Home | Articles | Column | New York Jets can’t afford to sell the farm for Deshaun Watson

New York Jets can’t afford to sell the farm for Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson
Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

Joe Douglas and the New York Jets cannot afford to sell the farm for disgruntled Houston Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson.

OK. Now we venture into the tricky phase of the Deshaun Watson noise.

Prior to this very moment, it was acceptable to say the New York Jets should do anything to land the disgruntled Houston Texans stud quarterback. The position is the most important in sports, and why not get the offseason party started with a pro-Watson sentiment?

Today, the evils of such a motive come to light, as every pro-Houston individual looks to drive up the price. This simply means Joe Douglas‘s job becomes that much more difficult.

The Houston Chronicle’s John McClain recently informed everybody what the Houston Texans are looking for in return.

McClain laid out a price of two first-round picks, two second-round selections and two young defensive starters, at least. Others have suggested four or even five first-rounders will be required to snag Watson.

There’s only one thing to say: Have we lost our minds? The Jets cannot afford to sell the farm for this quarterback. And what McClain just laid out qualifies as “the farm.”

Firstly, what’s important to remember is this fact: Not all first-round picks are created equal. Everybody continues to throw around phrases such as “three firsts and a second” or “four firsts and a young defensive starter.”

Such generalities mean nothing. Not all first-round picks are created equal—as discussed when the Matthew StaffordJared Goff swap happened Sunday.

The Jets potentially including the No. 2 pick changes everything. Just how many first-round picks is the No. 2 selection worth?

Jimmy Johnson‘s NFL draft value chart puts No. 2 at 2,600 points. No. 32 is worth just 590. That means, for all you math or non-math majors, at least four No. 32s are needed to even come close to equaling the value of No. 2.

The No. 2 pick’s involvement should mean no more than two other first-rounders should be included, sans any young player such as Quinnen Williams or Mekhi Becton. Sam Darnold can be involved, as can a second or third-round pick. No. 2 and No. 23 both carry incredible value based on the positioning and the timing—as a current draft pick is head and shoulders more valuable than a future one.

No. 2, No. 23 and a 2022 first-round pick should only be accompanied by Darnold and maybe a third-rounder. No. 2, a 2022 first-round pick and 2023 first-round pick would need a bit more in the package, perhaps two 2s or a 2 and a 3.

Quinnen Williams needs to be a non-starter. Mekhi Becton also should be a non-starter.

This isn’t the NBA.

As much as the media world (and social media world) would love to turn the NFL into the NBA—with its highlight-only-watching young demographic increasing—the two sports couldn’t contrast more.

The quarterback’s importance is obvious. But as critical as that position may be, it cannot begin to touch the NBA superstar’s value. What a LeBron James does for an NBA franchise is nearly laughable. He, alone, can take a 20-win team and turn it into a 60-win team. His absence does the reverse.

Watson is not LeBron. He’s an excellent quarterback who deserves to be included in the top five of the league at his position, but what’s his real worth?

The 2020 Texans won four games. They also won just four games in 2017. Over the last four seasons, Watson’s franchise is 29-35. Even the great quarterback can’t do enough damage to overcome any situation—unlike the NBA star.

Even the man many call the “most talented quarterback ever” can’t lift a team to greatness if the other pieces aren’t in place. Aaron Rodgers‘s one Super Bowl ring is something that would never happen to a LeBron.

<a rel=

It wouldn’t even happen to another guy who plays Watson’s position, Tom Brady, a man who finds himself in the Super Bowl for a 10th time. And yeah, even Brady needs a team around him, but Watson isn’t even Brady. Is he even Peyton Manning? Both Brady and Manning oozed value in a way that forces their respective teams to at least consistently make the playoffs. Watson’s done it two of four seasons thus far.

Perhaps “selling the farm” is worthwhile when a man makes the laughable impact routine. I’m not so sure that’s the case when thinking about Watson.

Recklessness needs to be avoided.

Dishing out No. 2, No. 23, a 2022 first-round pick and Quinnen Williams package hurts the Jets more than it helps them. Sure, they’d have Watson, a headline-grabbing player that’ll surely drum up excitement. But how will the future be built?

Douglas would still have a second and two thirds in the upcoming draft. He’d also still have a first, a second and two thirds in 2022. With Big Q gone, that interior stud would need to be found again.

An elite cornerback, two serious edge rushers, at least one legitimate play-maker and a couple of dominant offensive linemen would still be needed. Suddenly, the flexibility Douglas once enjoyed would be gone. Douglas couldn’t afford to miss on any of his premium picks in a league that routinely sees good talent evaluators miss.

Additionally, his salary-cap maneuverability would be decreased. In Douglas’s world, free agency can never be viewed as the top part of team-building. It’s the cherry on top of the already-built roster that came mainly from the draft. (Anybody who paid attention last offseason would already realize that.)

Giving up too much for Watson and going crazy in free agency is simply not an option. It’s not a legitimate team-building strategy that yields consistency. Think of that situation as one that could produce several good seasons and another several that totally miss the mark—sort of how the Texans’ last four seasons have unfolded. You know, the same team who now finds itself in a disastrous salary-cap situation.

