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Elementary My Dear Watson

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NFL: Houston Texans at New England Patriots Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time of year when NFL teams can cook up bold new plans for the upcoming season.

Heck, last year at this time, NFL ffans would have thought it would be pure fantasy for the Cardinals to wind up with WR DeAndre Hopkins via a trade.

Well, the trade scenario that I pose here may appear far-fetched, but, in my opinion, it is not completely out of the realm of possibility.

TRADE: The Houston Texans trade QB Deshaun Watson to the Arizona Cardinals for Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury and QB Kyler Murray.

Why the Texans make the deal:

  • Watson wants out.
  • Kyler Murray is a legend in the state of Texas.
  • The Texans’ new GM, Nick Caserio, is very familiar with Kliff Kingsbury from their days together in New England, plus the times that Kingsbury spent visiting Bill Belichick and the team while Kingsbury was at Texas Tech.
  • In acquiring Kyler Murray in a package deal with Kliff Kingsbury, the Texans can take advantage of their two years of coordinated growth.
  • The trade allows Caserio to pick up valuable cap space over the next couple of years as he begins to improve the Texans’ roster.
  • The expectation is that Kingsbury and Murray would be delighted to come back home to Texas.

Why the Cardinals make the deal:

  • Deshaun Watson will only be 25 this upcoming season, coming off his most productive season in 4 years (70.2% comp. 4,823 yards, 33 TDs, 7 ints.).
  • The timing of the trade salary-wise is perfect because Watson’s cap hit in 2021 is $10.54M. It goes up to $35M in 2022, $37M in 2023 and $32M in 2024.
  • The 4 year average salary for Watson, with the Texans having paid his signing bonus, is $28.6M.
  • Watson is reunited with WR DeAndre Hopkins.
  • The Cardinals have always had a very high grade on Watson and could be apt to feel that he would give them a superb chance to compete for Super Bowl championships.

As Sherlock Holmes loved to say to his sidekick when discovering a key clue in a case, “It’s elementary, my dear Watson.”


  • The Texans can trade for Kliff Kingsbury right now. They could give up a draft pick or picks, as the Patriots did to the Jets for Bill Belichick. Or as the Cardinals received from the Bucs when they hired Bruce Arians.
  • The trade of Watson for Murray would have to take place once the 2021 new year commences on March 17th.
  • The Cardinals are going to hire a veteran offensive assistant to take the place of recently retired Tom Clements. Potential candidates for that job are Jim Caldwell, Doug Marrone, Darrell Bevell, Dirk Koetter, Tim Kelly (Watson’s OC in HOU), Anthony Lynn and Mike Kafka.
  • If the Cardinals were to trade Kliff Kingsbury, what the team could do is promote the offensive assistant to OC and then promote assistant head coach Jeff Rodgers to head coach, with Rodgers’ assistant Derrius Swinton taking over as special teams’ coordinator.


It would take something extraordinary as being able to acquire Deshaun Watson for me to accept moving on from QB Kyler Murray. By no means am I down on Murray.

What’s frustrating to me about Kliff Kingsbury is that I get the sense he is being heavily influenced by Steve Keim and others in the organization which is causing him to limit his penchant for running an offense that is committed to integrating Air Raid principles.

Last night while watching Alabama OC Steve Sarkisian dial up one imaginative Air Raid type play after another, I couldn’t help but think of Kliff Kingsbury sitting in his crib watching Sark’s play calling in total awe. I firmly believe that the style of offense that Alabama donned the past couple of years to the point where it blossomed like a crimson red rose last night is right in line with what Kliff Kingsbury yearns to do with his offense.

But I feel like, for whatever reasons, Kingsbury is being handcuffed in Arizona.

Even worse, I fear that the organization is setting Kingsbury up to fail.

Therefore, I would either like to see the Cardinals encourage Kingsbury to make a fuller commitment to his Air Raid type offensive paradigms or trade him to a team where Kliff can feel free to be himself.

As for Murray versus Watson —- i think that both of them are superbly dynamic. Watson has the advantage right now because he’s played for 4 years and has had more talented skill players to work with. But, Murray has the rare feet and arm talent to transform the QB position at the highest level.

The other frustration that I am battling with was watching DeAndre Hopkins get neutralized by CBs Jalen Ramsey (twice), Xavien Howard, Stephon Gilmore and Jason Verrett. In my opinion, it has a lot to do with the predictable ways in which Hopkins was employed in the offense. We never saw him moved around in creative ways like Sark did last night for Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith. And I cannot imagine why, except for the fact that Hopkins, without the advantage of having a normal off-season on the practice field at minicamps and OTAs, still insisted on taking practices off during the pre-season and during game weeks.

Something has to change for the Cardinals and Hopkins in 2021. Not only in how he is employed in the offense, but how he is going to start taking on a much-needed leadership role. True leaders are not back in the clubhouse getting a whirlpool bath and a massage while his teammates are out on the field in the hot sun working up a sweat —- installing key elements of the week’s game plan.

Tell us —- is this a trade you would endorse? What are your thoughts about the Cardinals’ offense in 2021? Do you believe that we are seeing the true Kliff Kingsbury?

For me, last night’s game bolstered (for the umpteenth time) my belief that RB Najee Harris would help the Cardinals offense become elite. His football skills and instincts are off the charts. Plus, I love how he bounces up a after each play and hustles back to the huddle. Harris literally and figuratively plays with “bounce.” That’s the kind of skill, energy and positive leadership the Cardinals’ offense needs.

How Watson Can Force a Trade from the Texans: