Patriots: It might be time to panic if Jets trade for Deshaun Watson

(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images) /

There’s a real possibility that the New England Patriots could be the worst team in the AFC East come 2021. We wish we were exaggerating, but the latest Deshaun Watson rumors are really making it look like more and more of a reality.

ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reported on Sunday that there’s a growing feeling in Houston’s front office that Watson has played his last snap for the Texans. While there are plenty of teams out there that could trade for the former first-round pick, Schefter went ahead and made us realize that there’s no better destination right now than the New York Jets.

You’ve gotta be kidding, right? No matter who quarterbacks the Patriots in 2021, if Deshaun Watson is under center for the Jets, regardless of who else is on New York’s roster, they’d almost automatically be better than New England. And that’s really sad to think about.

Once upon a time, we thought the Patriots could be a landing spot for Watson, especially after the Texans hired Nick Caserio as their new general manager. But now that the situation has boiled over to the point where Watson is clearly done in Houston, the market competition will be through the roof.

And given the Jets’ positioning — they have the No. 2 pick and multiple first-rounders in 2021 and 2022 — they could easily get this done and then chase big ticket free agents with their plentiful cap space. Throw in Sam Darnold to give the Texans a quarterback to work with in the meantime, and perhaps that’s even more enticing to Caserio and Co.

What can the Patriots offer? Worse draft picks. Less talent. Any tradable pieces on New England’s roster (like Stephon Gilmore or N’Keal Harry) won’t be of any help for a Texans team looking to tear down and maximize long-term value for Watson.

It was entertaining for all of us to picture the Patriots trading for Watson, but it’s becoming less likely as the days go by, and now there’s a greater likelihood the Jets land him and surpass the Patriots in the AFC East in 2021.

How did this happen?