The second league-altering quarterback trade of the offseason has now been announced.
Deshaun Watson goes to Cleveland Browns in exchange for the farm, and some responded immediately that value was a slap in the face to Seattle Seahawks management regarding the return for sending Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos.
But was it?
Just plug in the Wilson and Watson transaction numbers using the Fitzgerald-Spielberger chart. Not including discounts on future picks which I assessed as the 16th pick in each round
Seahawks – 5,511 points plus 3 players
Texans – 5,808 points
Seattle got the best deal
—Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) March 18, 2022
Not so fast, according to Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com.
What Fitzgerald is referring to is a compilation of research conducted by him and Brad Spielberger, attempting to retroactively assess the value of rookie contracts in order to gauge the value of trading draft picks.
The whole painting is on their OverTheCap websiteand gives a value up to 3,000 points for each choice.
It’s only slightly different from Jimmy Johnson’s trading chart, which GMs have used for years. Under those values, using the same 16th pick for each round as Fitzgerald, Seattle won 3303.5 from the Wilson trade. Houston won 3368 from dealing Watson, but again – the Seahawks had three top caliber players (yes, yes, Drew Lock jokes in the comments).
I fully admit it, I was quite emotionally sensitive to the Wilson trade initially. Just something was missing about the headliner of two first-round picks.
But they’re really comparable sets, especially given a few factors that GM takes seriously. Watson is only 26 and Wilson 33. Additionally, Wilson’s last 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 has a better career completion percentage and yards per attempt than Wilson with legs that still race.
It looks like John Schneider got at least some market value for his franchise quarterback. Plus, consider Denver’s chances of running away with infinitesimal division wins over the much weaker AFC North when considering 2023 draft picks.