Welcome to January in the NFL. Good teams are playing in the playoffs and every other team is speculating. Well, at least the fans are speculating. There is never bigger news in the NFL then when a star Quarterback says they are done with their current franchise. It happened with Carson Palmer, it happened with Jay Cutler and now it is happening with DeShaun Watson.
Over the weekend, news broke by many large organizations that DeShaun Watson’s anger went from a 2, when DeAndre Hopkins was traded, to a 10 when Cal McNair decided to hire Nick Caserio from the New England Patriots. Reports then surfaced that said DeShaun was done with the Houston Texans and he just wants out. The Texans are a mess of an organization. They have a character coach in Jack Easterby basically running the front office. They have turned their back on the times and have barely supported the new civil rights movement that is sweeping professional sports. Now, they have all but chased their star Quarterback out of town.
This naturally lead the NFL fanbase to freak out. I would say all but 8 franchises will be inquiring about how to acquire DeShaun Watson. The Chiefs, Packers, Bills, Seahawks, Ravens, Chargers, and Bengals and Browns would be about the only teams I can see not making a phone call. Everyone else, if their GM is doing his job, will make the call. So, what do writers like myself and many others do when they hear this news? We put the pieces together and speculate. That’s right folks, our heads have been spinning as football fans ever since hearing this news reported and I am going to give a breakdown of the top 6 potential landing spots for DeShaun Watson.
Nothing may happen, or exactly what I say may happen but none of that matters. All that matters right now is that many fans of many franchises have hope. I am a Bears fan and twice in my Bears fandom I have said “no chance” when two top players wanted out of their chosen organization: Jay Cutler and Khalil Mack. The Bears have actually been two of the biggest players when it has come to blockbuster trades in the NFL. Both times, young players in their prime were on the outs with management and both times, 9 years apart, the Bears walked away with a prized player. So, as a Bears fan, I can say ‘no chance’ all I want but I just may be proven wrong again. If the rumors are true, then every team other than the Texans has a chance and I will break down the likely landing spots if this were to happen.
As Vegas tends to do, there are already odds on where DeShaun Watson will land, so… Using those odds (never bet against Vegas) I will walk through all the different scenarios for the top 6 teams. Let’s take a stroll, shall we?
Team Number 1—The Miami Dolphins +500 (5 to 1)
If the news is true then the rumors also state that Watson would prefer to land in Miami. This, of course, should be the best news the Dolphins have had since Tom Brady decided to depart New England. The Dolphins would be the ideal landing spot for DeShaun Watson. He wants to be there, they are coming off a great season, they have a good defense, a great head coach, and playmakers on offense. DeShaun Watson has a no-trade clause in his recently signed contract so that makes options much better for DeShaun. The Texans won’t be able to send him anywhere that makes the highest offer. They will send him to a place that makes a high offer AND be somewhere that DeShaun wants to play. I don’t care if Detroit offers 5 first-round picks, Mathew Stafford and DeAndre Swift; if DeShaun doesn’t want to play in Detroit, he ain’t playing in Detroit.
Miami has all the pieces to pull off a trade with the Texans. DeShaun Watson is a type five player. He is better at this point in his career than Jay Cutler or Carson Palmer were when they demanded trades. That means capital—all who inquire must bring it. The Dolphins own the 3rd pick in the draft thanks to the Texans (how ironic) and they own the 18th, 36th, and 50th pick in the draft. I would think they could give the Texans all 4 of these picks as well as Tua and be done with the trade. Tua (a top-five selection), 2 first’s, and 2 seconds would probably get this done. Or they could trade Tua, #3 overall, a 2022 and 2023 first-round pick. The point is, they have options. They are a good team in a good place for Watson to land where he would then battle it out with Josh Allen and company for the next decade. Vegas has the Dolphins at +500 (5 to 1) to land Watson and, barring anything totally unforeseen, I see DeShaun taking his talents to South Beach.
Team Number 2 – The New York Jets +500 (5 to 1)
The second most likely team is the New York Jets. Similar to the Dolphins, they have the pieces to pull off a trade. IF, and it’s a big if, the Texans decided to trade Watson in his prime they are going to want a young QB to build around. I don’t think anyone will be as good as Watson but the Jets own the 2nd pick in the draft, they have a young QB in Sam Darnold they could move and they own the 2nd, 23rd, 33rd, 66th, and 87th pick in the draft. Similar to their Miami foes in the AFC East, the Jets could handover Darnold and all 5 of their picks in the first 3 rounds and land Watson. Or they could trade Darnold, the 2nd overall pick, and a 1st rounder in 2022 and 2023. Being in the #2 spot the Jets could have any quarterback in this draft not name Trevor Lawrence so there are solid options here.
