Thanks to the no-trade clause in his contract, Deshaun Watson can, like the Houston Chronicle put it on Thursday, “essentially choose his destination” as the quarterback tries to force the Texans to do what’s necessary to make him a non-Texan.
So, what’s the sales pitch for why Watson should choose Washington to be that next destination instead of, say, Miami, New York or somewhere else? Let’s try to make the best possible case.
Reason No. 1: Washington is not Houston
Can every other squad interested in Watson make this claim? Yep. Is this a potentially stupid way to start this article that may cause some to question its entire legitimacy? Also yep.
However, it’s more than obvious that Watson wants to get the hell away from the franchise that drafted him in 2017, and since the Football Team isn’t the Texans, they can offer him the chance for a fresh start and a landing spot where he’d be respected the way he wants to be.
OK, now for some additional factors.
Reason No. 2: Who wouldn’t want to play for Ron Rivera?
Rivera was beloved in Carolina and he’s just as revered at his second gig, if not more so after beating cancer and guiding the club to a division title in a pandemic-influenced season.
The guy is lauded for his consistency, professionalism and ability to connect with a locker room on more than football-related topics. For Watson, Rivera would act as a steady figure who’d bring the best out of him as he makes an enormous transition in his career.
Let’s also not forget the success Rivera had with his last dual-threat signal-caller in Cam Newton…
Reason No. 3: The Burgundy and Gold’s defense
Assuming — and this isn’t a lock, but let’s assume it for the sake of this story — Chase Young isn’t a part of this hypothetical swap to get Watson, Young and the rest of this defense would sure be an appealing unit for a passer to pair up with.
If Washington could convince the Texans to part ways with Watson by handing off a package of draft picks, then Jack Del Rio’s unit would be in a position to continue their ascension to the top of the NFL. Even if it’s a package of picks and, say, Jonathan Allen, the rest of the group could flourish further.
Watson on offense and Young and Co. opposite of him would represent a seriously good foundation to build an organization on.
Reason No. 4: That Terry McLaurin fella is pretty good
Watson and DeAndre Hopkins were well on their way to becoming one of the sport’s most dynamic duos — and then Bill O’Brien sent Hopkins out west for box of granola bars and some laundry detergent.
In McLaurin, Washington has a rising third-year pro who just put up 1,000 yards in a campaign where he had to catch balls from four different QBs. Can you imagine what his numbers would look like with someone like Watson chucking it around?
Should Watson tell Houston to ship him to the NFC East, those daydreams would turn into reality.
Reason No. 5: The division stinks
Speaking of the NFC East, Watson would feel right at home in that mediocre collection of teams after starting off his time in the pros as a member of the AFC South. No, the Jags aren’t in the mix, but there’s no one like the Titans stomping around, either.
Reason No. 6: The AFC is where all the studs at his position reside, and will reside for years to come
Think about it: Watson’s current conference, and the one where the Dolphins, Jets, Colts and others exist, is home to Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert and Baker Mayfield.
As for the NFC, Tom Brady’s gotta be wrapping up soon, right? Beyond Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan are winding down, too, and Russell Wilson is somehow already 32.
So, not only would Watson relocate to a similarly easy division, but he’d also be switching sides to a conference where he could conceivably be the man for the foreseeable future. More importantly, he wouldn’t be bumping into Mahomes in every conference championship appearance.
That’d be beneficial to his record and his brand.
Reason No. 7: This place is desperate for a hero
Washington is one of the sport’s most historic operations, has a devout fanbase and needs someone to excel under center.
If Watson arrives and stays on the track of production that he’s on, he’ll be worshipped here. After all, people are prepared to commission a statue for Taylor Heinicke after he ran around for a game and a quarter.
Watson’s statues would have statues if he delivered touchdowns and wins for the Football Team.