All the craze in the New York media and sports radio has been about Deshaun Watson. The Houston Texan quarterback wants to get traded and supposedly the New York Jets is his number one destination spot. As a Jet fan since 1964 and living through a lot more downs than ups, I would say this is not a good idea. When Sam Darnold fell into their lap with that third pick in the 2018 draft, Jet fans thought we had found their franchise quarterback. Two years of slow progress by Darnold were offset by a huge regression this year. Many say it was the coaching style of Adam Gase that stagnated Darnold’s growth. This is only partially true and Sam has got to share a lot of the blame. The lack of a good offensive line has not helped Sam Darnold. With that said I remember a stat I heard before the 2020 season that Sam Darnold is 7-1 when the offensive line gives him average or better than average protection. After the season I was ready to move on from him because of some of the same mistakes he makes over and over. Not throwing the ball away, running out of bounds for a loss, not seeing open receivers and interceptions that leave you shaking your head are all reasons why the Jets should move on from Sam Darnold. If you look deeper the long term benefit would be to keep Sam Darnold and build around him for the upcoming season. If the Jets were to trade for Deshaun Watson, the truckload of capital to get him in a trade is too much. Everyone knows that franchise quarterbacks do not come along every year and people say Deshaun Watson is a top five quarterback in the NFL. His stats are more than impressive. Take a look at some of those stats for the three time Pro-Bowler:

 Year    Compl. %    Yds     TD   INT  SK    Rush Yds.   QB Rec.

  2017       61.8      1699         19     8     19        269               3-3

  2018       68.3     4165         26     9     62       551               11-5

  2019       67.3      3852        26    12    44       413              10-5

  2020      70.2     4823        33     7     49       444             4-12

He has excellent numbers and the Jets have got to make a phone call and kick the tires with a player like this. But the question is the cost. Everything I hear is that for a team like the Jets the asking price is too much. A reputable Houston sports writer has been going around saying the Texans want the following for Deshaun Watson:

                   Two #1 draft picks

                   Two #2 draft picks

                   Two quality defensive starters 

This is way over the top especially for a team like the Jets with all the holes they need to fill. Many times teams or agents will leak out scenarios in the media for trades just to get a reaction and monitor it. There are many Jet fans, radio hosts and former general managers that say the Jets should make the trade at any cost. I’ve heard this from former Jet GM Mike Tannenbaum who I think is 100% wrong. The Jets have the second pick in this year’s draft and with the Jaguars locked in with Trevor Lawrence, make this pick incredibly valuable. The draft chart that shows a point value for each draft pick has this pick worth 2600 points. Let’s take a hypothetical that the Baltimore Ravens have four picks in the first round. The picks are #27 (680), #28 (660), #29 (640) and #30 (620). If you add up the points of these four first round picks, the total is exactly 2600. You can say that the Jets second pick in the draft can be worth four first round picks or even more.

  I’ve been through the Brett Favre and Tim Tebow fiascos. I want Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh to build a solid foundation first. Joe Douglas learned his trade from one of the best working under Ozzie Newsome. Trade down and accumulate picks. Right now the Jets have six selections in the top 98 picks of April’s draft:

Round 1 (#2)

Round 1 (#23)

Round 2 (#34)

Round 3 (#66)

Round 3 (#86)

Round 4 (#107)

Round 5 (#147)

Round 5 (#156)

Round 6 (#188)

  The 2021 draft is loaded with offensive linemen and wide receivers which are two of the Jets biggest needs. There has been talk already that many teams are interested in the Jets first pick. Rumors have the Atlanta Falcons as one of the teams that want that second pick.  If the Jets move down two spots, their take can be two #2 picks and a 3rd round pick. Looking at the first ten picks, there could be more teams that might want to trade up.

