I'm not trying to scare you with that headline. And yes, there are significant differences in the pursuit of Deshaun Watson vs. the infamous three-decades-ago Vikings trade for Herschel Walker.
Namely: Even though running backs were valued more highly in 1989 than they are now, Watson still plays the most coveted position in all of sports.
But as the weeks pass and Watson's name continues to be discussed in trade scenarios — including ones with the Vikings — I can't help but think that the haul the Vikings would need to include to get Watson seems to be increasing.
And it's to the point now where it makes me think of the Walker deal. I talked about the prospect of a Cousins trade with Chip Scoggins on today's Daily Delivery podcast and explored the Watson angle further on my own.
If you don't see the podcast player, click here.
ESPN's Bill Barnwell was the first to suggest a theoretical trade involving the Vikings and Texans a few weeks ago. In his version, the Vikings essentially would deal Kirk Cousins and three first-round picks for Watson. That's a steep price.
But veteran football writer Peter King upped the ante a little more this week. In his Football Morning In America column, King proposed a three-way swap involving the Vikings, 49ers and Texans.
In that version of the deal, the Vikings would get Watson. And they would give up:
*Cousins, linebacker Anthony Barr, running back Alexander Mattison, two first-round picks and two second-round picks.
While this deal might be a little bit friendlier to the Vikings' salary cap, since it would clear about half of Barr's $15 million cap hit off the 2021 books and take it completely off the books in 2022 and 2023, it would also leave them without a cornerstone player (when healthy) on their defense.
And it would take away their security blanket at running back (Mattison), who still has two years left on his rookie contract at a very nice price (about $1 million per season).
Oh, and it would of course clear out Cousins and the two years left on his deal — but would also mean the Vikings were trading an above-average quarterback for an upgrade who is very good but might not be top-five level elite.
Plus, of course, four premium draft picks.
Like I said, quarterback is the most important position in sports. To acquire one of Watson's caliber, at his age, should take a lot in return.
But that much? It's bordering on Walker territory, the deal in which the Vikings ultimately surrendered three first-round picks and three second-round picks in a swap that helped the Cowboys form a dynasty while the Vikings never, of course, even reached the Super Bowl.
There comes a point where how much you have to give up in a trade becomes enough of a detriment that the "get him at all costs" sentiment evaporates. To me, the price suggested by King is too high. If that's what it takes to get Watson, how are the Vikings supposed to meaningfully improve the defense and offensive line to help him succeed?
Here's the outer limit of a fair swap to me: Cousins, first-round picks in 2021 and 2023 and a second-round pick in 2022. Full stop.
Anything more than that is too much unless we want to remember the Watson trade in the same way we remember the Walker trade 30 years from now.