New England Patriots: Forget Watson, could a trade for J.J. Watt work?

J.J. Watt, Arizona Cardinals (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
J.J. Watt, Arizona Cardinals (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) /

Could JJ Watt, not Deshaun Watson, be the Houston Texans star that the New England Patriots end up pursuing a trade for in the 2021 offseason?

In what might become a busy offseason for many teams throughout the NFL, the New England Patriots could very well be in the middle of all of that leading into the 2021 season.

With many question marks still present on the Patriots depth chart with the offseason in full swing, there will no doubt be some pieces coming and going in New England in the coming months. The Patriots, however, have the flexibility to make some changes in personnel with their favorable salary cap situation at the current moment.

As the offseason kicked off, rumors began to swirl surrounding Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and his frustrations in Houston, with reports following stating he requested a trade from the Texans to get a fresh start elsewhere.

Although Patriots fans would love to have Watson under center for the 2021 campaign and into the future, New England might not have enough assets compared to other teams to package together to intrigue Houston enough to complete a deal.

Even though a hypothetical trade for Watson seems like more of a dream for the Patriots, there might be another Texans star that could be on the trade market if Watson does indeed end up elsewhere this offseason. That being Houston stud edge rusher J.J. Watt.

Since the conclusion of the 2020 season, Watt has expressed his displeasure with how things have gone in Houston and there have been recent reports from multiple NFL reporters stating Watt would likely want out of the Texans if the team’s franchise quarterback was traded away sparking a rebuild.

Does JJ Watt’s displeasure mean the New England Patriots could make the trade?

With Watson likely out of Houston, Watt would likely follow. And the trade market for the pass rusher would be rich much like it will be for the Texans’ star quarterback.

Watt, who turns 32 in March, wrapped up his 10th season in the NFL and with Houston in 2020. While appearing in all 16 games for the Texans, Watt finished the year with 52 combined tackles, 17 quarterback hits, 14 tackles for loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one interception returned for a touchdown.

In 2021, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, five-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro player will be entering the final year of his current contract and is slated to make roughly $17.5 million in the new year. But as mentioned earlier, money isn’t a huge issue for New England right now.

When it comes to a potential trade for Watt, there would be plenty of teams interested in making a deal for the veteran defensive lineman, and the price tag for him would likely include a few draft picks and perhaps a player — at the very least — with the draft picks being headlined by a top-two round selection.

The thing that could give Bill Belichick and the Patriots the edge in potential negotiations for Watt is the fact that they are familiar with the new general manager in Houston, that being Nick Caserio, who had been with the New England organization since 2001 until taking the Texans front office job this offseason.

There is no doubt the Patriots will be in the market for a pass rusher this offseason, as they averaged just 1.5 sacks per game last season which ranked 27th in the NFL. They also have a handful of defensive lineman set to hit the free agent market this offseason.

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Even though New England would love to try and get Watson to lead the team both on the field and off in 2021 and beyond, perhaps the Patriots could end up swinging a deal for another star Texans player in Watt before the new year kicks off.