When the NFL trade deadline is approaching, the rumors and speculation around teams and players can vary from sensible to silly. I’d have to group one of the latest New England Patriots discussions as the latter.
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J.J. Watt? Really?
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The Athletic's Jeff Howe suggested the Patriots call the Houston Texans to gauge J.J. Watt's availability…. Here's what he tweeted: "If I'm the Patriots, I say screw it and call the Texans about J.J. Watt, just to see if he's available and what it'd cost." Do the Patriots really need a defensive lineman right now? #Patriots #NewEnglandPatriots #CamNewton #StephonGilmore #DevinMcCourty #JasonMcCourty #JoshMcDaniels #JCJackson #LawrenceGuy #ChaseWinovich #JoshUche #KyleDugger #JoeThuney #JamesWhite #DamienHarris #JarrettStidham #AdamButler #JJTaylor #DevinAsiasi #DaltonKeene #JulianEdelman #NKealHarry #GunnerOlszewski #DavidAndrews #BillBelichick #RobertKraft #AFCEast #AFC #NFL
It should be noted, Jeff Howe of the Athletic is one of the most respected NFL writers in the United States. He covers the Patriots and is usually on the money, or in the ballpark with his takes and content. However, this particular time, I found myself waiting for the punchline of what had to be a trade concept delivered as a joke.
If I'm the Patriots, I say screw it and call the Texans about J.J. Watt, just to see if he's available and what it'd cost.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) October 20, 2020
I checked the thread, and it appears Howe was serious, and I can’t understand why the Patriots would want to part with assets to acquire Watt.
This Trade Doesn’t Address a Major Need
A complete football novice can see that the Patriots’ biggest needs are on the offensive side of the ball. Whether it’s the obvious and often-repeated need for an elite wide receiver, a tight end who can make the team miss Rob Gronkowski a little less, or even some depth along the offensive line, New England needs someone who can help them move the ball more effectively.
This is no disrespect to Watt. His place in Canton, Ohio is secure, and the 31-year-old still has some life in his legs. He has three sacks this season and his next one will be the 100th of his illustrious career.
For everything he can offer as an interior lineman and defensive end, Watt doesn’t scratch the Patriots’ most bothersome itch. Because Watt’s name is one of the most prominent in trade talks approaching the November 3 deadline, there could be something of a bidding war for his services.
The Patriots would be foolish to part ways with assets–even for someone of Watt’s caliber–when it doesn’t address the primary need.
The Real Texans Trade Target
If the Patriots are open to a deal with the Texans, the man they should be targeting is speedy wide receiver Will Fuller V. Fuller not only possesses the kind of speed the Patriots’ offense desperately needs, he’s also in the final year of his contract and on pace for the best season of his career.
He has 28 catches for 455 yards and 4 TDs in just six games, and that includes a six-catch, 123-yard, one-TD performance against the Tennessee Titans in a losing effort on Sunday. Everything about Fuller screams Patriots trade target, and Patriots cap expert Miguel Bezan made this exact point earlier in the week.
So rather than looking at big names with less value, Pats nation keep your eyes peeled for a lower-cost option like Fuller to improve the team’s weakest area.
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