Jaguars can afford to sit out the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes
There are several teams interested in trading for Deshaun Watson in spite of his legal woes, and that’s understandable. The 2017 first-round pick is a top-5 passer in a league where the demand for competent quarterback play outweighs the supply. Fortunately, the Jacksonville Jaguars don’t have to worry about the position due to the presence of rookie Trevor Lawrence.
Last season, the Jags had the worst record in the league, which helped clinch the first overall pick in the 2021 draft. Who says being bad doesn’t pay off? Coincidentally, they got the top selection in the same year the most talented quarterback prospect (Lawrence) was available.
The Jaguars wasted no time and chose the former Tiger first overall. Looking back, this decision could shape the franchise for years to come in a good game. Although the sample is short, Lawrence is showing flashes of being the franchise quarterback they’ve lacked. He isn’t fazed by the pass rush and has the ability to make all kinds of throws. Also, he’s shown he can move around the pocket and use his legs if necessary. If that wasn’t enough, he’s quickly improving his decision-making.
It’s too early to peg Lawrence as the Jaguars’ franchise quarterback but don’t dismiss the idea either. The coaching staff has often praised him and is most likely pleased with his early development. If he keeps trending up, the Jags won’t have to worry about the position in a long time.
The Jaguars aren’t in need of Deshaun Watson.
There are several NFL clubs that could use Watson. The Miami Dolphins, the Denver Broncos, the Philadelphia Eagles, and even the Carolina Panthers are all potential suitors. The former Clemson Tiger would immediately turn those squads into playoff contenders. Keep in mind that whoever wants to acquire the quarterback had better make a move quickly. The trade deadline is November 2, and teams won’t be able to acquire him until next season if they don’t make a move now.
From a team perspective, it makes sense to be hesitant to trade for Watson. He is facing 22 lawsuits for alleged sexual misconduct and might not be available to play if indicted or if he gets suspended. Also, the Texans’ asking price may be too steep. Earlier this year, it was reported they wanted three first-round selections in exchange for the quarterback. On the bright side, they soften their stance as recently as a month ago.
Nevertheless, whoever is interested in pursuing Watson runs the risk of not getting a single snap out of him. On the other hand, teams could get desperate enough that ultimately decide that his talent offsets the risk.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are set at quarterback for the foreseeable future.
Having an above-average quarterback gives NFL teams a realistic shot to make a playoff run. Similarly, not having one makes it difficult to compete year in and year out. Think of the mid-2010s New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees always gave them a chance to win even if lacked talent around him. The Green Bay Packers refuse to give Aaron Rodgers weapons but his presence alone has them qualify for the postseason. No wonder teams want to trade for Watson in spite of his baggage.
You can’t just mention Lawrence in the same breath as Bress and Rodgers. You’re talking about two future Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks and a rookie. But just like the Saints this past decade and the Packers right now, the Jaguars don’t have to worry about the quarterback position.