The Jets Must Go All Out for Deshaun Watson
While the NFL playoffs would typically be enough to get football fans buzzing, an even bigger story has arose. Houston Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson is reportedly extremely unhappy with the organization. This news is also followed with some sources believing Watson may have played his last game with the franchise.
Enter almost every team’s fanbase clamoring for a Deshaun Watson trade.
While Watson would be an upgrade to perhaps all but two NFL franchises, one team makes the most sense: the New York Jets.
New York has been seeking a star quarterback since the days of Joe Namath. Well Jets fans, here’s the opportunity on a silver platter. Watson is a top-three QB in the NFL. Last season he led the league in passing yards (4,823), while adding in 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. Watson also continued to be a threat on the ground, rushing for 444 yards and three touchdowns. All of this while dealing with a below-average offensive line (ranked 23rd by Pro Football Focus) and the loss of DeAndre Hopkins.
Watson’s ability alone would be enough to draw major trade interest from NFL teams. It only gets better however, considering the star QB is only 25 years old and just signed an extension through 2025.
Now many fans may be wondering how the Jets would be the best fit for Watson. When most think of the Jets, they think of a historically bad and dysfunctional organization. Why would Deshaun Watson waive his no-trade clause to go to New York?
Well a couple reasons have started to be introduced. First starting off the field. It was reported that Watson wanted Houston to interview former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh for their head coaching vacancy. The Texans ignored that request however, allowing Saleh to become New York’s next head coach.
The speculation doesn’t stop there either, as Watson and his marketing agent liked an Instagram post of an image of the New York Post saying New York should do “whatever it takes” to acquire Watson. While some may think it’s silly, in 2021 social media can drop major hints for player’s interests.
As for on the field reasons why Watson would be interested in the Jets, let’s start with Robert Saleh. Watson clearly respects Saleh as a coach, otherwise the QB wouldn’t have requested that Houston interview him. Saleh has also been deemed as a leader and culture-changer by his players and former colleagues. The former defensive coordinator appears to have what it takes to turn New York’s franchise around. Not to mention Saleh will almost definitely be a major upgrade from former coach Adam Gase.
Another on-field reason for a possible Jets/Watson partnership would be the options New York provides. Yes the team finished with the second-worst record in the NFL. That doesn’t mean they’re completely devoid of talent however. Rookie tackle Mekhi Becton showed real flashes of star potential in just his first season. Safety Marcus Maye finished last year with the fourth-highest grade among safeties according to Pro Football Focus. Second-year defensive tackle Quinnen Williams upped his sack total from 2.5 to 7 while playing just 13 games. New York is also set to get star linebacker C.J. Mosley back next year after he opted out of the 2020 season.
Now the Jets obviously need some help. Good thing they’re currently projected to have the second-most cap space (over $66 million) according to Over The Cap. That number can also easily go up to $78 million with a cut to defensive end Henry Anderson and a trade of Sam Darnold (which is inevitable if New York gets Watson). Yes Watson would take a chunk out of that. However, the Houston QB is only owed a base salary of just $10 million next season, with his highest base salary being $35 million in 2022. The Jets would easily have the money to trade for Watson, and be able to sign a couple of notable free agents such as Allen Robinson, Kenny Golladay, Chris Godwin, or Joe Thuney. The presence of a superstar like Watson being there may also be enough for free agents to consider taking a little less to play with him.
Not only are the Jets the best landing spot for Deshaun Watson, they also can offer Houston the best trade package. The Texans desperately need draft picks, as they won’t currently make a selection until the third round. New York on the other hand has two first and third round picks this year, one second round pick this year, as well as having two first round picks next year. They could package anything along the lines of three first round picks (including the number two selection), along with a third. Or the Jets could trade Sam Darnold, two firsts and a second for Watson.
Either way New York has multiple options to acquire the superstar quarterback; and they should do whatever it takes. A player like Watson could change the whole trajectory of the franchise. After missing the playoffs for ten straight seasons, the Jets have a real chance to bring about change. Pairing Watson with Saleh, along with making a few free agent signings would finally give New York fans something they haven’t had in a while: hope. The opportunity is there. The team shouldn’t be greedy on draft picks when there’s not even an agreement on who New York should take at number two (i.e. Justin Fields or Zach Wilson). Watson is a known commodity, don’t mess it up.