The Jets could have had DeShaun Watson in 2017 but they chose to draft Jamal Adams. They have come to regret that decision but their thinking at the time is the 2018 draft had better QB prospects. Their thinking was wrong. They are now in a position to make a move for Watson, and with Robert Saleh firmly aboard in what I believe is the best coaching hire this cycle, starting fresh with Watson and a ton of cap space might be what ails a troubled franchise.
Team Number 3 – The New England Patriots +1000 (10 to 1)
How funny that 3 AFC East Teams are the front runners and none of them are Buffalo. Buffalo has landed a franchise QB. Wow. Watson going to the Pats would almost be unfair, right? The Patriots have owned the AFC East, the AFC and actually the entire NFL for the last 2 decades.
After a down year this year, you know Bill Belichick is chomping at the bit to be a contender again. The cards were always stacked against Bill being better than Brady, but in the present Brady has proven to be the key piece to New England’s success. A great quarterback makes great coaches; it’s never the other way. Bill Walsh designed a perfect system for Joe Montana but Montana was more important than Bill Walsh. Aaron Rodgers is more important than Matt LaFleur; Patrick Mahomes is more important than Andy Reid. I have nothing against any of these guys but I take offense when coaches are deemed geniuses when they win with great QB’s. It’s just not the case and Bill learned the hard way in 2020 how important Tom Brady was to what Bill wanted to do in New England. The Brady Way trumps the Patriot way.
So now Tom Brady is in yet another conference championship, his mind-blowing 14th, and Bill is sitting home with the 16th pick and a bad roster. One of the worst parts of Bill’s roster is at the QB position. Wouldn’t all NFL fans just love if Trader Bill was able to make the greatest trade of his illustrious tenor and snatch DeShaun Watson in his primes from the Texans? I can hear the collective NFL fandom moaning from here. Unlike Bill’s other AFC East rivals, the Patriots just don’t have the same capital to pull off the trade. They don’t have a young QB to trade, and they don’t have a high enough pick to land one of the top 3 QB’s in this draft. But the interesting situation with DeShaun Watson in all of these scenarios is his no-trade clause. The Texans will aim to get the biggest package they can get from any of the other 31 franchises but if DeShaun doesn’t want to go, he ain’t going. That is what makes all of this so interesting. So if the Patriots have a package that is lesser than say the Jets and DeShaun would rather play for Bill Belichick, he can go to the Patriots or he can just hold out. I think 10 to 1 odds are spot on, so never underestimate the Evil Emperor Darth Belichickious. He can rewrite the next decade of Patriots glory with one all-out move to land Watson and we will be left with the reckoning.
Team Number 4 – The San Francisco 49ers – +1000 (10 to 1)
Ahhh, the first NFC team. If I was Watson and the Texans, I would want to be moved out of the AFC. The two QB’s playing in the AFC championship this Sunday are going to own the AFC for the next decade. What Buffalo has built around Josh Allen is incredible and all credit to Josh, he has become—no doubt about it— an elite QB. I didn’t see that coming, but watching just 2 or 3 games this year, Allen is a different dude and he is set to own the AFC East and compete for Bowls with Patrick Mahomes for another ten years.
Speaking of Patrick Mahomes, he is the best QB I’ve ever seen play the position. I said what I said and I never stutter. I’ve seen great ones: Marino, Montana, Kelly, Elway, Peyton, Tom, Brett, and Aaron. Aaron is the closest I’ve seen to the best ever. Tom is the GOAT because he has some sort of Tom leadership magic that is clearly uncontested, but Mahomes is the best I’ve ever seen do it. He is the perfect specimen for today’s game. He has a rocket arm, he commands the offense like a cool breeze, always in control. He isn’t a dynamic runner but he is quick enough to move around the pocket and he can set and fire from any platform at any time. He also has the best eyes I’ve ever seen. His look off’s are incredible and every defense is at his mercy. In short, why would DeShaun want to compete with that if he doesn’t have to. Sure, he may see Mahomes in a Super Bowl but I’d rather take my chances there, in neutral territory, than make the annual trek to Kansas City every January.
