FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 22nd, 2021

PETER KING EXPLORES POTENTIAL DESHAUN WATSON TRADES IN THIS WEEK’S “FMIA” COLUMN

“If Watson gets traded, it’s going to have to include a gigantic package, maybe the highest price ever paid for a player in league history. It’s justified.” – King on any potential trade for QB Deshaun Watson

“I’d be surprised if the Panthers hadn’t made an offer by now, quite frankly. This is a fit in many ways. Very aggressive new owner (David Tepper), who would move mountains for a franchise QB.” – King on the Panthers as a potential Watson trade partner

“The trade was fair to both the Colts and Eagles…If anyone can fix (Wentz) after the 2020 debacle it’s probably (Frank) Reich.” – King on Carson Wentz trade

Tony Dungy Hosts Panel on State of Minority Coaching in College Football, Available Later Today on NBC Sports’ Digital Channels

STAMFORD, Conn. – Feb. 22, 2021 – Peter King explores potential trades for Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also discusses the NFL quarterback market, including Indianapolis’ deal for Carson Wentz, and shares his thoughts on how to help players in their post-playing lives.

Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach and NBC Sports analyst Tony Dungy, who was the first African-American head coach to win a Super Bowl, hosts a conversation on the state of minority coaches in college football with Maryland head coach Mike Locksley and former Notre Dame and Stanford coach Ty Willingham. The conversation will be available later today on NBC Sports’ YouTube channel. Earlier this month, Dungy hosted a roundtable on the state of minority coaching hires in the NFL with former Colts and Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, Atlanta Falcons President & CEO and member of the NFL’s Competition Committee Rick McKay, and co-host of Peacock’s Brother From Another Michael Smith.

Across NBC Sports, Peacock’s weekday block of NFL programming from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. ET, which provides extensive NFL coverage, includes PFT Live featuring Mike Florio and Chris Simms live at 7 a.m. ET, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another, with Michael Holley and Michael Smith, at 3 p.m. ET, and PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. On Monday, Safety Blitz, featuring Rodney Harrison and Jac Collinsworth, streams at 6 p.m. ET, and Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams at 6 p.m. ET Tuesday-Friday. ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news, and the NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show and Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast discuss offseason storylines.

The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:

DESHAUN WATSON

King on the NFL quarterback market: “Every offseason has good storylines. But this year, from the time Adam Schefter put the over-under on starting quarterback changes in 2021 at 18 (and took the over), football antennae have been raised at the most important position in team sports.”

King on the Texans and QB Deshaun Watson: “Over the weekend, two common themes emerged about Houston’s near future. One: The Texans have one untouchable player, Watson, as of now. Two: Houston is not only not interested in trading Watson but also not interested in listening to offers for him.”

King on Texans GM Nick Caserio: “I’m told he’s categorically opposed to trading Watson, period – either in the next nine weeks before the draft (when he’d clearly get the best deal to start the Texans’ post-Watson lives) or ever. It’s easy to say that, of course, when the deadline is far away. No one knows who will fold, who will stay strong. Caserio and owner Cal McNair have never been in the eye of a storm like this one.”

King: “So if Watson continues to say he won’t play for the Texans, Caserio would be able to make his best deal in the days before the April 29 first round. Below are the best candidates.”

KING’S BEST CANDIDATES FOR A WATSON TRADE

King on a potential deal: “I can hear many of you now: Price tag’s too steep! You’re crazy! I’m not. If Watson gets traded, it’s going to have to include a gigantic package, maybe the highest price ever paid for a player in league history. It’s justified. Twenty-five-year-old franchise quarterbacks never come on the market. But the price isn’t for everyone.”

Carolina Panthers: “I’d be surprised if the Panthers hadn’t made an offer by now, quite frankly. This is a fit in many ways. Very aggressive new owner (David Tepper), who would move mountains for a franchise QB.”

King Proposal: “A 7-for-1 deal. Running back Christian McCaffrey, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, receiver Robbie Anderson and first-round and second-round picks in 2021 (eighth and 39th overall), a first-round pick in 2022 and third-round pick in 2023 in exchange for Watson.”

New York Jets: “GM Joe Douglas is a big home-grown advocate, and I believe New York would chafe at doing a mega-pick deal for Watson because too many dyed-in-the-wool scouts there believe in building the team through the draft. But so many of the ingredients are there.”

King Proposal: “A 6-for-1 deal. Quarterback Sam Darnold, defensive lineman Quinnen Williams, first-round picks in 2021 (second overall) and 2022 (the higher of New York’s two first-round picks), plus second-round picks in 2021 (34th overall) and 2023 in exchange for Watson.”

San Francisco 49ers: “San Francisco would be okay with entering 2021 with Jimmy Garoppolo as its starter. But no matter what Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch say, they can’t be totally comfortable with it…If the Niners could convince Garoppolo to waive his no-trade clause, I could see San Francisco being all in here, even though the Niners clearly would have to part with some major assets.”

