The opportunity to land one of the very best players in the NFL has arrived - again.
Since his initial trade demand, the Raiders have been linked to Watson by those closest to the organization. Given his line to Mark Davis, Vinny Bonsignore is probably the most trustworthy source that follows the team, and he reported back in February that the Raiders could indeed elect to upgrade at QB.
Multiple @NFL sources indicate to me that Derek Carr is a hot commodity. And it is expected that multiple teams will pursue him via trade That could lead to the @Raiders pursuing Deshaun Watson in a blockbuster trade. My story:https://t.co/rnxHJK9KC0— Vincent Bonsignore (@VinnyBonsignore) February 3, 2021
Question is: does MD have the foresight - and the pure Davis family shrewdness - to pull the trigger on this sort of acquisition? Al was a maverick. Al was gambler. Al handed out second chances like doctors hand out lollipops. And moving to Las Vegas, in itself, was a gamble for MD. So there's at least a little maverick in MD. But is there enough maverick in MD to do this?
Admittedly, it's not the easiest path to take because of the civil suits filed against Watson, but as Texans' insider John McClain said to Rich Eisen this week: he's betting that Watson - will - be allowed to play after being traded and that's noteworthy. If he were to be acquired, how would Watson's game time availability affect the Raiders' current performance, a team that's already lost it's head coach? There's obvious potential for lackluster performance if Watson's jumping right into action....it's the QB position. And then there's the trickle down affect of perhaps creating a new system tailored to his strengths....a learning curve for Watson and his new teammates. However, Stephen Ross and the Dolphins don't seem to care about any of that. Maybe they don't care because they have a 1-5 record so far this year, but as we know all too well here - having a 4-2 record doesn't exactly mean we're Super Bowl bound either. The Dolphins have an eye towards future success with a 26 year old Watson, and it could easily be argued that MD should be of the same mindset.
So does MD have the foresight that's necessary to look down the road and see the win here? It's still Deshaun Watson. PFF's #2 ranked QB last season. Probably one of the 5 best players in the entire league - regardless of position. As great as Lamar Jackson has looked this year, Watson is better....has never had the running game support that Jackson has behind him, and has also never had the stability and quality play from the offensive line that Jackson's had ( the Ravens are just a football juggernaut). Yet Watson still has a 28-25 record as a starting QB in this league and has led his team to the playoffs twice with bad head coaching ( Bill O'Brien) and JJ Watt's expensive contract regularly taking up space on the sidelines. Watson has the ability to lift those around him. Things don't have to be perfect. The O-line doesn't have to be expensive.
Is MD so caught up in trying to win this year ( win what, exactly?) that he would pass on the opportunity to put one of the games most exciting players on the Vegas stage? Or is MD a tad frightened that the league would pull the rug out from under him if he were to acquire Watson?
Do the Raiders even have enough assets to offer the Texans? Always a fun question that Carrdashians never really know how to answer. One one hand, they believe Carr is a top 10 QB....on the other hand, they don't believe the Raiders have enough assets to trade for Watson. Two takes that don't really sync up if you really believe Carr is a top 10 QB....because a top 10 QB is an asset - as Bonsignore alluded to in his report. Bonsignore, who believes Carr is pretty good. Not Deshaun Watson - good, obviously. But pretty good. That Carr's had his typical, solid start to the season, that could be good for his present trade value....but we know how value is fleeting. Historically, Derek Carr's performance takes a noticeable dive in November and December, so - now - would be the time to flip him in a trade....as weird as it would seem to move on from him 6 or 7 games into the season. It's just currently a better trade market for Carr when compared to potentially missing the playoffs again, which always leads to everyone sending slander his way.
Funny enough: Vinny Bonsignore hinted at the opportunity for a three team trade involving the Raiders and Texans, but now we have John McClain and others reporting that the proposed trade between the Dolphins and Texans could also involve a third team that would get Tua. Tua? Carr is easily a better option for this " third team ", who many believe to be the Washington Football Team - the same team that had interest in Carr this past off-season. Or Carr could just go to Houston, himself, and play where he once starred as a high schooler. Is that so bad? Is Derek Carr a better option than the incoming draft class of 2022 can offer the Texans? Looks to be that way. And Davis Mills isn't anything special.
But would Carr threaten to retire if he were involved in trade discussions? He's already said he'd retire if he had to play elsewhere - which opens up all sorts of other questions about Carr's level of love for the game and his competitiveness - but on the flipside of that is Carr's comments about wanting to play until he's 45 years old. So which is it? Would Carr retire if he had to leave? Or does he want to play until he's 45? Or does Derek Carr actually believe that he's going to be the quarterback of the Raiders until he's 45 years old? Is he that naive? A lot of questions here....including - how would the Texans value a Derek Carr who wants to play another 14 seasons? That's a long time....a lot of production. Production that they could use.
And then it was also reported months ago that Watson's camp was wary of teaming him up with Jon Gruden, but now - suddenly - the Gruden problem no longer exists. So did Gruden's e-mail scandal perhaps land on the Raiders' doorstep in the nick of time? Operationally, the money is the same....Carr's going to be cheaper than Watson, but Carr also needs his GM to spend more money on the offensive line because he doesn't extend plays like Watson does, so the money ends up evening out at the end of the day. Then you look at who's going to be more of a money-maker for the franchise off of the field....an outlook that would've leaned heavily towards Watson without the civil suits. He was easily the more marketable player, but he's got work ahead of him to rebuild his image. Nonetheless, his talent will give him a pretty good shot at doing just that in Miami, Carolina, Philly, etc.
Either way, MD has a huge decision on his hands here. He could honker down and stay the course out of fear that things could get worse. However, if MD doesn't push Mayock to pull the trigger here, not only does he miss out on the sort of opportunity that literally never happens, but he'd watch the Miami Dolphins ( a historical AFC rival) nab Watson and potentially push the Raiders out of playoff contention in the coming years. Of course, this is all without even considering the potential for Aaron Rodgers to land in the AFC West next season. This division is only going to get stronger over the next 5-10 years. 26 year old, top 5 QBs never come available for trade....based on age alone, MD should be all over this opportunity. But is he awake? He should be....especially after the last week.