Calls for Raiders to Trade for Controversial QB Grow After AFC West Moves

josh mcdaniels

Getty Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels.

Seemingly overnight, the AFC West went from one of the NFL’s better divisions to being definitively the best in the league. The Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders were the two teams to make the playoffs out of the division. Not wanting to miss the playoffs again, the Denver Broncos traded for star quarterback Russell Wilson while the Los Angeles Chargers added former Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack.

The Chiefs are already Super Bowl contenders with their current roster but the Raiders could quickly be left in the dust if they don’t make some moves of their own. Derek Carr is a very good quarterback and is arguably one of the 10 best in the league. However, not many would argue against the idea that he is now the fourth-best in the division. That is just the reality of the situation.

The Raiders can still win a lot of games with Carr at quarterback but some don’t think the team should stay put while the rest of the AFC West improves. Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson will not face criminal charges due to previous sexual misconduct allegations. He could still face punishment from the NFL but the chances of him getting traded are greatly increased.

Despite a possible suspension from the league, many want to see the Raiders make a run at a trade for Watson.

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Watson Is as Good as Any Other AFC QB

Watson didn’t play a single game last season as he dealt with his legal issues. He requested a trade from the Texans last offseason but things got complicated so he had to stay put. It’s easy to forget that he was one of the most impressive quarterbacks in the league when he was on the field. In 2020, Pro Football Focus rated him as the NFL’s third-best quarterback.

He threw for 4,823 yards with 33 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. Watson did that while leading a terrible Texans team that won four games. Trading for him would give the Raiders a quarterback that is at least comparable to the other three in the AFC West. The toughest division in the NFL might be the toughest division in league history if Las Vegas landed Watson.


Highly Unlikely Raiders Trade for Watson

Even before allegations against Watson came out, the Raiders weren’t showing interest in the quarterback. It’s a different regime now with head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler but it’s still unlikely they make a trade. Texans general manager Nick Caserio knows the new Raiders brass very well. The trio went to the same college at John Carroll University and also worked together in New England.

Perhaps that familiarity would aid in making a deal happen between the two teams but Caserio isn’t going to want to trade Watson to the AFC. He’d much rather send him to the Carolina Panthers or Seattle Seahawks. That said, Watson has a no-trade clause and could force his way to the Raiders. That also seems unlikely. Like it or not, Carr should be the team’s starter in Week 1.

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