At least 15 teams could be looking to upgrade their Quarterback room and you have a franchise Quarterback in their mid 20’s and his prime possibly on the trade-block. Franchise Quarterbacks becoming available are rare. Even rarer are those who are entering their prime and healthy. Finally, a cornerstone piece at that position available via trade because a feud rarely happens.
So you should strike while the iron is hot right? Not so fast, my friend! There are some things to consider.
How do you build a successful franchise that is hopeful of a world championship? You start by building the foundation and that is through the draft. Each year your General Manager and his team of scouts play the analytics of drafting a combination of cornerstone and role players.
Although there is no guarantee for any given player, typically your early rounds produce starters with some superstars sprinkled in. You can find a diamond in the rough in the later rounds, though it is rare. Most importantly, draft capital is less expensive on the salary cap and gives the teams leverage for a longer period of time, as opposed to free agency.
Arguably the most exciting method to improving a team is through free agency. It is the modern-day building of a potential “dream team”, an often-used attempt at a shortcut to improve win-loss results immediately. USA Today columnist, Steven Ruiz came up with four traits or methods to how teams approach free agency:
Active Spenders: Teams who consistently go into free agency and spend top dollar for big-name free agents.
Selective Spenders: These teams are a little more selective in whom they target, yet they do not hesitate to make a high-profile signing.
Bargain Hunters: These teams are active in free agency, but they look for the third and fourth-tier level free agents or those players whose value unexpectedly dropped during the free agency period. These teams very rarely make a splashy signing.
Inactive: These teams do almost all their off-season upgrades through the draft and post-draft, with undrafted signees.
Trading for DeShaun Watson will almost assuredly make that franchise a major player in free agency, because of the amount of draft capital needed to convince the Texans to part with him. It will require Watson to become a stellar recruiter and part of the sales team to pitch free agents for an estimated four or five years.
Teams that should avoid trade talks
Taking into account the methods to building a competitive franchise, these are the teams that should steer clear of entering potential trade talks with the Texans for Watson:
Kansas City: You have arguably the best Quarterback in the league. Figure out how to find some defense.
The entire AFC South Division: This franchise has made several grave errors in the front office, but they are not that incompetent to trade Watson within their own division. It is pointless and a waste of time for the Colts, Jags, or Titans to pick up the phone and call.
Baltimore: Lamar Jackson is the franchise. Give him weapons at the skill positions and they will be one game away every year from a Super Bowl visit.
Buffalo: Josh Allen is a legend in Buffalo already this early into his career. Plus, outside Buffalo, I’m not convinced anyone outside Buffalo would really look to mortgage their future for him.
Seattle: Russell Wilson hasn’t missed the playoffs or a game. He is carrying the franchise. Watson proved last year in Houston that he is not at that level yet. Stay put.
Green Bay: Next to Mahomes, Rodgers is a one-man wrecking crew. Until he demands out of Lambeau, you keep him and throw him a bone and actually draft him an offensive weapon.
Tampa Bay: The GOAT at age 44 gives you better odds of returning to the Super Bowl and winning. Several franchises haven’t been to a Super Bowl, let alone win one. Why would you trade a golden ticket to the NFC Championship game, at the very least?
If your team isn’t listed above and isn’t in the AFC South, you can upgrade. The question then is how much draft capital can your team afford to trade away without crippling their ability to improve from year to year.