Every team whose decision-makers have half a brain who isn’t trotting Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen out every week should be interested in acquiring Deshaun Watson.
You can and should count the New England Patriots in that number.
As of mid-February, the Patriots’ plans for the quarterback position are still unclear. We’ve heard things that imply New England could turn back to Cam Newton–which wouldn’t be the disaster many suggest–but it also wouldn’t be a better option than Bill Belichick and Co. going all-in on acquiring Watson.
According to former NFL general manager and current ESPN analyst Mike Tannenbaum, he says Belichick will be “real aggressive” if and when Watson becomes available. Here is what Tannenbaum on ESPN’s Get Up on Monday after host Mike Greenberg asked if Belichick’s long-standing relationship with new Houston Texans GM Nick Caserio would help to facilitate a trade for Watson:
Absolutely. And Bill Belichick, what is he? He’s opportunistic. So, if he had to give up multiple first-round picks, maybe a really good player, they have a couple they can move from, that if they can get Deshaun Watson, it can transform their organization over the next 10 years.
Tannenbaum also added, if Watson is available, Belichick will be “real aggressive.”
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Watson is Still a Long Shot
As great or exciting as it is to fantasize about Watson as the Patriots’ quarterback for the next 10-15 years, people in the know understand this is still a long shot. Up to now, the Texans have maintained they aren’t trading Watson.
Many expect that stance to soften if Watson won’t come off his trade demands. The Texans aren’t likely to allow this drama to stain the beginning of Caserio’s tenure as the team’s general manager.
They would appear more inclined to move forward with Watson, but it is sensible to predict the Texans will begin to warm up to a future that includes the tremendous they receive from the trade package they’re able to collect if and when they trade their star quarterback.
If Tannenbaum is correctly gauging Belichick’s interest and the idea of aggression, the Patriots would be nuts not to do their best to win the Watson derby.
Watson is the best long-term option, even though acquiring him would cost the most future assets. If Belichick wants to take a stab at being competitive now while also planting seeds for the future, he’ll draft a quarterback that he believes has the talent to be the next franchise player at the position–even if he’s not ready in 2021.
If that’s the approach, the return of Newton makes even more sense. Newton will be 32 by the time the 2021 season begins. He could be effective for the next two seasons, but he isn’t a long-term solution.
Despite the heavy focus on the bigger-named prospects like Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, and Zach Wilson, the Patriots could potentially find their future quarterback outside of the first round.
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