Deshaun Watson might be the most polarizing name in all of sports right now. While teams have been timid to make a move for the 26-year-old QB amid 22 sexual assault charges, with no criminal charges being filed, the negotiation process is unravelling fast and there are a few franchises in play for the Texans QB. The Eagles are not one of them.
While the Eagles have been reported as being interested in Watson, all have been consistent in saying that Watson is not interested in coming to Philly. In the end, Watson choosing to go elsewhere may just be the biggest blessing in disguise the Eagles have had in some time.
There’s plenty of reasons to believe this to be the case as well.
Don’t give up on Jalen Hurts
Contrary to popular belief, QB Jalen Hurts was a big reason the Eagles made the playoffs last year. At only 23-years-old, it is extremely odd that people think he wouldn’t be able to grow as a passer.
Ever since his time in Alabama, Hurts has improved in almost every facet of the game. Even last season, Hurts was trending upwards in terms of his overall game before a dud of a playoff performance.
Some fans think that Hurts’ dud of a playoff debut shows he cannot grow as an overall passer. This is a ludicrous opinion and completely ignores the type of player Hurts is. Unlike some of the team’s past QB’s, Hurts is clearly beloved by all in the locker room and has the drive to continue to improve where he needs to.
Players need time to develop. Hurts certainly has upside to his game and he should be given the opportunity to at least take those first steps.
It was reported that Watson didn’t want to come to Philly because he wanted to respect Hurts as the starter.
It might just be the decision that helps propel Philadelphia, and their young QB to new heights.
Cap and Draft Flexibility
Deshaun Watson would account for close to $20 million towards the cap this season when he is eventually traded and suspended by the league per their personal conduct policy.
Even before the Fletcher Cox “release”, the Eagles were going to have to be creative in order to make a move like that. Add in the minimum three first-round picks that the team would have to fork over, and it’s clear the Eagles would have to give up a huge part of their future for the chance to get a player like Watson.
Some may argue it would have been worth it. I think it’s fair to also point out that a good QB doesn’t always equate to wins.
Case and point – Justin Herbert is one of the brightest QB’s in football. His team missed the playoffs this year. Or how about Deshaun Watson himself? In 2020, the last time he played, the Texans went 4-12. The team around him was very weak on talent.
Is the team just a QB away from being in the title hunt?
The answer is no.
In reality, the cap flexibility and draft picks the Eagles have can be used to build the team around its young QB and coaching staff and build a perennial power in the conference while Hurts continues to develop. It’s a far healthier, and less risky move to build through the draft than to swing for the fence and be in purgatory for years because of it.
QB’s don’t equal Super Bowls
Think about this. Over the last few Super Bowl-winning teams, has the QB been the best QB in that game, or season? Let’s take a look:
|Year:||Best QB (Reg Season)||Best QB (Super Bowl)||Super Bowl Winner|
|2021||Aaron Rodgers||Joe Burrow||Matt Stafford|
|2020||Aaron Rodgers||Patrick Mahomes||Tom Brady|
|2019||Lamar Jackson||Patrick Mahomes||Patrick Mahomes|
|2018||Patrick Mahomes||Tom Brady||Tom Brady|
|2017||Carson Wentz||Tom Brady||Nick Foles|
|2016||Matt Ryan||Matt Ryan||Tom Brady|
|2015||Cam Newton||Cam Newton||Peyton Manning|
|2014||Aaron Rodgers||Russell Wilson||Tom Brady|
|2013||Peyton Manning||Peyton Manning||Russell Wilson|
|2012||Payton Manning||Colin Kaepernick||Joe Flacco|
|2011||Aaron Rodgers||Tom Brady||Eli Manning|
|2010||Tom Brady||Big Ben||Aaron Rodgers|
Two of the last 12 years have seen the best QB in either the regular season or Super Bowl. As you can see, there’s a major discrepancy here. Not every top QB in football is able to win because the team around them isn’t really good enough.
And we mentioned this before, but if the talent around a QB isn’t good enough, the best overall outlook the team can be looking at is potentially a wild card exit. The question to ask Eagle fans who demand a QB change is this – are you looking to see a Super Bowl title, or just win some playoff games.
There’s evidence over the last decade that a top QB does not guarantee a Super Bowl. But a great team can take an average QB to a Super Bowl win.
It’s easy to talk about Deshaun Watson and say once his legal battles are over he’ll be a good QB. But when we talk about the QB position, we’re talking about the face of a franchise. How the QB conducts himself to the media, and outside the team is in direct correlation to the values of the franchise he plays for.
For Watson, the opposite would have to be true. With 22 sexual assault allegations and civil litigation on the way, Watson has maintained his innocence throughout.
This isn’t a paragraph saying he is guilty or innocent. That has yet to be determined in court of law.
But the shroud of an incoming suspension by the league and even the potential chance he is found guilty is incredibly strong. It’s clear that Watson would need to understand, even if not guilty, his actions have been perceived a certain way by many people. Watson on the other hand has focused on his innocence and not what he can learn from in this situation as a person.
Is this the demeanor Philadelphia fans want in their QB?
Many talk about the play of Watson and how it is far and away better than Jalen Hurts. But Hurts as a leader and face of the franchise has been off the charts.
Fans were adamant they wanted a better leader after Carson Wentz and now they have him, but would rather go back to a QB with off-the-field trouble?
A True Blessing
Watson declining the Eagles is a gift. They can focus on building up and rooting for a QB who is well-liked in the media and the city. And will continue to get better as he grows in his NFL career.
The Eagles will have plenty of opportunities to build around Hurts in both free agency and the draft.
As long as Hurts shows the improvement needed in year two as a starter, the Eagles should be expected to win more than nine games, and be back in the postseason for the second straight year with their young signal-caller.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire