Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve seen for weeks the situation bubbling over with Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans. He believes owner Cal McNair promised to keep him in the loop in the team’s GM search, and then McNair and EVP Jack Easterby did an end-around, bypassing the committee the team had hired for the search, to hire Easterby’s former Patriots colleague Nick Caserio. Ultimately, the situation now appears unsalvageable. This MMQB story explains it all in thorough detail.
“There is a growing sense from people in and around the Texans’ organization that Deshaun Watson has played his last snap for the team,” Adam Schefter reports. “It’s early in the off-season, there’s a lot of time left, but Watson’s feelings cannot and should not be underestimated.”
With that in mind, here are five teams that make sense for Watson (while keeping in mind that he has a no-trade clause):
1. New York Jets
The Jets have the most ammo to make a major move for Watson. They have the second overall pick in the Draft, and they also have the Seahawks’ pick (23rd overall) from the Jamal Adams trade. Sam Darnold could also potentially be included in a trade package. The Jets could also absorb the loss of draft picks because they have ample cap space to build around Watson.
2. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins are ironically in a great position to make a move because of a different move the Texans made to protect Watson. Miami owns Houston’s third overall pick in the Draft from the Laremy Tunsil trade. They also have their own pick, 18th overall. They could put together an attractive picks package, and if the Texans like Tua Tagovailoa that would be another potential carrot.
3. San Francisco 49ers
This would be the ideal situation from Watson’s perspective because Kyle Shanahan is an offensive guru. However, with the 12th overall pick in the Draft, the 49ers would not have the type of assets to compete with the Jets or Dolphins should either team go all-in.
4. Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders are in a similar spot to the Niners where because they pick 17th overall it will be hard for them to compete with the Jets or Dolphins. However, Jon Gruden is entering Year 4 of his second tenure with the Raiders and he has to know at this point that he needs to do whatever it takes to land one.
5. Chicago Bears
Ditto what we said about the Raiders and 49ers with Draft assets — they pick 20th overall. Bears fans nonetheless salivate about the possibility that Ryan Pace’s decision to trade up for Mitchell Trubisky and pick him ahead of Watson (and Patrick Mahomes!) could come full circle. How many first round picks would it take them to get the Texans to agree to the move?