Deshaun Watson has reportedly met with four different teams interested in trading for him, but the star Texans quarterback also has eyes on another franchise. As the start of 2022 NFL free agency nears, Watson has privately expressed interest in playing for the 49ers, according to NFL Media’s Jim Trotter. It’s possible San Francisco would be willing to engage in trade talks for the former Pro Bowler, who still faces 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault or misconduct, but the 49ers are not currently pursuing Watson, Trotter added, and have no plans to do so thanks to their contentment with second-year QB Trey Lance.
“Are the 49ers in on Deshaun Watson? Not at this point; it is not something they are pursuing,” Trotter wrote Wednesday. “But there could be a scenario in which that changes: First, Deshaun and his team would have to drive the bus and create an environment in which the 49ers believe they have a credible shot at landing (him) … (He) and his team would essentially have to tell (the Texans) that he will only waive his no-trade (clause) for (the 49ers).
“If Team Watson were to get (Houston) to reconsider its demands and create an environment in which (San Francisco) has a legitimate chance of landing Watson, then the 49ers would be willing to engage (because) Watson is that good,” Trotter added. “But at this time the 49ers are not interested in creating unnecessary drama. They like Trey Lance and are happy with him … (They) are not pursuing him. But if he were to create a scenario in which he could fall into their laps, things would get interesting.”
At this point, reports have indicated Watson’s likeliest landing spots are the Browns, Panthers and Saints. The QB, who could also face an NFL suspension in 2022, has reportedly met with the Falcons as well, but CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora reported Wednesday that Atlanta isn’t necessarily a legitimate contender. Watson is still hesitant to commit to Cleveland and Carolina as his next destination, La Canfora added, making New Orleans a perceived front-runner in trade talks.
The 49ers, meanwhile, are expected to trade incumbent starter Jimmy Garoppolo at some point this offseason, with Lance set to take over under center. San Francisco traded up to select Lance No. 3 overall in the 2021 draft.