The second league-altering quarterback trade of the offseason has now been announced.
Deshaun Watson heads to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for the farm, and some immediately responded that the value was a slap in the face to the Seattle Seahawks management in relation to the return for sending Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos.
But was it?
Just plugged in the numbers for the Wilson and Watson trades using the Fitzgerald-Spielberger chart. Not including discounts on future picks which I valued as the 16th pick of each round— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) March 18, 2022
Seahawks- 5,511 points plus 3 players
Texans- 5,808 points
Seattle got the better deal
Not so fast, according to Jason Fitzgerald from OverTheCap.com.
What Fitzgerald is referring to is a compilation of research by he and Brad Spielberger, attempting to retroactively gauge the value of rookie contracts in order to assess value of draft pick trades.
The entire chart is on their OverTheCap site, and gives a value up to 3,000 points for each pick.
It’s only slightly different than the Jimmy Johnson trade chart, used by GMs for years. Under those values, using the same 16th pick for each round as Fitzgerald, Seattle gained 3303.5 through the Wilson trade. Houston gained 3368 by dealing Watson, but again - the Seahawks got three starting-caliber players (yes, yes, Drew Lock jokes in the comments).
I’ll fully admit, I was quite emotionally responsive to the Wilson trade initially. Just something about the headliner of two first-round picks felt lacking.
But these are really comparable packages, all the more considering a couple of factors GMs take seriously. Watson is only 26 years old, and Wilson 33. Furthermore, Wilson’s previous two years of second-half play have been seriously questionable. I’m not going to argue that Watson is a better guarantee in 2022 than Wilson, but he’s got a better career completion percentage and yards per attempt than Wilson with legs that still do the running thing.
It seems like John Schneider got at least market value for his franchise quarterback. Plus, consider Denver’s chances of running away with divisional wins infinitesimal compared to the far weaker AFC North, when considering 2023 draft picks.