1. Jacksonville

2. Jets

3. Dolphins

4. Falcons

5. Bengals

6. Eagles

7. Lions

8. Panthers

9. Broncos

10. Cowboys

Looking at the list, the only team that may not consider moving up is the Miami Dolphins. My scenario would be for the Joe Douglas to move down once and maybe even twice. If I was GM I would be reluctant to move further down than  the number eight spot with the number ten pick being furthest I would go. Remember the Herschel Walker trade the Dallas Cowboys made with the Minnesota Vikings. At the time the Cowboys were one of the worst teams in the NFL in 1989. The Cowboys sent Walker to the Vikings for five players and six draft picks. The draft picks turned into players that included Emmitt Smith, Russell Maryland, Kevin Smith and Darren Woodson. The year of the trade the Cowboys were 1-15. The following year (1990) they were 7-9 but from 1991 through 1999 the Cowboys did not have a losing season and won three Super Bowls. Jimmy Johnson knew the value of draft picks and how to build a winning franchise. And a side note was that if the players in the trade didn’t play for the Cowboys, those would also turn into draft picks. And that is exactly what Jimmy did.

When the Philadelphia Eagles drafted Carson Wentz they had to move up twice to get him. Of course this worked out for the Eagles at the time but if you look at what they gave up to get him, you can see the value of the draft picks. When the Eagles Traded with the Dolphins to go from 13 to 8, only players were involved and the Dolphins received Bryon Maxwell and Kiki Alonso. But to move up to the second spot (the same spot the Jets are in this year) from eight, the Eagles gave the Cleveland Browns:

2016 #8 overall pick (1400 points) 

2016 3rd round pick 

2016 4th round pick 

2017 1st round pick

2018 2nd round pick

And now the Cleveland Browns are a playoff team and Carson Wentz days in Philly might be nearing an end. My point is, the draft picks the Jets have, and what they can leverage for more are like gold. Recently Adam Schefter stated that the over under for new starting quarterbacks for teams is eighteen. This is also good news for the Jets. In this year’s draft I count at least five quarterbacks that are sure to go in the first round: Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance and Mac Jones. And don’t be shocked if by draft day when many general managers go quarterback crazy that Kyle Trask, Jamie Newman and Kellen Mond sneak into the bottom of the first round.

Deshaun Watson may become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. But the reality is the New York Jets are more than a quarterback away from being a contender. Keep Sam Darnold at least one more year. Leverage the draft capital and set the franchise up for the next decade. This makes the most sense and now with Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh in place, solid drafts will eventually put the New York Jets back in the playoffs.

Marty Schupak has been a New York Jets football fan since 1964. Ray Clifford another lifelong fan contributed to this article. Their blog and Podcast are both at:


  1. Moe Unique on February 6, 2021 at 1:40 pm

    You mite have talked me into keeping Sam. Good article.

    • MARTY SCHUPAK on February 7, 2021 at 1:12 am

      Thanks for your comment. There really is no right answer. I’d be lying if I told you I would never consider Deshaun Watson. But listening to what people would to give up makes me crazy. The one thing I can tell you is I truly believe the Jets finally got it right with Douglas and Saleh. Go Jets!

      Marty Schupak

    • JOESCHMOE on March 1, 2021 at 12:20 am

      I completley agree but I wouldnt drop back past 7. I know many feel that a TE is not a need for the Jets but I see in Kyle Pitts an unmatchable weapon. At 6’6 240 he can play all the WR positions and in this offense we need a player that can attack the defense in the middle of the field and at all levels.
      Pitts destroyed his competition in the SEC the past 2 seasons and that included two of the top CBs in this years draft. I THINK PAIRING him with Mims would make our offense an explosive juggernaut.

