Rice thinks 49ers must 'go for' Watson trade if QB wants out originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Until the 49ers make a firm commitment to Jimmy Garoppolo being their 2021 starting quarterback, San Francisco will continue to be connected to every potentially available quarterback on the market.
The latest flavor of the month is Deshaun Watson. The Houston Texans star reportedly is displeased with how the franchise is handling its search for a new head coach and general manager. The Texans hired Nick Caserio as their new GM but have yet to select their next head coach. Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported that there have been whispers that Watson could demand a trade this offseason.
If Watson indeed is tired of the Texans' poor organizational structure and penchant for stepping on rakes, Jerry Rice has no doubt the 49ers should make a run at the 25-year-old star.
"Yes, I think they should," Rice told 95.7 The Game's "The Morning Roast." "You know, you got to look at all your options. You look at Deshaun Watson and there is rumors that he might go to Miami, he might go to the Patriots and the 49ers. I think they have to look at that because the thing about Jimmy G -- I think Jimmy G is a good quarterback but the thing is that he can't stay healthy. Now, I don't know the cause of that or what that entails. But they got to look at who is going to be the leader down the road. Someone who is going to be behind center that's able also to be healthy and productive on the football field. ... Everything starts with the quarterback. If the quarterback can't stay healthy then we have problems. If Deshaun Watson is out there and he's unhappy in Houston then I think we have to take that under consideration."
If Watson asks for a trade, it will take a hefty sum to pry him away from Houston. A number of hypothetical trades already have been bandied about. Rice isn't sure what is too much to acquire a transcendent talent like Watson, or even if there is a price that is too big to pay for one of the game's top signal-callers.
"Quarterback is the most important piece of the puzzle," Rice said. "If you don't have a quarterback, you're not going to be able to win. You're going to build your dynasty around that quarterback. So, how much? I don't know. But if we have the opportunity to bring a player of his quality in, we got to look at that. The game is totally going a different direction now too guys. Quarterbacks are being more mobile, being able to get out of the pocket, extending plays, still being able to deliver the ball downfield. You got to have a mobile quarterback now. So, I don't know what is too much, but if we have the opportunity to get a player of his stature, we have to go for it."
There will be a host of teams vying to trade for Watson should he want to change his zip code, but Rice thinks the 49ers should be Watson's preferred destination.
"I think the reason he should come is, I believe we have so many pieces of the puzzle already in place," Rice said. "You look at the receiving corps, you look at the running backs, you look at your defense. I think this team is ready to make a run at another Super Bowl. I think with Deshaun Watson the thing is, he wants to have the opportunity to be part of a team where he has a chance to win a Super Bowl. I think that's here in San Francisco."
The chances of the Texans trading one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL is slim. But if Watson forces their hand, there's no doubt the 49ers should be on the phone with Caserio ready to sell it all for Watson.