With the Super Bowl in the rear view mirror, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs enjoying a season for the ages, and a lull in NFL news for the next few minutes, let’s stop and play a game of ‘What If...?’
For anyone who read Marvel Comics in the 70s/80s/90s, What If...? was a series where they changed something in the known universe and then played out the newly created future caused by that change. For our purposes, let’s role with the assumption that Bill O’Brien wants Tom Brady to sign with Houston this offseason...and he wants it so bad he’s willing to use all his newly acquired power to make it happen.
Then, in our hypothetical, Bill O’Brien gets his wish and the Texans land Tom Brady.
At that point, Houston no longer has the cap space to retain Deshaun Watson beyond his rookie deal. Bill O’Brien holds all the cards, and trades Watson to the Washington Redskins for their first and second round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft and Trent Williams. To add salt to the deal, O’Brien then signs Brandon Scherff and Adrian Peterson in free agency.
With the addition of Peterson, O’Brien lets Carlos Hyde and Lamar Miller walk in free agency, assuming Peterson has as much left in the tank as Brady - just enough to win one for the Gipper. O’Brien then uses his new draft picks to select Chase Young (DE—Ohio State) and Trevon Diggs (CB—Alabama).
Additional moves O’Brien makes in this scenario: pulling Will Fuller’s fifth-year option and allowing him to walk (limp?) via free agency, but he then replaces him with Super Bowl hero Sammy Watkins, pairing Watkins with fellow Clemson legend DeAndre Hopkins.
Suddenly, the Texans’ offense is comprised of Tom Brady, Adrian Peterson, Duke Johnson Jr., DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins, Kenny Stills and a much improved offensive line featuringTrent Williams, Tytus Howard, Nick Martin, Brandon Scherff and Laremy Tunsil with Max Scharping and Zach Fulton in backup roles for the inevitable injuries.
Once the clamor of “Burn Bill in effigy” dies off from O’Brien sending the greatest quarterback in franchise history to Washington, Brady takes over the offensive game planning and play calling from O’Brien. The Texans finally become Patriots South, and Brady leads the Texans to their first Super Bowl victory.
Or Bill Belichick levels insidious accusations of tampering, cheating, ball deflating, sign-stealing, and locker room bugging against Houston, at which point the whole thing implodes and the Astros are once again looking upon as the better organization.
Chances are none of this, or anything remotely close, will actually happen. But, what if? Would the Texans be better for it?