What about Watson?
There are plenty of bells, whistles and red flags going into a potential Deshaun Watson trade, but that hasn’t stopped the teams from allegedly giving the Texans an inquisitive call ahead of the Nov. 2 trade deadline.
The first, the biggest, and the most important: When will federal authorities complete their investigation into Watson’s extremely disturbing sexual assault allegations? What charges, if any, will Watson face, and what recourse will the prosecutors have? Second, what will the NFL do if the results of the investigation turn out to be particularly damning?
MORE: Latest News, Updates on Deshaun Watson Trade Rumors
The second problem in a Watson trade: the quarterback has a full no-trade clause, which gives him a lot of clout and tells him where he’s going. Several teams have called Watson, but reports have indicated that he may not be interested in anyone other than Miami.
Unfortunately, the league doesn’t seem to want to stop for anything or anyone, including that investigation, so various teams have reportedly taken an interest in Watson’s services. So who should really trade for a guy involved in such a dire situation? Well, nobody, really.
But if NFL teams want to go ahead with the addition of Watson, there are two who should and two who shouldn’t make that deal.
Should: Carolina Panthers
The Panthers have already made the mistake of sending the second, fourth and sixth round Jets to the Jets for Sam Darnold, a move that isn’t exactly working for anyone involved.
The first-year GM Scott Fitterer has already proven to be tremendously aggressive in the commercial market, landing 11 trades before the start of the season, tying the mark left by previous GMs in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
With a defense ready to move up to the top echelon, the Panthers can’t (and shouldn’t) waste time trying to figure out where their passer of the future is coming from. The 2021 NFL Draft is already pretty weak when it comes to high-level passing prospects, and Darnold doesn’t appear to be the long-term answer for the Panthers to move on.
Watson would provide the safest bet, and with a supporting cast that includes Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore and Robby Anderson, the offense would also instantly soar with the arrival of Watson.
While there are questions about the offensive line, Watson has shown he can make a chicken shit chicken salad, and the Panthers will still have ways to improve it, even without first-round picks for years to come.
MORE: Can Deshaun Watson Play In 2021?
Shouldn’t: Miami Dolphins
While the Dolphins are Watson’s favorite destination, Miami has enough problems to solve without ruining its future anytime soon.
The Dolphins are in the midst of an incredibly disappointing 1-6 season, the kind of 1-6 season that gets people fired, especially after a year of promising returns in 2021. The quarterback isn’t exactly the problem, and Tua Tagovailoa has not. They haven’t given me a good shake either.
That said, time is running out for the Dolphins to form a cohesive unit under general manager Chris Grier. Grier’s recent drafts haven’t exactly yielded the best results, especially his supposed 2020 franchise-altering draft; The jury is still out on a solid but unspectacular Tagovailoa, tackle Austin Jackson has been disappointing in his sophomore year (51.3 PFF grade) and the offensive line as a whole has been quite porous.
Combine those draft returns with the fact that the Dolphins are pretty mediocre defensively and will have a lot of gaps to fill next offseason (only 35 players under contract entering the new league year), and Miami has a first-round pick ( 49ers via pre-trade streams in 2021).
The Dolphins also have a 2023 first-round bonus courtesy of that same pre-draft trade to San Fran, but there are too many gaps for Miami to fill right now and in the next few years to bankrupt its core draft capital to acquire Watson. .
Should: Denver Broncos
The Broncos’ defense isn’t great, despite having the highest-paid unit in the NFL. Still, the team has plenty of young pieces that could grow under the supervision of Vic Fangio, and with an elite quarterback like Watson at the helm, the team could turn the corner and fast.
On offense, the Broncos have continued to search for the next franchise quarterback. Here’s a list of the guys who started since Peyton Manning retired after 2015:
- Trevor siemian
- Paxton lynch
- Brock osweiler
- Keenum case
- Joe flacco
- Drew lock
- Brandon allen
- Brett rypien
- Jeff Driskel
- Kendall Hinton (COVID start)
- Teddy bridgewater
… And the chances are high that they will move to the No. 12 QB this offseason.
The Broncos have several wildly talented wide receivers (Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler, Courtland Sutton) and a solid tight end in Noah Fant, so the pieces around the quarterback are certainly there, in case Watson wants to win at the immediate and give up his no-trade clause to head to a division that already has three excellent quarterbacks.
A trade for Watson would help the Broncos now and in the future, and would likely help them position themselves better for the postseason this year than any other team currently trying to trade him for him.
MORE: What to Know About the Deshaun Watson Lawsuits
Shouldn’t: Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen Hurts is in the midst of an uneven second-year season as the Eagles’ starter, but he’s not the reason the Eagles should keep their picks.
The Eagles feel great with two first-round players (and potentially three, via the Carson Wentz trade) in the nest for the 2022 draft. Would it be worth giving away all three picks to Watson now? Probably not.
Freshman head coach Nick Sirianni should have a chance to help build a list on his vision under Howie Roseman. Early results aren’t bad, especially with wide receiver Devonta Smith. While Hurts probably won’t turn out to be the long-term solution for the Eagles down the road and the 2022 Draft is light on passers, there could be a player (or two) moving up the draft boards between now and then.
That would also give the Eagles and Roseman another choice or two to work with to rebuild the team on both sides of the ball, which is where the Eagles are headed by the looks of it.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.