Watson is eying the Broncos and 49ers as potential suitors for his next team

By Jeff Kerr, CBS Sports

(CBS SPORTS) – Deshaun Watson is starting to play the field for the next franchise he wants to suit up for — and he already has some potential suitors lined up. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported Friday that Watson is “intrigued by” the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers. Fowler also asked about the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins since both teams have a lot of draft capital, but said Watson isn’t as interested in the Jets as the other three teams.

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Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans plays air guitar during warm ups before the game against the Denver Broncos at NRG Stadium on December 8, 2019 in Houston.

Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans plays air guitar during warm ups before the game against the Denver Broncos at NRG Stadium on December 8, 2019 in Houston. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The 49ers have $13.4 million in available cap space (per Over The Cap) and have the 12th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft — as well as first-round picks each year afterwards. The Broncos have $32 million in available cap space and have the No. 9 overall pick in the 2021 draft. Denver also has a first-round pick each year afterwards. The Broncos seem to have more leverage when it comes to a potential Watson trade.

This isn’t the first time Watson has hinted at Denver over the past week. Broncos defensive back Kareem Jackson, who spent two seasons with Watson in Houston, said Watson is interested in playing for the Broncos. Denver has an abundance of wide receivers in Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, KJ Hamler, Tim Patrick, and DaeSean Hamilton. The Broncos also have Melvin Gordon at running back for 2021 and Noah Fant at tight end with an improving offensive line — so there’s plenty of reason for Watson to be intrigued.

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Watson wouldn’t have to carry the 49ers offense either with the way Kyle Shanahan orchestrates the zone-blocking scheme and prefers the run. He would be an instant upgrade over Jimmy Garoppolo, as the 49ers can save even more cap space by getting out of his contract this year ($23 million in cap relief).

Deshaun Watson at NRG Stadium on Dec. 8, 2019 in Houston.

Deshaun Watson at NRG Stadium on Dec. 8, 2019 in Houston. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

The Jets have two first-round picks (No. 2, No. 23) and two third-round picks this year. They also have two first-round picks in 2022. The Dolphins have two first-round picks (No. 3, No. 18) and two second-round picks this year, along with a first-round pick next year and in 2023.

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The Watson sweepstakes appear to be moving forward, even if the Houston Texans insist on not trading him at this time.