NFL insider Peter King adds steam to trade speculation involving Kirk Cousins, Deshaun Watson

NBC Sports' Peter King has a three-team proposal that would send Watson to Minnesota.
Kirk Cousins

While the Minnesota Vikings appear to be content with Kirk Cousins as their starting quarterback in 2021, it hasn't stopped rumors that the Vikings could swap Cousins for an upgrade.

The latest rumor comes from the desk of NBC Sports' Peter King. In his Football Morning in America column, King laid out several potential trade scenarios for Deshaun Watson including a three-team deal involving the Vikings, Houston Texans, and San Francisco 49ers.

The deal starts with the Vikings sending Cousins to the 49ers. In return, the 49ers would send Jimmy Garoppolo and the 12th overall pick in this year's draft to Houston.

Meanwhile, the Vikings would give up Anthony Barr, Alexander Mattison, the 14th overall pick in this year's draft, their first-round selection in 2023, and second-round selections in 2022 and 2023 to Houston in exchange for Watson.

If your head is spinning from that deal, let's take a deeper look at what the Vikings would be giving up.

In Cousins, the Vikings would lose a quarterback that ranked 10th in Pro Football Focus's quarterback grades last season. The Vikings would also be taking his two-year, $66 million contract off the books.

Barr is a key cog in Mike Zimmer's defense but also is coming off a torn pectoral muscle. If Barr declines to renegotiate his $15 million cap hit for 2021, the Vikings could throw Barr in this trade and re-sign Eric Wilson, who is a free agent this offseason.

Mattison would also be expendable considering the recent five-year extension given to Dalvin Cook. With teams looking to get cheaper at running back, the Vikings could draft a new backup in this year's draft if they made this deal.

That leaves the draft picks. It's unlikely the Vikings would land a top rookie quarterback with the 14th overall pick and if Watson pans out, the Vikings would be giving up a late first in 2023 to bring Watson to Minnesota. That would be the same for the second-round picks in 2022 and 2023.

The deal would clear about $3 million in cap space but also give the Vikings a franchise quarterback. Although the Vikings would be out of early picks to build around him, a lot of the infrastructure would be in place to make the Vikings a contender with the 25-year-old under center.

Of course, there's a couple of hurdles to clear. KSTP-TV's Darren Wolfson previously reported that Watson has a no-trade clause and would not be willing to waive it to come to Minnesota. Garoppolo also has a no-trade clause, which would further complicate the deal.

King also reports that the Texans are intent on keeping Watson and are currently not listening to offers. As Watson plans on sitting out until he finds a new home, it will be interesting to see if the Texans blink.

A lot can change as teams head toward free agency and the draft but the odds of this deal coming to fruition are slim. Then again, with several quarterbacks planning to change addresses this offseason, nothing can be ruled out.

The latest forecast from Sven Sundgaard

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