Likely? No. Possible? Sure.
That’s really the simplest way to assess the New England Patriots’ chances of swinging a trade for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson in wake of their free agency spending spree.
New England last week re-signed Cam Newton to a one-year contract, suggesting Bill Belichick might be OK with running it back at the QB position in 2021. Newton struggled in 2020, though, so perhaps the Patriots will add another signal-caller this offseason, whether it’s via trade, free agency or the NFL draft.
Watson, the subject of trade rumors given his reported desire to leave Houston, seems like a pie-in-the-sky target for New England. Other teams, including the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins, can build stronger trade packages based on their current QB situations and favorable draft positioning.
Still, FS1’s Colin Cowherd explained Thursday he’s not ready to rule out New England landing Watson, especially since the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain believes the Texans ultimately trade their star quarterback and The Athletic’s Jeff Howe thinks the Patriots could be a viable suitor as they continue to search for a possible upgrade at the position.
Check out Cowherd’s full breakdown below.
One thing worth noting: Watson’s success against New England.
It doesn’t take an expert to see that Watson is one of the NFL’s premier quarterbacks, but it’s hard not to wonder whether Belichick holds the 25-year-old in even higher regard thanks to the three-time Pro Bowl selection’s strong play against the Patriots.
“Remember when Belichick went out and got Cam. He had played Cam twice, and Cam gave him fits,” Cowherd said. ” … The last two times Belichick has faced Deshaun Watson: Deshaun Watson is the only quarterback without a giveaway against the Patriots over the last two years, 300 passing yards a game, five passing touchdowns, a rushing touchdown, no picks, 2-0 against Belichick and a 74 percent completion percentage. So, Belichick can’t stop him.”
The Texans have remained adamant they have no plans to trade Watson. And again, the Patriots might not have the pieces to complete a deal. The Patriots own the No. 15 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, whereas the Jets and Dolphins own the No. 2 and No. 3 picks, respectively, in addition to being able to offer their own quarterbacks — Sam Darnold and Tua Tagovailoa, respectively — in a potential deal.
But, to Cowherd’s point, it sure feels like something else might be coming for the Patriots, who just tossed around a bunch of money in free agency. And nothing right now would be bigger than acquiring Watson.