If Watson wants to win now, his best bet is to get out of the AFC and there is no better team positioned to win now than the 49ers. They have the best coach in the NFC in my opinion. They have a loaded defense and offensive line when healthy and they have a clear path to the Super Bowl. Though Watson would have to go through Russ and Kyler, and the Rams are pretty good, Watson with Shanahan would be the new Brady and Belichick or Mahomes and Reid. Sure, Watson would still have Aaron Rodgers problems but for some reason, the 49ers have had Aaron’s number. With all the 49ers have (a loaded roster, creative coach, winning culture), add DeShaun Watson and they could make a run at not just 1 super bowl but multiple super bowls throughout the 2020’s. The 49ers own the 12th pick in the draft so the Texans might be without an opportunity to pick one of the top 3 QB’s but the 49ers could offer multiple 1st’s, multiple 2nd’s and multiple 3rd’s which would give the Texans enough ammo to make moves up in the 1st round and land their new starting QB. 12 to 1 odds sounds right. I still think this is a pipe dream but the 49ers are one of the NFL’s greatest franchises with a rich history of QB dominance. Watson would fit right in and be an immediate winner in the land of San.
Team Number 5 – The Chicago Bears – +1200 (12 to 1)
Oh man, what can I say about my beloved Bear. Folks that have been following me know that I am a die hard Bears fan and because the Bears have a had horrible QB play for the better part of 80 years, that’s exactly what I do every year. I Die Hard. I am a season ticket holder and every year of my fandom has produced some of the worst QB play the game has ever seen. Look, I know the Bears don’t have the capital. They own the 20th pick in the draft, they had some good wins over bad team late in the year even but the Bears were as mediocre as mediocre gets. But 1 reason gnawing reason and only one reason I would say the Bears make sense for Watson. He would own Chicago.
One word DeShaun, LEGEND! The City of Chicago is dying for a great QB. I know every NFL franchise is dying for a great QB but Chicago, the city of broad shoulders would treat DeShaun Watson like a king. He could eat at Chicago Cut every night of his life for free. That’s worth it right there. Before game 1, the Bears would create a statue of DeShaun. It’s not just that the Bears have had terrible QB’s throughout their history its that they have had to watch two of the greatest QB’s to ever play the game own them for the last 30 years.
Think of this. Ever since Brett Favre made his first start for the Packers in 1992, the Bears have had 26 starting QB’s. Not one of them has been good, let alone great. Jay Cutler was the closest thing to great but he was hard to cheer for. His attitude sucked. He wasn’t a good guy. He had a lot of talent but he wasn’t great and he wasn’t a dude you cheer for just because. No one wanted to cheer for Jay. He got hurt against the Packers in the NFC championship game, he got hurt a year later and it was all down hill from there even though the Bears in their infinite wisdom paid him an ungodly amount of money to be average.
After all that pain, all that loss the Bears truly out did themselves in 2017. Ryan Pace made what is perhaps the worst GM move of all time. The fact the Bears ended up with Mitchell don’t call me Mitch Trubisky doesn’t make the pick the worst of all time. What makes it so bad is that he traded up to land Mitch. That has never happened. He traded away assets for a guy that will be out of the NFL in a few years. He traded away a 3rd round pick that later became Alvin Kamara to land a guy that went 8-5 at UNC. He traded away those picks when two potential hall of fame QB’s were in the same draft. It is beyond disgusting the man still has a job. Bears fans are left to suffer. So if I was DeShaun, I would want nothing to do with the Bears. They had their chance and they didn’t treat Watson with any respect. They blew him off in pre-draft workouts. They didn’t even have a meal with the man who may be the greatest college QB of all time. It’s sad, it’s embarrassing, and its a fact. However…
The Bears have shocked me in my fandom. They have pulled off two of the biggest blockbuster NFL trades of the millennium. I can remember clearly thinking there was no way they could land Jay Cutler, but they did. I remember clearly thinking there was no way they could land Khalil Mack, but they did. Both of those guys were seen as two of the best players in the league at that time. Both were needed positions for the Bears at the time and both ended up in Chicago. While all the other franchises dreamed, the Bears made it happen. I was so excited about both of those deals and neither really worked out very well.
