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2021 NFL Draft: Investigating A Potential Deshaun Watson Trade

Never say never.

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

We all know the timeline of unhappy events for Texans fans: Jack Easterby mucked up the present and future, Deshaun Watson got mad at ownership and demanded a trade. Watson and new general manager Nick Caserio entered a staring contest and then Watson was hit with a flurry of lawsuits. The Houston Chronicle recently listed the following teams as pre-lawsuit suitors for Watson’s services:

Post-lawsuit, the Panthers acquired Sam Darnold in a trade with the Jets. The Football Team grabbed Ryan Fitzmagic. Chicago brought in Andy Dalton. If you believe those teams would prefer those signal callers to Deshaun Watson, that’s a different topic. However, for the sake of superficial speculation, let’s assume the Panthers, WFT, and Bears are out on DW4 for now.

That leaves the Jets, Dolphins, Broncos, 49ers and Patriots. Plus, there’s always a wildcard, a team no one knew was in the mix that shows up at the last moment. For the moment, let’s limit the speculation to the five teams. There are certainly franchises out there that would never, ever trade for a player under NFL investigation until after the league hands down any potential punishment, but there are always those willing to roll the dice if the payoff outweighs the risk. Maybe, just maybe, one or more of these teams has the dice in hand right now. For example, what if...

The New York Jets Trade for Deshaun Watson in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The J-E-T-S currently hold the 2nd, 23rd, 34th and 66th overall picks in the upcoming draft—all picks that occur prior to Houston’s first, the 67th overall. Sure, the Jets could take any quarterback in the draft not named Trevor Lawrence with the 2nd pick, but we’ve all seen how well New York does with developing quarterbacks. They’ve been trying to draft Joe Namath’s replacement since the 1970s. Better to just trade for a guy like Watson, scandals and all.

The Jets also have Marcus Maye, Folorunso Fatukasi, John Franklin-Myers, and Quinnen Williams on the roster. Surely Nick Caserio is familiar with all these players, having just recently vacated the best personnel seat at the AFC East table.

The Jets aren't known for making the best trades, so perhaps Caserio could pull a little Darth Belichick Sith magic and make a smart trade for the Texans here.

The Miami Dolphins Trade for Deshaun Watson in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Miami has always seemed like the best trade partner for Houston. They already have Houston’s first and second round picks from the Laremy Tunsil deal of Bill O’Brien infamy. They also have Tua Tagovailoa. Per Larry Brown Sports, a potential deal is dead in the water now. Sure, the Dolphins made a trade with the 49ers, but they still hold the 6th, 18th, 36th and 50th picks in the upcoming draft. Miami could still make a deal for Watson happen; chances are with the legal storm around Watson, they could do so for less than it would have cost 60 days ago.

Tua would certainly provide an upgrade over Houston’s other QB options, Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Finley. Nick Caserio could use the acquired draft capital to pick some more building blocks for the future.

The Denver Broncos Trade for Deshaun Watson in the 2021 NFL Draft.

If you’ve been paying the slightest bit of attention to the NFL over the last 30 years, you know very little is larger than John Elway’s ego. The Super Bowl champion quarterback turned team czar calls (or used to call, now that Denver hired George Paton) all the shots for owner Pat Bowlen. Elway is very enamored with Watson and considers himself a QB-whisperer.

Denver currently holds the 9th, 40th and 71st picks in the upcoming draft. They also have Von Miller, Ju’Wuan James, Bryce Callahan, and Bradley Chubb—all players who would dramatically improve Houston’s roster.

The San Francisco 49ers Trade for Deshaun Watson in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Prior to the lawsuits, rumors swirled that the 49ers were Watson’s preferred destination in a pending trade. How much of that is truth and how much is made up we may never know. Either way, the 49ers were, and presumably might still be, interested in acquiring DW4.

The 49ers have the 3rd overall pick, as well as the 43rd. While that’s not as much high draft capital as the Dolphins or Broncos, the Niners do have the ability to package some good veteran players the Texans can build around. Players like Nick Bosa, George Kittle, Kerry Hyder Jr., Jason Verrett, and Fred Warner, just to name a few. Again, these are all players Caserio would presumably love to have.

The New England Patriots Trade for Deshaun Watson in the 2021 NFL Draft.

If Nick Caserio traded Deshaun Watson to his former employer, the collusion and conflict of interest scandal alarms would sound all over the NFL media-verse. Not to mention Patriots Overlord Bill Belichick seemingly never loses in a trade scenario, so sending Watson to New England would ultimately present a total failure, both in appearance and reality, for Houston.

However, stranger things have happened. New England currently holds the 15th and 46th overall picks. Their entire roster, minus any players acquired in 2021, was built through the combined efforts of Belichick and Caserio.

Names like Patrick Chung, Shaq Mason, J.C. Jackson, Isaiah Wynn, and Chase Winovich would all present improvements for the Texans’ 2021 roster.

The [insert mystery team here] Trades for Deshaun Watson in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The weeks and months leading up the NFL Draft are always chock full of misinformation, false rumors. and outright lies. Often teams will spread rumors to hide their true intentions. In some cases, they’ll do so to tank the value of a draftee in the hopes said player falls to them at a lower pick than predicted. Nearly every year, some sort of blockbuster deal comes out of nowhere and takes the football world by surprise. That could happen this week with Deshaun Watson.