Based on what we’ve heard from most insiders, the New England Patriots plan on being very aggressive this offseason as Bill Belichick attempts to quickly reestablish his team as a contender in the AFC.
With that in mind, and with Deshaun Watson seemingly hellbent on escaping the Houston Texans, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell dropped a wild, but financially practical trade proposal that would put the 25-year-old disgruntled star in a Patriots uniform.
Here is the proposed deal.
Patriots send: 15th overall pick and third-round compensatory selection in 2021 draft, 2022 first-round pick, 2023 second-round pick, CB J.C. Jackson, WR N’Keal Harry
Texans send: 2022 sixth-round pick, QB Deshaun Watson, TE Kahale Warring
That’s a ton to give up, but would it make sense considering Watson could immediately make the Patriots a playoff team?
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Many would suggest there isn’t much explanation needed on the Patriots’ part to swing this deal. If there is a chance to acquire a legitimate franchise quarterback like Watson, you do it for just about any cost. However, we’re talking about the Patriots, and these kinds of splashy deals haven’t been commonplace for the organization since Belichick was at the helm.
Here is Barnwell’s thinking behind the trade proposal:
Texans fans who are already upset about the Patriots-ization of their franchise would be even more furious to see their star quarterback head to New England. The Patriots might have to go a little over the odds, then, to get a deal done. The Pats would send only two first-round picks as part of this deal, but they would also attach second and third-round picks and a star cornerback in Jackson, who intercepted nine passes this season. Jackson is a restricted free agent, so the Texans would need to negotiate a new deal with Jackson as part of the trade. Harry would be a flier after two disappointing seasons since being drafted in the first round. This is a trade totally unlike anything the Patriots have ever done under Bill Belichick, but they’ve never had this sort of need for a player at the most critical position on the roster. Jarrett Stidham, a fourth-round pick in 2019, hasn’t looked like a viable answer. Belichick is already the most successful coach in modern league history, but he isn’t getting any younger. Neither is team owner Robert Kraft. Their quickest path to another Super Bowl is getting a superstar quarterback.
Patriots Would Still Have Tons of Work to Do
While the most important piece, a franchise quarterback, would be in place, the Patriots would still need to find him some receivers and a tight end to throw the ball to in 2021. While Warring has some upside, he’s hardly the presence at tight end that will make a team say they’re set at the position.
There are also serious holes at linebacker, the Patriots need a pass rusher, and the offensive line could use some depth. Thankfully, the Patriots will have a good piece of the near-$60 million in cap space still available to them after acquiring Watson. With Watson in place, top free-agent receivers may be willing to come to New England. The same could be said for defensive players and offensive linemen who believe in Watson’s ability to lead and win.
While New England would be giving up a handsome number of draft assets, they would still have 8 selections in 2021 to help to plug some of those gaps as well. While the price is steep, if this is at all a conceivable deal for the Patriots, they would be fools not to jump all over it.