and upped the ante for the Texans' trade return expectations.

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