King Proposal: “Seven-for-1. Garoppolo, linebacker Fred Warner (that really hurts), tackle Mike McGlinchey, first-round picks in 2021 (12th overall) and 2022, plus a second-round pick in 2021 and third-round pick in 2022 for Watson. It’s a lot for the Niners to pay; of all the players in all the deals I’m proposing, Warner would be the most coveted one in my book.”

Miami Dolphins: “You’d hear a big, loud, ‘We’re not trading Tua if the Dolphins weren’t at least pondering Watson.’ Why wouldn’t they be? It’s extremely hard, after seeing one year of Tua Tagovailoa, to think his mega-upside would equal the 2021 Watson. It’s logical to at least look into it.”

King Proposal: “Miami trades defensive end Christian Wilkins, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, first-round picks in 2021 (third overall) and 2023, and second-round picks in 2021 and 2022 for Watson.”

CARSON WENTZ

King on the Colts’ trade for Carson Wentz: “My bet is that the Colts had plans to pursue Wentz this offseason, but before they’d trade for a player with four years and $96 million left on his contract, they had to be sure that (Andrew) Luck wasn’t having second thoughts about playing…And once they felt sure Luck was ensconced in retirement, they moved full speed ahead on Wentz.”

King on the trade: “The trade was fair to both the Colts and Eagles. A third-round pick this year and a first-round pick in 2022 (if Wentz plays 75 percent of the snaps in Indy this year, or 70 percent and the Colts make the playoffs)…Plus, Indy takes the risk of the contract: $96 million over the next four years, with $47.5 million guaranteed. Heck of a risk on a quarterback who failed so spectacularly, and in many ways, in 2020.”

King on Wentz and Colts head coach Frank Reich: “Wentz is 28. He was awful last season and justifiably was benched for the last four games in Philadelphia. But he looked like the long-term guy the previous three years (81 TDs, 21 interceptions), and if anyone can fix him after the 2020 debacle it’s probably Reich.”

King on Wentz’s desire to go to the Colts:I’m told the Colts were his first, second and third choices in trade, mostly because of Reich and also because he’s a Midwest (North Dakota) guy, and Indianapolis has about 1 percent of the sporting venom of Philadelphia.”

King on Wentz’s 2020 season: “He saw ghosts; he often rushed throws even when he didn’t have to because he was used to heavy pressure from a line he didn’t trust anymore…He didn’t respond well to hard coaching, tuning out much of what he was being taught. After the Eagles spent a 2020 second-round pick on a quarterback, Jalen Hurts, Wentz didn’t trust the front office either.”

King on the Eagles since winning Super Bowl LII: “The team as a whole, poof! Gone, into thin air. Doug Pederson’s last four years: Super Bowl win, playoffs, playoffs, 4-11-1…fired. Whaaaaat? What has happened in sports?!…There might be a team in the 55-year history of Super Bowl that has dissolved faster than these Philadelphia Eagles, but I can’t think of one.”

King on the Eagles: “Over the weekend, in talking to two people who know the inner workings of the Eagles, it’s clear that there is a stunned disbelief inside the team from (owner Jeffrey) Lurie on down. A year ago, Pederson and Wentz were the keystones for the future of the franchise. Today, it’s almost inconceivable Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts are the coach and quarterback, and the franchise is cap-strapped with so few young building-block players.”

NEWS & NOTES

King on the death of former NFL WR Vincent Jackson: “I think it’s too early to know exactly why Vincent Jackson’s life ended far too soon at 38, but the signs that he was spiraling downward are there: successful former football player (four times a nominee for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award), estranged from his family, serious alcoholism suspected.”

King on his idea to help retired players and their post-career lives: “I say convene a combined league-union Blue Ribbon Panel, with mental-health and cognitive-health experts from each side, to examine why so many players struggle in their post-career lives. Invest real money in addressing the afterlives of football players. Invest real money in safety nets for players who go off the grid and whose lives their good friends are seriously concerned about, so that prominent players and excellent contributors to society don’t die binging on alcohol or other substances after giving up on finding a good life post-football.”

King on Drew Brees: “I think it’s good for Drew Brees to be in control of his fate and all that, but it’s Feb. 22. It’s been 36 days since Jay Glazer announced Brees would definitely be retiring after the Saints’ final playoff game, 36 days since that last playoff game. And crickets. It’s widely (overwhelmingly?) assumed Brees will retire and transition to broadcasting. Drew, you’ve got the stage to yourself this week. No quarterback trades likely. It’s all yours.”

King on Jacoby Brissett: “I think I’d love to see free-agent quarterback Jacoby Brissett sign with the Eagles. Great spot for Brissett, who still wants to play, probably won’t have a solid starting opportunity in this market, but would be an excellent backup if Jalen Hurts struggles in Philadelphia.”

Read the full FMIA column here and catch the weekly Peter King Podcast here.

The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:

    • PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Chris Simms streams live on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Safety Blitz streams on Monday and Chris Simms Unbuttoned stream Tuesday-Friday.
    • ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
    • The Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast and NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show continue the NFL discussion.

A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.

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