The future for Watson lies on the east coast

Quin Norris, Sports Editor

Since the 2020 offseason only one question has consistently been on everyone’s mind in the NFL world. What will happen with star quarterback Deshaun Watson? This inquiry was sparked by then head coach Bill O’Brien trading away star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals for a running back that was out of his prime and a third-round pick. To put that into perspective Hopkins was not only the best receiver on his team but widely considered the best in the entire NFL. If O’Brien was that keen on trading away his talent, he could have easily received a first-round pick along with multiple depth pieces from the Buffalo Bills who traded for the Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs in the same offseason. 

Going into the season many were waiting to see what would happen to the new Houston Texans roster who was bloated with old veterans worth a hefty amount of the team’s salary cap and a lack of young talent or draft picks to build around their young quarterback of the future. Needless to say, the year did not go well for the Houston Texans as they were dragged by Watson to a 4-12 record for the 2020 campaign. Two of these victories were also against the Jacksonville Jaguars who went 1-15 this past season to receive the first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. 

When I say that Watson dragged this team to victories, I am not exaggerating. On any given drive this season the team’s success depended on three things. First, could the wide receivers on this team avoid dropping what would be completed passes from Watson. Second, could Watson make amazing plays with his legs when his pocket would inevitably collapse due to the poor offensive line play in Houston. Third, could the Texans find a little bit of good luck throughout the game. If all three of these things worked out for the team then they would get a victory in the game. The struggles they had led to a mid-season firing of Bill O’Brien as the team got set to look towards the future. 

Now entering the 2021 offseason all eyes are on Watson as he has requested to be traded from the franchise so that his talent is not wasted in Houston. The primary landing spots for the QB are the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets. Both teams have young quarterbacks and a lot of draft capital along with a well televised division on the NFL due to the Boston, Florida and New York markets found in the AFC East division. 

To start with the case for sending Watson to the Dolphins you have to look at the success the team found this season with struggling quarterback play from rookie Tua Tagovailoa and veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. This success is due to the quality coaching from Brian Flores and the promising play from his young defense. The Dolphins also have a large capital to give up in order to land Watson as they could give up the third pick of the first round in this year’s draft, which originally belonged to the Texans, and Tagovailoa. This move makes a lot of sense for both teams as it gives the Texans a promising young quarterback and their old draft capital while also getting rid of a player that no longer wants to play for the franchise. The trade also works well for the Dolphins as they still have a late first round pick in the draft and no longer have lingering questions at the quarterback position. As far as the prospects for Watson, Miami would give him a promising young team to be competitive with in the AFC. 

The other primary landing spot for the young quarterback is the New York Jets. The trade for New York makes sense as they can get rid of what appears to be a failed quarterback experiment in Sam Darnold and their second pick in the draft that they would have used on another experimental quarterback for a guaranteed success story in Watson. The trade for the Texans is not as favorable however as while they are getting a slightly better draft position at the second pick, they are experiencing a talent drop of from Tua Tagovailoa to Sam Darnold. However, with the second pick the Texan could draft a promising young quarterback like Justin Fields or Zach Wilson. The team could potentially address the expensive offensive line issues by drafting promising star Penei Sewell from Oregon. The trade for Watson is a bit trickier to figure out. While New York does not have the same loaded roster potential the Miami has it does have a much larger sports market being in New York City. This move could be massive for Watson’s image and wallet in a way that Miami just cannot quite match. 

If I were making the decision for Watson, I would suggest that he make the move to the New York Jets. The team is young and has potential to build around him. The new head coach Robert Saleh seems to be a real big player’s coach which is a mentality Watson may prefer after being under Bill O’Brien and his “my way or the highway” attitude. The other reason I feel the Jets is the best outcome for Watson has nothing to do with Deshaun and everything to do with the Dolphins. With two picks in the first round and some flashes of potential out of Tagovailoa I feel that the best move going forward for the Dolphins is to stick to their plan to build a roster around last year’s first round pick.