NFL

Could the Giants and QB Deshaun Watson be a fit?

Deshaun Watson runs against Jets 2018

There is no doubt at all around the NFL that if the Houston Texans are crazy enough to trade Deshaun Watson, the Jets will make sure they’re near the front of the line. But they’re not the only New York football team that could use an upgrade at quarterback.

So what about the Giants?

When one NFL source was asked if the Giants could try and trade for Watson, the answer was a two-word text: “With what?”

That is the crux of the problem for the Giants if they were even interested in pursuing the 25-year-old, three-time Pro Bowl quarterback. Watson clearly would be an upgrade over Daniel Jones, at least based on what Jones has shown in his career so far. But a trade for Watson is widely expected to cost three first-round picks and more – possibly a lot more.

And the Giants just don’t have the chips to realistically get it done.

For starters, they have the 11th overall pick this year, which is valuable, but far less attractive than the first-round picks the Jets (2nd), Dolphins (3rd) or Jaguars (1st) have to offer. And those three teams each have two first-round picks in 2021, which is a considerable advantage. The Giants have only their one.

That means the Giants would have to give up their first-round pick in each of the next three drafts, for starters. And that would deprive them of a young, talented, relatively inexpensive player to add to their roster for more than half of the remaining years on Watson’s deal. And they’d probably still have to give up more – maybe a fourth first-rounder or perhaps a couple of seconds along the way.

Either way, they’d add Watson, but would considerably limit their ability to build a team around him through the draft.

And even if they added their own young quarterback in Jones to the deal, that might not be enough to sway the Texans, considering they’ll likely have better options at quarterback being offered by other teams.

The Jets could offer Sam Darnold and the Dolphins could offer Tua Tagovailoa as part of their deals. And while beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it’s hard to argue Jones is a better option than either of them coming off his 2020 season. The Jaguars could offer something more valuable than all of them – the rights to Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick.

The Giants could try to sweeten an offer with current players, but who do they have that the Texans would actually want? There’s no value for Houston in a player like tight end Evan Engram, with just one year and $6 million left on his contract. They’re going to want younger, Pro Bowl-caliber players still on rookie contracts.

Other than Saquon Barkley, which Giants would that be?

So it’s hard to figure what the Giants could offer that would be better than what the Texans could get from several other places. And even if they could, there are salary cap issues to consider. Watson will cost his new team $10.5 million under the cap this season. The Giants, as it is, are likely going to have to cut a couple of players just to have any cap space to use in free agency this year. Adding Watson, plus the $1.1 million cap hit they’d take from dealing Jones, would basically leave them without any spending money at all.

They’d have a similar issue in 2022 when Jones would’ve still been on his rookie contract and Watson would cost his new team $35 million under the cap.

So yes, Watson is far better than Jones and would instantly make the Giants a better team – possibly even the prohibitive favorites for the foreseeable future in the awful NFC East. In theory, it’s a deal worth pursuing. But acquiring him would leave the Giants without the picks and cap space they need to really build the team around their new quarterback. They’d get an immediate boost, but without the long-term potential for real growth.

And, of course, that’s if they actually had the ammunition to get him. Unless they really want to mortgage their long-term future for one player, the truth is they just don’t.

Originally published


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