Marcus Spears: By adding Deshaun Watson, Washington closes gap on contenders

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Ethan Cadeaux
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Marcus Spears: Adding Deshaun Watson could make WFT a contender originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

In what is expected to be the most hectic offseason in terms of quarterback movement in NFL history, Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson remains the crown jewel of the frenzy, despite Houston's reluctance to trade its 25-year-old star.

Since Watson's request out of Houston became public in January, many have figured the Washington Football Team to be in the mix. Ron Rivera's club was a heavy suitor in the Matt Stafford sweepstakes and seems committed to upgrading the quarterback position this offseason, despite the head coach saying it wasn't as urgent as it might seem.

Although it's hard to imagine Washington trading for Watson -- NBC Sports analyst Peter King doesn't think an offer of Chase Young-led package could land the QB -- ESPN's Marcus Spears thinks the club must make a play for the Pro Bowl signal-caller.

"I would definitely make a play at Deshaun Watson," Spears said on NFL Live on Wednesday.

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Should Washington acquire Watson, Spears believes the Burgundy and Gold would have closed the gap between them and some of the NFL's best teams.

"If they get Deshaun Watson, they close that gap tremendously as far as being able to contend with a lot of teams in this league," Spears said.

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However, the ESPN analyst and former Dallas Cowboy was quick to note that trading for Watson isn't "an indictment" on current Washington QB Alex Smith, rather just taking advantage of a rare opportunity of a franchise quarterback becoming available.

"We all know that Alex Smith, barring no injury, would be one of the top quarterbacks in this league based on what he looked like," Spears said. "It's just hard to predict future-wise that Alex Smith is going to be the answer based on his injury and the things that he sustained."

Spears also said that should Smith want to continue to play football, "Washington should be in line to give him that opportunity."

Currently, Washington has quarterbacks Smith and Taylor Heinicke under contract in 2021. However, it doesn't sound like Smith will be returning to the club this fall (and his recent comments to GQ made this pretty clear), especially considering his $24 million cap hit. Kyle Allen is an exclusive rights free agent and there's a good chance he returns to Washington, too.

Washington won the NFC East in 2020. But winning the division in 2021 will almost certainly require better quarterback play, something Washington would solve by trading for Watson.

"I'm trading healthy quarterbacks for Deshaun Watson. I'm trading guys that have played well in certain places for Deshaun Watson," Spears said. "So definitely I'm going to put his name in the hat for a young football team that I don't think is far away from being pretty good."