The Fate of the NFC South Rest Anxiously in the Hands of Quarterback Deshaun Watson
Updated: Mar 19, 2022
For the past few days, it’s been the one thing in the back of the minds of all Saints fans, Panthers fans, Browns fans, and Falcons fans. Most fans and even some beat reporters have admitted to sitting by their phones constantly hitting refresh on their Twitter feed waiting for an answer to the question, Where will Deshaun Watson sign? So much seems to be on the line in the answer to this question as the fate of the NFC South could rest on his shoulders. This would have been an even bigger situation, had Tom Brady not come back for his 23rd NFL season, because the Bucs would have also been all in on Watson.
All football fans understand the underlying situation with Watson. There were nine criminal charges against him and he currently has 22 civil cases pending against him for alleged sexual assault. It’s so well known that if you simply go to Google and type in the phrase "22 Civil cases", Watson’s picture will emerge. There is more to this question than just football and there may be more problems down the road for Watson as he faces trial and possible league discipline. However, if you look at this situation from a pure football aspect it is not hard to see why so many teams are clamoring for the services the 26-year signal-caller. From 2018 to 2020, Watson threw for 12,840 yards, averaging 4,280 yards a season. Watson frequently attacked opponents down the field with elite arm strength and accuracy. Watson is also extremely mobile, rushing for over 400 yards each season from 2018 to 2020. Simply put, Watson is an elite quarterback, and in the NFL, having an elite quarterback can change the fate and fortune of an NFL franchise. For example, the last two Super Bowls were won by quarterbacks who had spent only one year with their teams. Both Tom Brady and Matt Stafford took their teams to the Super Bowl in their first year on the roster. With an elite QB, a franchise can change that quickly. That is the reason why the Texans have every right to ask for the type of compensation they are seeking, which according to sources at NFL Network and ESPN, begin at three 1st Round Picks. That asking price has not scared away teams in the NFC South or the Browns. According to NFL sources, each team has put in a trade for Watson. Due to Watson’s no-trade clause, he has the final say in where he will end up, and therefore the fate of the football world calmly sits in the hands of Deshaun Watson.
Our team here at MTMV Sports wanted to weigh in on exactly where they believe DeShaun Watson will take his next snaps. Here are some of their takes:
Will Smith (Host of the Red and Bold Podcast):
“I think he'll come to Atlanta simply because it is a chance for him to play close to home as he is from Gainesville, GA. He also used to be a ball boy for the Falcons. In addition, I have seen rumors of WR Allen Robinson being linked to the Falcons if Watson chooses to be traded there (this off-season)”
Will T (Contributor for MTMV LIVE):
“I think its the Saints. While the Falcons make sense, I don't think they have the cap space to do it. If they did that's where he would go. On top of that, the Saints have a ready-made team and only need a quarterback. Since he does get to sign off on where he goes why wouldn't he go to a place that is heavily recruiting with a top-tier running back that would make them one of the favorites in the NFC immediately. That fanbase would also welcome him with open arms.”
Vlad (Contributor for MTMV LIVE):
“My money is on Watson going to the Saints. At this point, they are the most attractive option with a solid Offensive Line, elite running back in Alvin Kamara, and solid receiving options (particularly if Michael Thomas is healthy). Their defense was nearly elite last year, giving Watson more opportunities with the ball in his hand. I think the only thing that could slow Deshaun in New Orleans is the beignets.”
Tha Voyze (Contributor for MTMV LIVE):
“Charlotte would be the best choice because they have the most cap space and The #6 pick vs #18 (NO).”
Nora Natish (Host of the V-Report and the NFL Digest): “Deshaun Watson should go to the Saints because they have all the pieces to be a playoff contender team. Michael Thomas will be back and having Watson throw to him will be smooth like butter.“
We are also blessed with a robust Facebook community that also wanted to chime in on where Watson will be playing next season. Here are some comments from our MTMV Facebook Community:
Jermaine T. King: "Saints because I think that city will embrace him. I also think he would prefer to stay in the South. Houston to NO will be just that. Those Cleveland rumors were wild."
Coldrick McReynolds: "I wouldn’t be surprised if he found his way to 49ers but he is more likely going Saints."
Donald Montgomery, Jr.: "49ers would be smart to trade them Jimmy and take Deshaun. It would be great cause we don’t know what Trey is going to do and our team is Strong. But I think that he’s going to New Orleans if they can get the deal done. Business is something with front office folks. And this new cap is crazy!"
Cornell Swain: "Seahawks and Browns are on his radar as well. I just hate that we finally get another Franchise QB and ownership runs him off."
Brenden Jonassaint: "He needs to come home to Atlanta, (the) city would be 🔥. Saints just lost their head coach so I'm not sure how the new squad will look. Falcons have some key players but I heard HOU is asking for a lot."
There is a lot of interest from NFL players and free agents concerning where Watson will take his snaps as well. Most pundits believe that Saints LT Terron Armstead, the number two ranked free agent by Pro Football Focus, is waiting for Watson's decision to see if he is returning to the Saints organization or moving on for the first time in his career. Veteran WR Will Fuller a former teammate of Watson in Houston, may also be waiting for Watson's decision. As of this moment, the decision seems to come down to Atlanta or New Orleans. Both Carolina and Cleveland have been informed that they are no longer in the running for Watson. Weirdly enough, after Cleveland flirted with Watson, QB Baker Mayfield has requested a trade. It has been reported that the Panthers left their meeting feeling like the Saints were the favorites, and their chances of landing Watson were fading. Watson's ties to Atlanta are strong. Atlanta Falcon's Legend Warrick Dunn gave his family a home when Watson was growing up, Watson was a Ball Boy for the Falcons as a young kid, and he has a relationship with Falcons Owner Arthur Blank. If Watson wants a sense of family and familiarity, then his decision is easy. If Watson is making this decision with a championship in mind then the decision becomes a lot more cloudy. Whatever his decision will be, Watson will have a major impact on the NFC South this upcoming season.
Update: Watson chose Cleveland 😂. Deshaun Watson signed with the Cleveland Browns for 5-Year and $230M. The signed contract that is fully guaranteed. The Houston Texans sent the Browns, Deshaun Watson and a 2024 5th round pick in exchange for the Browns 2022, 2023, and 2024 1st Round draft picks, a 2023 third round pick, and a 2024 fourth round pick. This gives the Texans six picks in the first round over the course of the next 3 years. If the Texans are able to draft well and build through free agency, they could become quite a force in the near future.