      • MARTY SCHUPAK on March 1, 2021 at 1:37 am

        Hi Joeschmoe!
        Thanks for your comment! As far as dropping back in the draft, I see the demand waning just a little bit. Detroit I hear might want to trade down. And now i’m hearing Atlanta may want to trade down instead of trading up. All i know is right around draft time teams go quarterback crazy and I expect that to happen this year. It will get interesting. I too am really warming up to Kyle Pitts. Mel Kiper has him as his highest rated TE in 30 years. I also love Mims and need to see him 100% healthy. If they trade down to say 4 or 5, I’m good with them taking Pitts as long as we go offensive line with the second 1st rounder. It is getting close to fun time! Thanks Joeschmoe!

        Marty Schupak

  2. scionce on February 6, 2021 at 2:41 pm

    “… general managers that say the Jets should make the trade at any cost. I’ve heard this from former Jet GM Mike Tannenbaum…”

    It’d be foolish for anyone to consider the opinion of a former GM who traded for Tim Tebow when the Jets DESPERATELY needed a WR. Tandembum should have never even been provided a venue to display his less than mediocre ability as a talent evaluator.

    But more to the point, Watson won 4 games with a Texans roster that is INFINITELY better than the one the Jets fielded in 2020. So, mortgaging the ludicrous amount of draft capital AND the LIMITED supply of talent currently on the Jets roster for a QB (who UNDENIABLY has a better supporting cast in Houston) that managed ONLY 2 more wins than Darnold could actually make the team WORSE.

    • MARTY SCHUPAK on February 7, 2021 at 1:18 am

      Hi Scionce!
      I was not a Tannenbaum fan especially after his first few years. He did trade up to get Revis and David Harris but his other trade ups were a disaster. And adding the extra year to the contract of Mark Sanchez was stupid. He left the cupboard bare with very little depth.
      We are on the same page as far as keeping the draft capital. Though I’m very down on Sam like most, this GM will give him better support and Saleh and the west coast offense is more “Sam friendly” and he should do better. But I’d be surprised if Sam Darnold is the long term answer. Thanks for your comment!

      Marty Schupak

      • scionce on February 7, 2021 at 3:17 pm

        Same regarding Sam, but I’m also kind of encouraged by the fact that Lafleur will install a system that Darnold has technically already played in. During his rookie season, in which he finished the year as one of the top QBs in the league by QBR, Jeremy Bates ran the Shanahan offense. Though it was arguably a slightly more primitive (for lack of a better term) version than what the 49ers have been running since Kyle Shanahan became the HC, Jets fans ended 2018 with unbelievably high hopes for 2019 and beyond. So, perhaps a return to the system that Sam showed genuine promise in and actually took advantage of Darnold’s strengths might be exactly what he and the Jets need to pull a 180 sooner rather than later.

  3. Ricardo Betancourt on February 6, 2021 at 5:46 pm

    You may have changed my mind. I’ve been a fan since Broadway Joe, my most disappointing era was the resurgence beginning in ’77 under Walt Michaels. He was instrumental in spotting talent and created the teams that teased us for years, until he was unceremoniously fired for cursing out the front office for not being more forceful regarding the mud bowl, thank you Jim Kensil for setting us backwards. But what I’m saying is we have both sides to this coin, we can continue to build through the draft and free agency or trade for that once in a lifetime QB. The difference here, Walt was fired and we regressed under Walton, in this case we’re bringing in the leadership we believe can steer the organization. So I’ll concede and say, I trust Douglas with what he and Saleh decide and I’m liking what we’re hearing about Saleh. Let’s keep Sam if that’s their thinking.

    • MARTY SCHUPAK on February 7, 2021 at 1:22 am

      Hi Ricardo!
      Your mention of Jim Kensil ruined my day. But seriously my confidence hasn’t been this positive about a Jet coach and GM in years. Though I love keeping and adding draft capital I also will agree with the decision of Douglas and Saleh.
      Thanks for your comment. Go Jets!

      Marty Schupak

      • South Brooklyn Mike on February 28, 2021 at 12:11 am

        Good article and as a fan for almost same amount of time as you, I was relieved to see opinions like this. I share your same optimism on the GM and coach. Build depth of talent and give Sam a chance with an improved team and what I hope will be an offensive game planning capability that is smart and creative. I like the draft capital for more than the obvious need of o line and a need for another top receiver. The fastest way to get competitive again is have a defense that can keep them in games and an offense that plays smart. QBs play smarter when they aren’t running for their lives every play or down by two TDs.