The Jets’ personnel holes are drastic. The team’s depth is nonexistent. A coaching upgrade can drastically change fortunes over a short period of time, but rushing into a headline-grabbing move while relenting too much won’t help the organization reach its long-term goals.

New York Jets, Jets X-Factor

In 2011, the Denver Nuggets sent “star player” Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. The first picture-perfect night included “I’m Coming Home” and a whole lot of pomp and circumstance. Great. Where did it get them in the end?

Anthony, the soon-to-be free agent, could have signed with the Knicks the following year while they kept every asset. Instead, a load of assets was sent to Denver. The Knicks produced one tremendous season in the Melo era, as it became clear that Melo was no LeBron. His “star” status was greatly overrated.

The Jets and Watson cannot make the same mistake. Watson’s no-trade clause looms large in a way that’ll help his new team find more value in the deal. And obviously, Watson won’t want his new team to give up more than it has to.

Two firsts (including No. 2) and two seconds work. Three firsts (including No. 2 and No. 23) with Darnold as an option also works. Three firsts (including No. 2, 2022 first-rounder and 2023 first-rounder) plus a second and a third also works.

Anything past that should be a no-go. The No. 2 pick is incredibly valuable and allows the Jets to work under salary-cap freedom that comes when paying a rookie quarterback. Yes, quarterbacks are important, but perhaps not as important these days. If Jared Goff, Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Foles, Joe Flacco, Cam Newton and even Matt Ryan can get to Super Bowls, perhaps we need to reevaluate how important quarterbacks are in a salary-cap world that greatly favors the organization with the affordable rookie quarterback contract.

Go ahead and get him, just don’t sell the farm. The number of draft picks, salary-cap space and rookie contract benefits that come with the No. 2 pick equals a tried and tested NFL formula that began with the Seattle Seahawks a decade ago.

The New York Jets are still not ready for primetime. Deshaun Watson would be a tremendous thing but not at the cost of grinding the program to a near halt.

Want More Jet X?

Subscribe to become a Jet X Member to unlock every piece of Jets X-Factor content (film breakdowns, analytics, Sabo with the Jets, etc.), get audio versions of each article, receive the ability to comment within our community, and experience an ad-free platform experience.

Download the free Jet X Mobile App to get customizable notifications directly to your iOS (App Store) or Android (Google Play) device.

Sign up for Jet X Daily, our daily newsletter that's delivered to your inbox every morning at 8:00 a.m. ET.

Add Jets X-Factor to your Google News feed and/or find us on Apple News to stay updated with the New York Jets.

Follow us on X (Formerly Twitter) @jetsxfactor for all the latest New York Jets news, Facebook for even more, Instagram for some of the top NY Jets images, and YouTube for original Jets X-Factor videos.

Related Articles

About the Author

More From Author


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 years ago

So many discussions of picks being used in a trade ignore the depreciation of more distant picks, as well as their expected location within the round (which Robby did a great job explaining above). The long-time standard is that for every year deferred, the traded pick’s net present value loses one round. So a 2022 R1 is really equivalent to a 2021 R2. The Rams gave Detroit a 2022 R1 and 2023 R1. Those are effectively worth late R2 and R3 picks in the upcoming draft. It’s NOT an impressive haul for Stafford by any means, especially when you consider where the Rams will probably be picking in 2022-23 with Stafford aboard (late 20’s most likely). The Jets’ #2 and 23 overall picks are worth SO MUCH MORE than those two picks! I’m sure this is not lost on JD. I am confident he will make a fair offer for Watson but will not squander all the draft ammo he has so painstakingly accumulated. He knows the value of what he has. Only Miami can come close to it, but that #2 overall literally trumps everything.

3 years ago

From your keyboard to JD’s ears, Robby! LOL 100% agree!

Cody Emerson
Cody Emerson
3 years ago

Great article. I think the Texans (and McClain) are just finally accepting that they will need to trade Watson. No one is going to trade that much for Watson. However I would do 2 first and 2 seconds, especially if we could separate it per year (#2 this year and then another next year) and same with our seconds.

Sean Bird
Sean Bird
3 years ago

Texans are talking big because they are desperate to get something big in return of Watson. After the smoke clears, Watson will be traded for surprising less than expected since the Jets hold all the cards not the Texans. We hold a franchise QB pick, and it is valued as much the Eagles-Browns trade which is the standard here which is 2 1sts, 1 2nd, 1 3rd, and 1 4th. If Watson wants out, the situation is really the Texans are trading for #2 pick as much us trading for Watson (I am not saying that is just the #2 pick will be traded in this situation, but the #2 pick holds extra value). Darnold is the wildcard since it is possible that Darnold gets traded for a late 1st since there are teams like the Saints, Bears, Steelers, and etc. might roll the dice since their 1st round pick is close to being a 2nd round pick. JD got 2 1sts, 2 3rds, McDougald, and a 5th between the Leo and Adams trades, and Houston still has the guy that did the Cooks trade and Hopkins trade.

Dark Demonik
3 years ago

Good luck Texans not even Watson is worth that much. Only Maholmes or Brady in his prime are worth that type of package. The Texans are insane