I’ll start by saying that this, without question, almost definitely won’t happen. The number of unlikely pieces that need to fall into place for something as ludicrous as this to happen pretty much guarantees it’s just offseason speculation article fodder.
...But I’m a Chiefs fan, so when you present a worst-case scenario, my instinct is to fret about it until it doesn’t happen.
Deshaun Watson wants out of Houston. That’s probably an understatement. He wants out of Houston so badly he’d embrace a trade to the Jets. He’s a generational talent stuck in a comically incompetent organization that has zero draft capital to begin to even consider mulling over a passing thought of attempting to build a team of remotely fieldable talent around him. This has Watson so frustrated he’s demanded to be traded, which will inevitably cost whichever team he lands with the exact amount of draft capital the Texans don’t have.
Aside from the Jets, another dumpster team has come up as dark horse Watson-sweepstakes contender: the Denver Broncos.
The Broncos do not have near the trade-ammo the Jets or Dolphins have, and yet their name keeps popping up and it makes me nervous. I’d much rather the Texans cap off their multi-year campaign of lightspeed idiocy by trading Watson to the Dolphins to, in part, receive the No. 3 overall pick they traded to the Dolphins in the first place.
Then, just when I’m getting used to feeling anxious and gross about Watson being a Bronco, Russell Wilson thinks that maybe not being a Seahawk could be kinda chill. But, like, he’s not asking for a trade. Even though no one but him has used the t-word, he just wants to make sure everyone knows if one were to happen, he wouldn’t be super opposed, and he’s even made a list of teams just in case.
One of the four teams on Wilson’s alleged "I’m not saying I wanna be traded, I’m saying these are the places I’d want to be traded if I was, in fact, traded" list is the Las Vegas Raiders. You can see how this compounds the Watson issue.
The Chiefs were supposed to have a stranglehold on the AFC West for the next 15 years. Remember when the rest of the AFC East realized who Tom Brady was? They basically gave up for 20 years. Outside of Rex Ryan, everyone in that division behaved like they knew their ceiling in seasons where Brady’s knee didn’t explode was a Wild Card spot.
I don’t remember an offseason in the mid-00s where we were suddenly beset by rumblings that the Jets, Bills, and Dolphins could be trading for Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Carson Palmer.
This isn’t how these things are supposed to go. The rest of the AFC West was just supposed to lay down and die peacefully, not start hurling unprecedented trade rumors for generational quarterbacks in an attempt to create a division from hell that no quarterback will escape better for having experienced.
A division of Mahomes, Watson, Wilson, and Justin Herbert would be the greatest quarterbacking division in the history of football. I’d still trust Mahomes would win the division more often than not, but it’d never be easy and it’d virtually guarantee the death of a dynasty before it even began.
The Chiefs would have to scrape and claw and struggle for every division title, and almost assuredly that would cost them a first-round bye nearly every year. Instead of being a playoff prerequisite, there’d be multiple years where they’d be beaten and battered into missing the playoffs entirely.
All of which would be great for the NFL. The watchability of the league would somehow reach even higher levels. A promise of 12 games a year where three (and, if Herbert develops as it seems he will, four) of the top five quarterbacks in the league face off with serious playoff implications? Sheesh.
The thought of it makes me sick. Mahomes already has Herbert to deal with. He’s supposed to be on the Tom Brady/Peyton Manning path. He’s supposed to be facing a constant rotation of J.P. Losman, Jay Fielder, Geno Smith, Billy Volek and David Carr. Instead, you’re telling me the Raiders might trade David’s little brother to get Mr. Unlimited? The embarrassment of watching my team violently soil its pants in the Super Bowl is still fresh; I don’t need this.
It’s dumb to even worry about it, right? Watson is going to be, I don’t know, a Panther or a Dolphin. And Wilson is going to stay in Seattle. None of this is going to happen. There's definitely not historical precedent made up of decades of events suggesting the Chiefs are cursed to never having a good time. No, it definitely can't be that.