By Blake Beddingfield
What is the best option for the Houston Texans with Deshaun Watson?
Keep him or trade him with the central focus to upgrade your team for the present and future.
The common theme when talking about the Houston Texans trading superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson is that they cannot trade him within the division.
Why not? If the best package of players and picks comes from a division team, so what.
This is an old way of thinking, and if the NFL has proven anything over the past decade with rule changes and quick firings of coaches and general managers by owners is the old way is obsolete.
The number one option for the Texans is keeping Deshaun Watson and building around him.
Watson is a top five quarterback in the NFL and has youth, experience and high production on his side. Along with a contract that will keep him in Houston through the 2025 season.
Is keeping Watson the best option for a Texans team that is rebuilding?
The Texans currently have a 3rd, 4th, 5th, three 6th and a 7th round selection in 2021 draft.
It is difficult to rebuild a team without a first and second round draft choice and a PR disaster that will have an effect on free agents from around the league.
In 2020 the Texans had a bottom five defense in the NFL and their best defensive player JJ Watt is getting older.
The Team has a number of UFA’s (Unrestricted free agents)
Of that group only Fuller is a must have player moving forward because of his game changing speed and vertical stretch ability. He has had his share of injuries and also a suspension for PED’s to end the 2020 season.
In most years I would suggest the Texans keep Watson and build around him, but this year is different because of one player.
Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence is a unique talent and has the potential to equal or surpass Watson in 3-4 years.
Lawrence is the highest graded quarterback to come out of college since Andrew Luck in 2012.
Lawrence is the one quarterback that has the potential to be a franchise quarterback like the one they are trading in Watson.
A franchise QB is one that makes other players around him better and the loss or lack of credible offensive talent around him is lessened because of his abilities. Lawrence could have that type of impact.
The Texans could keep Watson and use free agency and the limited draft choices to build around the star QB or they could trade with a team in their own division to speed up the rebuild and also get a future top QB in the process.
The best quarterback that the Texans could get in return for Watson is the first pick in the 2021 draft, Trevor Lawrence.
The rest of the quarterbacks in the 2021 draft like Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, Kyle Trask, Mac Jones and Trey Lance each have major questions and concerns.
It takes two teams to want to trade and I believe the Jaguars would be willing because of the moves they have made this offseason.
The Jaguars side is also one that should be considered.
Head coach Urban Meyer is 56 years old and has had a history of medical/health issues. With a rookie QB it usually takes three seasons before the team is ready to compete for a division championship.
Does Meyer want to wait that long? Or would he rather have a plug and play QB that can win games with the current offensive talent in Jacksonville.
The Jaguars have young skilled position players:
Wide Receivers: Laviska Shenault, DJ Chark, and rookie running back James Robinson are solid pieces to build around.
The Jaguars would need to resign left tackle Cam Robinson who is a unrestricted free agent.
The Jaguars could also draft a third down RB and upgrade the TE position along with adding another wide receiver.
Will Fuller is available!!
If Lawrence is the choice for the Jaguars, by the time he is ready to lead his team to a division title, Shenault, Chark and Robinson will be in their free agent year.
Timing is everything.
The Jaguars have built their offensive line over the past few years through the draft and free agency and have a solid group moving forward.
What would the trade look like?
The Texans would receive the 2021 first overall choice, 2021 second rounder, 2022 second rounder and Pass rusher DE/OLB Josh Allen (2019 first rounder)
That means the Texans would upgrade their defense and acquire draft choices which they are currently lacking and also get a top young QB in Trevor Lawrence.
The Jaguars would get Deshaun Watson a top five QB in the NFL right now.
The Jaguars would still have the 25th and 45th overall picks in the 2021 draft to build around their new QB.
Also, Jacksonville becomes a top free agent destination because of Watson, Meyer, location and no state income tax.
This is a win win for both teams.
The Texans can turn the page from this negative PR hit that they created themselves by getting a QB that has a chance to be even better than the one they are trading.
The other trades the Texans could make have a lot more room for error.
If the Texans decide to trade with the Jets they get:
Sam Darnold, Quinnen Williams and two first round picks (2021 and 2022) and a 2021 second rounder. With the 2021 first rounder (2nd overall) they would select BYU QB Zach Wilson.
Wilson is a one-year high producer with a good NFL starting caliber QB skill set but again a one-year producer. The list of one-year high producers drafted in the first round the past four years is Daniel Jones, Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins and Mitchell Trubisky. Only Murray has had some success.
If they trade with the Dolphins
Tua Tagovailoa, Christin Wilkins and two first rounders 2021 & 2022. The Texans could select one of Justin Fields or Zach Wilson with the 2021 3rd overall pick, but do not have their choice of the next best QB. This will come down to what GM Nick Caserio and team feels about Tagovailoa.
If they trade with the Panthers
The Texans would get the 2021 first rounder (8th overall), 2022 first round, Pass rusher Brian Burns (2019 first rounder) and Derrick Brown (2020 first round). The Texans won’t get a top two QB from the 2021 draft with the 8th overall pick. They most likely would select a defensive player and still not have a starting QB for the 2021 season. Not ideal.
The Washington Football Team
The 19th overall pick. I would demand Chase Young and much more in terms of draft captial. But the Texans would not have a 2021 QB. This will be tough for the Washington team to pull off because trading Young is a risky move.
The Indianapolis Colts
The 21st overall pick. I would want Deforest Buckner and Darius Leonard and more draft capital and give them back JJ Watt. But the Texans would still not have a 2021 QB.
So, I say again, why not trade with the Jaguars in the division?
The goal is to build your team with a roster that can win the division each year, get into the playoffs and work toward the last game of the year on a Sunday in February.
Can Watson be a Super Bowl quarterback? Yes.
Can Lawrence be a Super Bowl quarterback? Yes
Can Zach Wilson? Can Justin Fields?