Ryan Pace with one move could rectify his entire career. With one all in move could bring the city of Chicago the quarterback they so richly deserve and as for DeShaun Watson. He could own the country’s 3rd biggest market. He would have sponsorships upon sponsorships and like his college coach at the time said he could be the next Michael Jordan. If I was DeShaun I would say no thanks but think about if he had the inkling to say you know what, F it. I want to be a legend for the NFL’s charter franchise and rewrite my history by taking on the civil rights causes in a city that so desperately needs a hero right now.
DeShaun is a good dude on top of being a great QB. He could do so much for the city of Chicago. The Bears own the 20th pick but if I was the Bears I would give the Texans, literally anything they want. On top of the Bears being mediocre they have been boring for the last 15 years. They bring zero excitement because they haven’t had star power since Urlacher, Briggs, Peanut, and Hester. If Watson wants to be the man, if he wants the glory he deserves I see no better team than rewriting all of the QB records for the Chicago Bears. He could win super bowls in Chi-town, he could own the NFC North (after Aaron leaves) and he would be knighted for his efforts. I think it is a pipe dream, but all I’m saying is just think about it DeShaun.
I for one would love to have you.
Last but not least the odds on favorite to land DeShaun Watson….
Team Number 6 – The Houston Texans – -160 (Need to bet $160 to win $100)
I know its not exciting but Vegas knows best. How can you trade DeShaun Watson. 1 year after trading arguably the best wide receiver in football in DeAndre Hopkins for a Coke and a Jolly Rancher, well I mean for David Johnson and a 2nd round pick, but pretty much the same thing. If this trade goes down it’s bigger than the beard going to Brooklyn and Houston will have some sports problems on their hands. God bless the sports talk radio guys over the next year. It would be the biggest trade in NFL history in my opinion. Top 5 QB’s just don’t get traded in their prime. Watson is a guy that can win and will compete for multiple super bowls. He doesn’t even need great talent around him. Just good talent, good coaching, a sound organization and he will thrive.
Rumor has it that JJ Watt went up to Watson and told him sorry for wasting one of his years. The truth of the matter is that the Texans are an organizational mess. This is top down stuff that radiates throughout the building. Bill O’Brien was a bad coach and worse GM but there is no reason the Texans should have been the 3rd worst team in football in a year where Watson started every game. They would have been an extremely desirable location without all this drama. A hall of fame type of quarterback, that the city loves, who is a good person that is just 25 years old. You don’t trade that dude. I think it happens though. I think he gets traded. It sounds messy and Watson sounds done with it. He will force his way out. How in the world did it get to this. Cal McNair, Bob McNair and Jack Easterby. Weird out of touch management and owners submarine franchises more than coaches or players ever will. When Bob McNair said you can’t let the inmates run the asylum I knew they were in a world of hurt. The connotation is clear, guys like Watson and Hopkins even though they are two of the most talented players in the league are not accepted with this franchise.
If I were a betting man (hey, I am) I’d go against the easy Vegas bet and bet that the Watson era in Houston is over. There is too much bad blood. It’s the easiest place, try like hell to mend broken wounds, get a coach Watson loves and draft offensive linemen, more receiver help, more running back help and all kinds of defensive help but I believe this shipped has sailed. Watson will be playing for another team next year.
At the end of the day
In the end, I say Watson moves on. I’ve seen this movie before and I don’t think it ends well for Houston. Watson wants out and he will force their hand. Even if it is all the way up to week 1. Quarterback is so different from every other position. If there is dissension from the all world QB the team will be bad, they will not respond, and if the Texans believe they will win this stalemate, I believe they are wrong and will be left out of acquiring as much capital as they can before the NFL draft. If they have a staring contest all the way up to week 1 the team will suffer, the franchise will suffer, and 2021 will become an ugly lost year. I say move on. Watson wants to be in Miami, they have the assets I think that is what will happen. That is where I’m laying my money. If I’m Watson I will take Andre Johnson’s advice and bounce. But hey, like I say, I’m a Bears fan. DeShaun man, you would look great in blue and orange. HA Come to the Chi and become a legend. Just saying.
Either way, if I were Watson, I’d want out. The owner went behind his back and the trust is broken. At the end of the day this is a business and Watson has options. Stand firm, get the hell out, and bid farewell to a messed up organization. Your talent is too great to be miserable.