The New England Patriots always have struggled against Deshaun Watson. Now, there’s a chance they could be facing him twice each season.
Watson remains under contract with the Houston Texans and has yet to officially request a trade, but a report Sunday from ESPN’s Adam Schefter suggested the quarterback and the team that drafted him are heading toward an inevitable divorce.
And if the Texans are forced to trade Watson this offseason, two of New England’s AFC East rivals should be among the leading candidates to acquire him.
That would be the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets, both of whom possess the ammunition (aka primo draft picks) necessary to acquire a 25-year-old franchise QB like Watson.
The Dolphins currently own two first-round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft — including the No. 3 overall selection they acquired from the Texans in the Laremy Tunsil trade — and four total picks in the top 50. They also have quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, the fifth overall pick last year, who could be added to a potential Watson package.
Miami has been rumored as the most likely trade partner for Watson as the rift between the quarterback and the Texans’ front office (led by owner Cal McNair and VP of football operations Jack Easterby) intensifies.
The Jets, meanwhile, acquired first-round picks in each of the next two drafts when they traded safety Jamal Adams to the Seattle Seahawks. They’re set to pick at No. 2 overall this year and own two first-rounders (their own and Seattle’s) in 2021 and 2022.
One potential snag in the Watson-to-NYJ speculation? As ESPN’s Chris Mortensen noted, Watson’s contract features a no-trade clause, meaning he’d need to willingly accept a move to the often-dysfunctional Jets.
Any viable trade proposal for Watson — a three-time Pro Bowler and one of the NFL’s best players at his position — likely would need to include several first-round draft choices. The Dolphins and Jets can fulfill those requirements while also offering Houston, which badly needs to replenish its roster with young talent, a coveted top-three pick.
Either of these teams winning the Watson sweepstakes would be bad news for the Patriots, who already have one of the NFL’s top young QBs in their division in Buffalo’s Josh Allen.
Over his last two meetings with New England, Watson completed 74 percent of his passes for 578 yards with seven total touchdowns (five passing, one rushing, one receiving) and no turnovers. Houston won both games.