NY Jets: Can the team afford to play the waiting game for Deshaun Watson?

NY Jets, Deshaun Watson (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
NY Jets, Deshaun Watson (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

Many NY Jets fans are holding out hope that their team will trade for superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson.

There are so many questions surrounding Watson’s availability. When it comes to the Jets’ franchise, the question is, are they willing to play the waiting game at the quarterback position?

At the moment, the Houston Texans are not shopping Watson, nor are they fielding trade offers. Although, as expected, and to no one’s surprise, reports indicate that they’ve received plenty of calls.

Reports indicate that the Jets have been among the many teams who have reached out to the Texans. Here’s what we know so far.

Deshaun Watson wants out, and he’s made clear his desires to Houston of no longer wanting to play for them and has demanded a trade, but the Texans are not budging. A dangerous game of Russian roulette is shaping up.

Recent reports suggest that the Texans are planning on not trading Watson and are willing to ride this out all the way through the draft and until training camp in the summer.

The Texans are planning on calling Watson’s bluff of potentially sitting out the entire 2021 season if he doesn’t get traded. Under his current contract, Houston holds Watson’s rights until 2026.

With this scenario in mind, One of the major questions surrounding this situation is how committed Jets general manager Joe Douglas is to making a Deshaun Watson trade happen.

His long-term plan at quarterback and patience could be tested or altered if Houston holds firm on not trading Watson in the coming months.

With free agency on the horizon and the draft a little over two months away, can the Jets afford to hold off on making a long-term decision at quarterback in the hopes that Watson eventually becomes available through trade?

How long do they wait for Houston to change their position?

The Texans are not the only team taking a dangerous gamble at their quarterback spot. The teams that are interested in acquiring Watson are also in on the risk. Some teams may decide to move on from the idea of obtaining Watson if Houston doesn’t make him available by late April.

Potential suitors could move on and opt to draft a franchise quarterback instead. The Jets included.

Let’s accept the present-day scenario that Houston doesn’t trade Watson before the 2021 NFL Draft in late April. So many questions emerge.

Does that change the Jets offseason plan at quarterback? What do Joe Douglas, Robert Saleh, and their staff decide to do? Do the Jets pass on drafting a quarterback in the hopes that a deal for Watson can happen down the line?

After all, it’s a significant risk because there’s no guarantee that Watson gets traded at all. Or that the Jets would win out on a potential bidding war, despite having significant draft capital to entice Houston. Even if picks from the 2021 draft are not included.

Let’s look at this from all angles and the Jets’ point of view. Depending on how you approach this, time can be both a friend and enemy to the Jets if Houston stands pat on their current position.

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The NY Jets trading for Deshaun Watson after the 2021 NFL Draft

On the surface, this appears to favor the Jets. It’s a ‘having your cake and eating it too’ scenario. The Jets get to keep their plethora of picks and bolster their roster in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Many of the teams that would’ve been in on Watson in a bidding war (Miami, New England, Carolina, Chicago, Washington, Denver, San Francisco, etc.) will have presumably moved on with other long-term quarterback options.

The Jets can then present an offer to Houston for Deshaun Watson (provided that the Texans finally come to the trade table), which could include 2022-2024 draft capital. Gang Green has two first-round picks in next year’s upcoming draft at their disposal thanks to Jamal Adams.

In the meantime, the Jets can present a more enticing option to Watson and his camp by significantly bolstering a roster through free agency and the draft, which as it stands today, is one of the weakest in the NFL.

Houston not trading Watson before the 2021 NFL Draft could benefit the Jets if they are willing to hedge their bets at quarterback and revisit the possibility later this offseason.

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The Deshaun Watson or bust scenario

The catch to this scenario is that for the Jets to stay in play for Watson this summer, they will have to bypass selecting a quarterback in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

That’s because it’s implausible that the Jets would draft a Zach Wilson/Trey Lance/Justin Fields and then trade one of them for Watson later in the year.

Once Joe Douglas pulls the trigger on drafting a potential franchise quarterback, the Deshaun Watson dream dies immediately.

If they bypass drafting a QB, the fallback option for New York is hanging on to Sam Darnold in 2021, in case Watson does become available later this year.

In theory, the Jets could still decide to trade Sam Darnold for draft capital and then bypass the upcoming draft class at quarterback, but where would that leave the franchise in 2021 at their most important position?

It’s doubtful that the Jets would sign a one-year bridge quarterback like C.J. Beathard to hold the fort until Watson or a long-term answer becomes available down the road.

In this unlikely scenario, the Jets would be gambling that they are locks to get Watson and that he wouldn’t be traded to any other team. It’s not a gamble that the franchise is going to take.

So, the likelihood is that if the Jets have their eyes set on still acquiring Watson post-draft, that  Sam Darnold stays.

The kicker is that the Jets don’t have to decide on their current starting quarterback Sam Darnold until May. That’s when the Jets’ brain trust will have to decide if they want to pick up Darnold’s fifth-year option for the 2022 season.

Until then, the Jets don’t have to decide and can wait as long as they want. As a matter of fact, the Jets could, in theory, hang on to Darnold in case they don’t acquire Watson. Or even potentially, flip Darnold to Houston in the deal to get Watson.

Would the NY Jets play the waiting game for Deshaun Watson?

The presumption is that none of these potential scenarios will come into play because Houston will eventually come to their senses, make a trade before the draft, and do what’s right for Deshaun Watson, and ultimately, and most importantly, what’s right for their franchise.

The teams that are in on Watson are banking on cooler heads prevailing and that the Texans won’t opt for the “cutting your nose off to spite your face” strategy.

Whichever way this shakes out in the coming weeks and months.

The Jets’ fanbase is going to get their answers on the Deshaun Watson situation soon. Perhaps it could all come to a head on the day of the draft.

Next. NY Jets: 3 obstacles standing in the way of Deshaun Watson

Jets fans are used to waiting for greatness because the answer to their never-ending search for a transformative franchise quarterback and a winning organization has eluded them for a very long time.