With the Houston Texans’ head-coaching search moving at the pace of an unmotivated turtle, buzz continues to build regarding Deshaun Watson’s future with the franchise. Or in the cases of most rumors that have emerged this January, his future after leaving the franchise via trade.
There figures to be no shortage of teams that will inquire about trading for Watson. But because Watson wields no-trade power, he could help dictate where he goes. To that end, Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero hears Watson has some specific preference: the New York Jets, then the Miami Dolphins. In that order.
“Watson this week told people the Jets are his top preference among the teams he’d like to be traded to because they hired Robert Saleh to be their coach and Watson values Saleh so much he wanted the Texans to interview him for their vacant head coach job,” Salguero writes.
Considering the Bears emerging as a sleeper in the Watson sweepstakes and buzz linking them as an interested party, this is a bummer. Although, it’s so early in the process, I’m not allowing myself to fall too far down that rabbit hole. But while we’re here, let’s discuss why this is coming to light right now.
If you’ll recall, the root of Watson’s beef with the Texans’ organization is his lack of involvement in the team’s offseason GM and coaching searches.
And for what it’s worth, PFT’s Mike Florio reports Watson recommended Saleh for an interview (it ultimately never happened). In other words, I can see why the Jets line up as a potential landing spot. Further driving things in New York’s favor is the team’s tradable assets. The Jets have the second overall pick, another first-rounder (from the Jamal Adams trade), and 2018 first-round quarterback Sam Darnold.
Then again, the Dolphins also have two first-round picks and 2020 first-round quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to dangle in a deal. And in that vein, it’s probably no coincidence the Jets and Dolphins are floating around as Watson’s preferred destinations. There’s no way it’s just a coincidence the two teams with the most assets are seen as the top destinations.
In the end, it looks like two AFC East teams are holding the big-money cards at the table this offseason. There could be a winning hand elsewhere. Watson is a football unicorn. He is an elite quarterback entering his prime and under contract for the forceable future. And because of that, I don’t think the Jets and Dolphins will be alone in the running.