If it’s simply a matter of what team can offer the most, the Chicago Bears have no shot at getting Deshaun Watson. Thankfully, that’s not the case. “The player” can pick his next team and the Bears have to sell him on the Bears being that team.
As of last week, the Texans strongly insisted they would not trade Watson. But it’s the quarterback who actually holds the power, if he wants to use it. Playing hardball and forcing Watson to either retire or pay hefty fines for not reporting to training camp is the kind of move that could kill a Texans franchise already on life support. He has made it clear he wants out and the best thing the Texans can do is move on and start thinking about the future. (And it makes their sales pitch to the fans – “he wanted out” – far easier.)
While there should be at least 30 teams trying to make a move for Watson, the Bears are situated better than many think. They have almost all of their draft picks going forward and salary cap space is easy enough to create, especially with Watson only costing roughly $11 million against the cap in 2021.
We know the Bears can’t put together an offer full of top five picks but if they can appeal to Watson, the Texans just might have to take what they can get.
Five steps to do just that.
Step One. “I F@#&ed up.”
Ryan Pace has to talk man-to-man with Watson and explain the 2017 draft.
The most important thing: he can’t insult Watson. He must find a way to explain why he took Mitch, without offending Watson even more than he already has. He must tell him he’s every bit as good as the team thought, but they fell in love with Mitch. It was a mistake.
And Pace can’t lie. Well, he can’t lie too much. Don’t blame the decision on anybody else. People in the league talk. Watson and his agent will be able to sniff out the B.S. There can’t be any. Pace has to accept responsibility and simply tell Watson he messed up.
Step Two. “We kicked your ass…with Mitch Trubisky.”
He saw how easy he could have it.
Mitch Trubisky didn’t have to force a pass down the field. He saw open targets all game long, with players getting YAC. David Montgomery opened with an 80-yard touchdown.
Now, imagine what they could do with a quarterback of Watson’s caliber.
Step Three. Sign Allen Robinson.
If you want to prove you are loyal to your top players and make sure Watson knows he has a stud to throw to, give A-Rob more money than you thought conceivable.
Forget the franchise tag. Players hate the tag and it will only bring ill will. Pay him what he wants; what he knows he’ll get on the open market. It’ll be worth it because Watson will see exactly what you’ve done and you’ll have a premier recruiter in Robinson.
In almost any other scenario, the best bet to get a premier quarterback might be to trade Robinson. But they can’t do that and expect Watson to want to come.
Step Four. Show Him the Draft Receipts.
We all know a part of the deal is going to be giving Houston a ton of picks. Pace has to show Watson that he’s capable of replenishing the roster and building a contender right away.
Nobody wants to wait for 2022. Watson isn’t getting out of Houston to go to a team that will only win four games again. (That’s looking at you, Jets.)
Step Five. Let Chicago’s Legends Speak.
He can’t speak to Sweetness, but he can talk to Jarrett Payton about what it’s like to be a the son of a legend in Chicago. Mike Singletary, Dick Butkus, Dan Hampton, Richard Dent…the list goes on.
But the most important name on the list is Michael Jordan.
Reach out to MJ and see if he’ll give Watson a call. Explain to Watson what winning in Chicago does, how he won’t just be another great quarterback when he hoists the Super Bowl Trophy.
Forget Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre and John Elway. Winning in Chicago is just different and MJ can tell him exactly how in a way that just might make it impossible for Watson to say no.
Or just have him watch The Last Dance.