        • MARTY SCHUPAK on February 28, 2021 at 2:11 am

          Hi South Brooklyn Mike!
          Thanks for your comment! On the surface it sounds great having Deshaun Watson or Russel Wilson starting at qB for the Jets. But looking at the Jets draft history in the last ten years, it is incredible how bad drafting can leave teams lacking talent and depth. We are both in agreement, build a solid foundation. Games are won in the trenches. Look at Mahomes running for his life in the SB and Trevor Lawrence under constant duress in the college semi-final game against Ohio State. It is so obvious to the eye, it is unbeleivable what fans and media want to give up for the Watson and Wilson. Get the foundation and if Sam doesn’t work out, then you move on and at least you are left with a solid line.

          Marty Schupak

  4. Tommy Stak on February 7, 2021 at 12:33 am

    You are giving us the impression that keeping draft capitol over a proven commodity is the way to go for the Jets this season. When have you seen the Jets make the correct picks over the last 10+ years with all the draft capitol they’ve had? Not since d’Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, and Chad Pennington did the Jets pick more than one great player in the same draft that high. This is Joe Douglas’s Draft Selection Class, that he will be most criticized over. If he doesn’t make the deal for Dashaun Watson, and his picks all become average players or worse he will be crusified and will ultimately be replaced, and the Jets start over again. What will the team then have to show for all the draft capitol they didn’t trade away for Dashaun? Trading those picks for a proven commodity, and getting average or above average players in the lower rounds to help fill holes will make Joe Douglas’s drafting skills look even better. Being able to locate talent in the later rounds is what makes a GM great. I say it’s a no brainier to make the deal and give this team the adrenaline injection it needs to get back to respectability. This is by no means any disrespect to Sam, I still believe in a new environment he will blossom into the QB we all thought he’d be. There is some draft capitol you can get back by trading him to a team that can give Sam that opportunity. I hope this brings some light as to why we as Jets fans need to see Daushan Watson wearing Green and White… J.E.T.S…Jets! Jets! Jets!

    • MARTY SCHUPAK on February 7, 2021 at 1:38 am

      Hi Tommy!
      You make some great points! But there is no 100% right answer. Look when the Eagles gave up that draft capital for Wentz and after his injury the draft picks would have been welcome. But I can also concede your side has merits and I agree GM’s earn their stripes after the second round. We all know Russel Wilson went in the 3rd, Dak went in the 4th, Brady the 6th. Even our Jets got Brad Smith, Leon Washington and Jericho Cotchery in the 4th round. And one of my personal favorites Richie Anderson in the 6th round. The weakness of the Jets (OL & WR) are the strengths of this year’s draft. The holes the Jets can fill is stunning and only if like you allude to they pick correctly. After Joe Douglas’ first draft I thought he did a good job and loved the way he accumulated picks. I’m happy to entertain getting Watson but Douglas has got to draw a line and stand by it. There is overpaying and really overpaying. Either way it looks like the weeks leading up to free agency and the draft will be fun. Thanks for your comment Tommy! Go Jets!

      Marty Schupak

      • scionce on February 7, 2021 at 3:03 pm

        Given Douglas’ albeit brief history as Jets GM, MAYBE he can pull off something like the following to acquire both Deshaun Watson and ensure the Jets still have a stockpile of picks in 2021 and beyond:

        1. Joe Douglas calls the Falcons and offers to swap places for Atlanta’s 1st & 2nd rd picks for 2021 & 2022.

        2. Douglas then offers Darnold to the 49ers/Colts for their 2021 2nd rd pick (a 1st if Adam Schefter is to be believed).

        3. Douglas then contacts Houston and offers ONE 1st round pick in each of the 2021, 2022 & 2023 drafts plus a 2022 3rd rd pick for Watson. 

