Watson’s Last Rodeo in Houston

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Luke Smith , Sports Writer

While it hasn’t been confirmed, it’s more than likely that Houston Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson will be traded over the offseason. After making the playoffs in 2019, the Texans made a shocking trade over the offseason when they traded superstar wide receiver Deandre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals for running back David Johnson, along with a second and fourth round draft pick. This season, the Texans were abysmal, finishing the season with a 4-12 record. Despite the team’s terrible season, Watson still put up impressive numbers, finishing 1st in passing yards and 7th in touchdowns. Many people, including players, have criticized the Texans’ poor management. Texans defensive end and future hall of famer JJ Watt was clear of his frustration with the organization in a late season interview, saying “we stink” and “we’re not giving the fans what they deserve.” Watt even said to Watson “I’m sorry, we wasted one of your years.” ESPN reporters Max Kellerman and Stephen A Smith also criticized the Texans, Kellerman calling them the “worst franchise in football” and Smith saying the Texans “alienated” Watson after giving him a contract, referring to when they traded Deandre Hopkins without telling Watson. Of course, these trade rumors have caught the interest of many teams from around the league, most notably the Indianapolis Colts, Las Vegas Raiders, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, and San Francisco 49ers. Below is a list of potential trade packages from each of these teams and why Watson would be a good fit.

 

Indianapolis Colts: 3 consecutive 1st round picks in 2021, 2022, and 2023 for Deshaun Watson

The Colts were impressive this season, finishing with an 11-5 record and losing in the wildcard to the Buffalo Bills. This was in large part due to their defense, which finished 8th in total defense and 2nd in turnovers. Veteran quarterback Phillip Rivers has expressed some uncertainty about his future and is putting up lower numbers than his prime with the Chargers. The Colts may consider this lofty trade for Watson in order to boost their offense and go along with one of the best offensive lines in the league. They should also look for notable wide receivers in free agency or the draft to position themselves as legitimate super bowl contenders, since this is a position they lack strength in. Overall, this team is an unlikely spot for Watson. 

 

Las Vegas Raiders: #17 2021 draft pick, 2022 1st round pick for Deshaun Watson

Under head coach Jon Gruden, the Raiders haven’t made the playoffs since 2017. Gruden has made some controversial moves as head coach, trading away star wide receiver Amari Cooper and superstar linebacker Khalil Mack. In 7 seasons with the Raiders, quarterback Derek Carr has led the Raiders to 1 wildcard game and no playoff wins. Carr has proven to be an inconsistent quarterback and Watson should be enough to make the Raiders playoff contenders. Watson would also have decent pass catchers with tight end Darren Waller and wide receiver Nelson Agholor. Overall, this would be a decent landing spot for Watson.

 

Miami Dolphins: #3 2021 draft pick, QB Tua Tagovailoa, cash for Deshaun Watson

This trade may sound like a reach, since the Dolphins have had 2 starting quarterbacks (Tua Tagovailoa and Ryan Fitzpatrick). However, for being the 5th overall pick in the 2020 draft, Tagovailoa was somewhat disappointing in the games he played, and Fitzpatrick will be going into his 17th season. Despite these challenges, the Dolphins still surprised a lot of people and finished the season 10-6 after going 5-11 the previous season. For them, getting a young quarterback entering his prime to compliment their young offensive talent (running back Myles Gaskin, tight end Mike Gesicki, wide receiver DeVante Parker) would make them legitimate contenders in the AFC, while the Texans could rebuild with Tagovailoa and multiple high draft picks. This would be a solid trade for both teams and a good spot for Watson.

 

New England Patriots: QB Jarrett Stidham/Cam Newton, 2021 1st and 2nd round picks, 2022 1st round pick for Deshaun Watson

In his 1st season without Tom Brady, legendary coach Bill Belichek finished the season at 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the 1st time since 2009. It’s clear that Cam Newton wasn’t a good replacement for Tom Brady, finishing the season towards the bottom of the league in passing yards with 8 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. With Watson, the Patriots might not have to go into rebuild mode, as they’d be getting a young quarterback entering his prime. While this could make them playoff contenders, it most likely won’t be enough to make them super bowl contenders with their lack of offensive threats. This remains an interesting choice for the Patriots.

 

San Francisco 49ers: QB Jimmy Garoppolo, 2021 1st round pick, 2022 1st round pick for Deshaun Watson

After going to the Super Bowl in the 2019-2020 season, injuries plagued the 49ers as they finished this season with a 6-10 record. However, even during their Super Bowl run, starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was hardly ever the highlight of the team over their defense and run offense. By trading for Watson, the 49ers would upgrade from a mediocre, injury-prone quarterback to a young star entering his prime and become Super Bowl contenders again, barring a repeat of many serious injuries. Watson would have a solid offensive line and young, talented pass catchers, such as superstar tight end George Kittle, wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, and pass catching running backs Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. This offense plus a defense that was widely regarded as the best in the league during their Super Bowl run would be an excellent landing spot for Watson and would give the Texans options with Garoppolo and draft picks.