Maybe the Jets don’t need to wait until the spring to pick up their franchise quarterback of the future via the NFL Draft. Maybe he’ll come via the trade market — and maybe he’s already one of the top young quarterbacks in the game.
Deshaun Watson is unhappy with the Houston Texans and could be seeking a trade sometime this offseason.
The 25-year-old wasted away on a Texans team that is going backward, passing for league-leading 4,823 yards with 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions for the 4-12 side.
After the firing of head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien midseason — who traded away Houston’s All-Pro wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins just before the start of the 2020 campaign — Watson reportedly wanted his input heard on the Texans’ search for his replacements as both positions.
Houston recently hired Nick Caserio as their new general manager without consulting Watson once while they ignored his suggestion to interview San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator — now Jets head coach — Robert Saleh. They also initially ignored his request to talk to highly-touted Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, but have since spoken with him.
For a Texans team that is going nowhere, keeping Watson should be a priority if not to keep their last shred of relevance. But if the 25-year-old wants out, the Jets and their AFC East divisional rivals, the Miami Dolphins, are the two teams believed to be waiting.
Watson has a no-trade clause in his contract and would be willing to waive it to go to his “preferred” destination in Miami, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen. But that doesn’t mean the Jets are necessarily a No. 2 option.
After hiring Saleh — the man Watson wanted Houston to interview — Watson was taped in Philadelphia this week buying a new car with his agent, David Mulugheta, saying he wants it painted in “Jet green.”
The Jets also have the components to put together a very strong trade package with a pair of first-round picks in each of the next two drafts to start with — something that would likely pique the Texans’ interest.
The idea of Watson going to New York has already gotten an endorsement from veteran All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, who played under Saleh with the Seattle Seahawks and most recently with the 49ers.
On Wednesday, the 32-year-old soon-to-be free agent appeared on the “The Cris Collinsworth Podcast,” to practically recruit Watson to the Jets — where they could eventually wind up as teammates.
“I’d head to New York on the first thing smoking. The Jets,” Sherman said. “It would be the most beautiful [thing]. Decent offensive line. They’d have to find threats. They’d have to find some offensive weapons. But I think there would be a lot more people excited to be there.”
Draining the franchise’s draft capital would go against the philosophy of general manager Joe Douglas, who has remained prudent on playing the long game. However, the opportunity to acquire a franchise-altering talent like Watson at a position the Jets have struggled to have any consistency in for decades would obviously provide an understandable opportunity to pivot from that standpoint.