        Jets get Watson and 7 picks (THREE picks in the 2nd rd) in the top 100.

        • MARTY SCHUPAK on February 7, 2021 at 6:03 pm

          Hi Scionce

          <<1. Joe Douglas calls the Falcons and offers to swap places for Atlanta’s 1st & 2nd rd picks for 2021 & 2022>>

          Great thought! It sounds a little too rich for the Falcons to give up.
          I think two #2’s and maybe a #3 is more realistic.

          2. Douglas then offers Darnold to the 49ers/Colts for their 2021 2nd rd pick (a 1st if Adam Schefter is to be believed).

          I like this and I’m not a betting man but I say exactly what you propose about Darnold is being looked into,

          3. Douglas then contacts Houston and offers ONE 1st round pick in each of the 2021, 2022 & 2023 drafts plus a 2022 3rd rd pick for Watson.

          I would entertain this but only if the 2021 is not the 2nd pick in the draft. Must be the Seattle pick. And the ’22 pick is Seattle’s pick. If it has to be sweetened for Houston, throw in a couple of 3’s.

          Jets get Watson and 7 picks (THREE picks in the 2nd rd) in the top 100.

          Great idea! Stay creative.
          Enjoy the game Scionce.

          Warmest Regards
          Marty Schupak

    • scionce on February 7, 2021 at 3:42 pm

      The major issue here is that, for all of his elite greatness, Deshaun Watson led the Texans to 4 wins in 16 games with an infinitely better roster than the one the Jets fielded in 2020. Only 2 Ws more than Darnold helped the Jets to and in 4 fewer games. So, if Watson is good for 4 games on a team that easily outclasses the Jets in terms of talent, how many Ws will he be good for on a lesser squad? QB may be the most important position on the football field, but football is considered the quintessential team sport for a very specific reason: one player can’t handle the responsibilities of 11 teammates all on his own. Talent at numerous, key positions beyond the QB is absolutely necessary to not only attain success, but also to sustain success in the NFL. Currently, the Jets are completely bereft of talent at numerous, key positions beyond the QB. And as a long suffering Jets fan I want much more than to call what could potentially be one 8-8 season “a success”. Also, Watson’s questionable arm strength may not be ideal for AFCE weather conditions.

      • MARTY SCHUPAK on February 7, 2021 at 6:18 pm

        Hi Scionce!

        I’m on the same page with everything you said. Though from some other people I speak to in the business who have seen Watson more than I have claim he is special. But I hate overpaying for one player. Should be interesting the way everything plays out.

        Enjoy the game Scionce.

        Warmest Regards
        Marty Schupak

        • scionce on February 8, 2021 at 2:26 pm

          I’ve heard the same, but I can’t help but think, “how special could he be if he couldn’t take a team with much, much more talent in the Texans to the playoffs and beyond?” And after giving up a boatload of assets to acquire him and thereby forfeiting the opportunity to inject a healthy dose of talent, how much of a difference maker will he actually be? Well, then some will point out how coaching can bring a world of difference to a player’s production and to that I’d ask, “then why can’t Sam Darnold be that player?”

          That said, I’m not completely sold that Darnold is the answer, but barring Trevor Lawrence there isn’t a draft eligible QB that I’d put ahead of Sam if the Jets had to play next Sunday. BUT put Darnold in a situation similar to what Sanchez had his first 2 yrs in the league with a top flight OL and weapons across the board (possible through FA and, more importantly, the numerous picks the Jets have in the top 100 selections), but in a system that exploits Sam’s talents. I feel that would yield better long term benefits than trading the farm for a “speacial” QB that hasn’t been able to make it happen on a better team. And if not for Kacy Rodgers’ bumbling defense, Darnold would have beat Watson and the Texans as a rookie.

Leave a Comment