1. JJ Watt
The Patriots can’t pass if JJ Watt becomes available via trade.
The Texans have quickly proven to be the laughingstock of the NFL this offseason, as they’ve managed to frustrate and isolate franchise cornerstones Deshaun Watson and JJ Watt to the point where it’s believed that both superstars have played their last snap for the organization.
While a trade for Watson is all but impossible for the Patriots, orchestrating a deal for Watt is definitely in the cards. Seeing as though the five-time Pro Bowler could be acquired for nothing more than a second-round draft pick and a fourth-rounder (or a conditional fifth-rounder), there simply isn’t a downside to New England pulling off a trade like this.
It’s worth noting that Watt has just one year remaining on his current deal, which will carry a $17.5 million cap hit for next season, so the Patriots will likely need assurance that he’d sign an extension with them. Assuming there isn’t a butting of heads in that department, we would absolutely sign off on New England acquiring the three-time Defensive Player of the Year.
From a numbers perspective, Watt had a down year for his standards, logging 52 tackles (14 for loss), five sacks, 17 quarterback hits, seven passes defended and four forced fumbles. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean he wasn’t wreaking havoc, as he finished with the seventh-highest grade for an edge defender (85.5) by Pro Football Focus.
The Patriots found it incredibly difficult to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks in 2020, and the addition of Watt would go a long way in terms of remedying that deficiency and giving the defense an entirely new identity. Who says no?