There are plenty of reasons to think the New York Jets are better positioned than the Miami Dolphins to acquire Deshaun Watson.
New York Jets fans are drunk. They collectively entered that state the moment Robert Saleh agreed to become the team’s next head coach. And although I’m positive a good portion of the fanbase has dipped its toes in the legitimate alcoholic pastime over the last week, this collective “drunk state” is applied in a figurative fashion. (Jet X condones neither the “fun drunk uncle at a party” nor the “throw one too many down at the tailgate” form of inebriation.)
Just understand that “drunk” in this case equals “ecstasy” at this given moment in Jets history. How a two-win team changed its fortunes in a way that the sky is now suddenly the limit has fans falling over one another in domino fashion.
And why not? Loaded with tremendous draft capital and cap space, Joe Douglas at the helm means the organization is in good hands. An actual football-mind who understands value and the rigors of the hard salary cap is running the show.
The Deshaun Watson conversation represents the most recent aspect of this new-found fan state. Unhappy with the Houston Texans, Watson’s business manager (marketing agent), Bryan Burney, hasn’t been able to help himself over the last week or so. Liking any Watson-to-the-Jets social media content, the quarterback’s business team has only ramped up the possibility.
As of now, the ball is in Watson’s court. His no-trade clause gives him incredible power over the situation. If he says he wants to play for just one team, what are the Texans to do? That one team would immediately hold an incredible advantage in negotiations.
If he gives Houston options, things get interesting, and it’s here that conventional wisdom leads most to believe another team has an advantage over the Jets.
The Miami Dolphins are that team. Finishing 10-6 this past season, Brian Flores‘s squad is clearly on the right path. A better tax and weather situation only adds to the organization’s advantages.
Interestingly, that’s probably where the advantages end. There are plenty of reasons to think the Jets hold the advantage over their AFC East rivals.
The No. 2 pick means the world
There isn’t much difference between the No. 2 and 3 picks. In fact, the difference is just one spot. Now that the obvious has been painfully stated, let’s dig a bit deeper.
The Texans would need to immediately solve their quarterback problem if Watson is traded, which means that one spot is drastic in the grand scheme of things. This was one of the many things mentioned by Kyle Smith on the latest edition of Blewett’s Blitz.
Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields and Zach Wilson sit atop the draft board at the position. Owning the No. 2 pick instead of the No. 3 pick means the world when quarterback is the goal. Of course, Houston would be guaranteed one of the three if they snagged the No. 3 pick from the Dolphins, but having a choice at No. 2 is big-time.
Deshaun Watson wanted his current employer to interview now-Jets head coach Robert Saleh, per Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. It didn’t happen. Neither did his wish of an Eric Bieniemy interview—at least initially. Houston has since brought Bieniemy in for a chat.
Not only did Watson want Saleh, but former Saleh players such as Richard Sherman are outright telling the kid to get to New York.
Forget figuratively drunk; Jets fans are now figuratively falling over one another in a “stumbling down the hallway” fashion.
What’s not known is how Watson feels about Fins head coach Brian Flores. He could be just as easily impressed with him as he is Saleh. But hey, nothing about Watson’s wishes via Flores currently exist in the ether.
Do the Texans actually want to acquire the third-overall pick, a selection that’s their own? This is where human nature oftentimes contrasts with objective dealmaking.
It has to be tough to reacquire the same pick that was originally your own.
Recent history has seen the Texans get … well, fleeced on a couple of occasions. There was the DeAndre Hopkins trade that saw them recoup just a second-round pick, a fourth-round pick and running back David Johnson. Houston even dished out a fourth-rounder along with Hopkins.
Prior to that, Houston made a deal with Miami that featured this No. 3 overall pick. The Texans acquired offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, wide receiver Kenny Stills, a 2020 fourth-round pick and a 2021 sixth-round pick in exchange for a 2020 first-round pick, a 2021 first-round pick (the No. 3 overall pick in question), a 2021 second-round pick, cornerback Johnson Bademosi and tackle Julie’n Davenport.
Tunsil, a dominant tackle who’s made two-straight Pro Bowl appearances in Houston, is a fine player. This trade is nowhere near the lopsidedness of the Hopkins deal. Still, human nature can easily play a role here in the idea that it would be a tough thing to swallow—to recoup that No. 3 overall pick when it was Houston’s to begin with.
Any Watson-to-Miami deal would have to include that third-overall pick. Nobody is claiming the Texans wouldn’t do it, but that familiarity is a consideration. Are there any hard feelings between the Texans and Dolphins?
The timing of the trade happened while the entire NFL world thought Miami was tanking the 2019 season for Tua Tagovailoa. Look at them now. After starting 0-7 a year ago, the Fins have won 15 of their last 25 games.
From a progress standpoint, the Dolphins have to be considered the favorites. There’s more talent in the building and the program seems to be one year ahead of the Jets. Then again, the Jets salary cap and draft capital situation are more abundant. The Jets own four first-rounders over the next two years as opposed to the Fins’ three.
A smart Watson would want to go to a team and not have them completely bare by the time he arrives. This means he properly utilizes his no-trade clause in order to ensure the minimal return heads to Houston in exchange for his services. List one team as the destination and keep it quiet as the two sides negotiate.
It could be the Jets. It could be the Dolphins. It could be another team altogether. But if it comes down to the Jets and Dolphins, it becomes very interesting.
Perhaps what it might boil down to is how the Texans view Tagovailoa and Sam Darnold. If Houston prefers Tua, the Jets’ No. 2 over No. 3 advantage becomes less important. If they prefer neither guy, the Jets might just be in the driver’s seat.
For now, the Jets fan can remain figuratively “drunk.” After many tough years, celebrating a bit is beyond warranted. Just understand that this Watson craziness must still be considered a longshot—in spite of the mouthwatering signs now seemingly witnessed on a daily basis.
If it does come down to these two organizations, from what we know right now, there are plenty of reasons to think the New York Jets hold the advantage over the Miami Dolphins. Does Deshaun Watson feel the same way?
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