The Jets have a big decision to make at the quarterback position this offseason.
Does New York build around Sam Darnold as he enters his fourth season in the NFL? Alternatively, do the Jets start anew with the No. 2 pick in the draft, adding a top prospect in Zach Wilson or Justin Fields?
It's safe to say general manager Joe Douglas and new head coach Robert Saleh have plenty of routes they can take as an organization over the next several months.
What if there was another option?
Deshaun Watson reportedly wants out of Houston. While several teams wouldn't hesitate to trade for the Texans' star quarterback, no matter the cost, this NFL insider believes the Jets are in the best position to make a deal.
"There’s no team out there better positioned than the New York Jets to put together a compelling trade package for Deshaun Watson," ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, Schefter reported that "people in and around the Texans’ organization [feel] that Deshaun Watson has played his last snap for the team." Watson's frustration with the organization that drafted him in 2017 has grown to new heights this year, boiling over amid Houston's general manager and head coaching search.
The reason New York is in a tremendous position to trade for a star like Watson is draft capital. Not only do the Jets have the second pick in this year's draft, but the organization boasts nine total selections in this year's draft and a slew of picks in the early rounds over the next several years. Not to mention the fact that New York has plenty of cap space to afford Watson and surround him with weapons.
By adding Watson, the Jets wouldn't immediately be a contender. They still need to address weaknesses across their roster, a roster that won only two games this season. There's no question, however, that Watson—one of the best quarterbacks in the league—would accelerate New York's rebuild toward contention.
In 2020, Darnold was one of the worst in the NFL and hasn't been able to develop over his first three seasons in the league. Watson, meanwhile, has been to three Pro Bowls in four years and led all quarterbacks this season in yards (4,823). Watson threw 33 touchdown passes this year—to Darnold's nine—and had the second-best passer rating in the NFL (112.4).
It would take quite a few picks to convince Houston to agree to a deal for Watson. Surely the No. 2 pick of this year's draft would be involved, but that wouldn't be nearly enough. Remember, it took two first-rounders to haul in Jamal Adams when Seattle traded with New York last summer, in addition to a starting safety.
The Jets can also recoup capital by trading Darnold, who they wouldn't need anymore if Watson is going to be their new quarterback. Perhaps New York could even add an additional first-rounder this spring in a trade for Darnold.
Watson has a no-trade clause in his contract, meaning he can pick his destination. Whether or not the Clemson product would like to play for Gang Green remains to be seen. After all, there are other teams closer to contention that could be in the market to trade for Watson (possibly the Dolphins or 49ers).
Then again, Watson reportedly wanted the Texans to interview Saleh for their head coaching vacancy. Houston never requested an interview with Saleh and the former 49ers defensive coordinator ended up with the Jets.