The Patriots currently do not have enough appealing draft capital in order to be the strongest bidder for Deshaun Watson, should the Texans make him available.
New England does have a handful of young players who could interest Houston, however.
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell on Tuesday published 17 hypothetical trade proposals for Watson and ranked them in order of likelihood. Barnwell’s suggestion for the Patriots has Bill Belichick’s team at No. 5.
Here are the details:
Patriots send: 15th overall pick and third-round compensatory pick in 2021 draft, 2022 first-round pick, 2023 second-round pick, J.C. Jackson, N’Keal Harry
Texans send: Deshaun Watson, Kahale Warring
For the Patriots, this deal effectively would be a no-brainer. Watson is the type of player you sell the farm for, and as we’ve seen on plenty of occasions — especially in New England — early-round draft picks don’t always yield productive NFL players. Watson, on the other hand, is a proven commodity who can stabilize a team’s quarterback situation for the next decade-plus. That’s invaluable.
The Texans might not be too high on this hypothetical proposal, though. The 15th overall pick in a draft is nothing to scoff at, but you’re probably looking for a much higher election in exchange for Watson. Furthermore, Houston would need to issue Jackson a contract extension in order to keep him beyond the 2021 season and Harry hasn’t come even close to meeting expectations since he was selected in the first round two years ago.
The Patriots undoubtedly should enter the Watson sweepstakes, but the Texans all but surely will be able to find a richer return than anything New England realistically would offer.