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.
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: