The New England Patriots just said goodbye to Tom Brady after he spent two decades with the team but could be saying hello to another NFL Pro Bowl quarterback to start in 2020.
As Last Word On Pro Football noted, oddsmakers in Las Vegas believe that current Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is the most likely to be starting for the Patriots in Week 1, with the betting world apparently expecting the team to be aggressive in its first major post-Brady move. According to the online oddsmaker Sports Betting, Watson narrowly edged out Brady’s backup last season, Jarrett Stidham, as the likely starter for the Pats going forward.
The outlet gave Watson +300 odds compared to +500 for both Stidham and incoming rookie Trevor Lawrence.
Watson’s future in Houston is unclear after the team moved to trade wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. The team also appear to be headed toward a rebuild after reaching the AFC divisional round and blowing a 24-point lead to the Kansas City Chiefs. Reports indicated that Watson was not happy about the trade, and Sports Illustrated noted that he could be seeking a trade out of Houston.
Others agreed. On First Take, Stephen A. Smith said Watson should talk to Texans general manager Bill O’Brien and demand a trade.
“If I’m Deshaun Watson, I’d go into Bill O’Brien’s office, and I’d ask to be traded,” Smith said, via Sports Illustrated. “I don’t think this man knows what he’s doing as an executive, or he allowed his personal feelings to usurp whatever football knowledge we believe him to have. That’s what I would ask if I was Deshaun Watson.”
This would also depend on the Patriots being the highest bidder for Watson, who would likely find an active market given his success in Houston since entering the league in 2017.
The Patriots have not given much indication yet what they plan to do to replace Brady. As the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport noted on Twitter, the team is likely high on Stidham after investing a fourth-round pick in last year’s draft on him. Rapoport said if the Patriots think he can turn into a long-term starter, they would not be likely to spend much money on another quarterback who could start until Stidham is ready.
That would likely rule out Watson, who would be cemented into the starting role and much more expensive than the Patriots want for a placeholder until Stidham was ready.