Texans reportedly could trade J.J. Watt; should Patriots pursue star DE?

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Darren Hartwell
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Texans reportedly could trade J.J. Watt; should Pats have interest? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Deshaun Watson isn't the only Texans franchise player whose time may be up in Houston.

The Texans are aware that defensive end J.J. Watt "deserves clarity" on where he stands with the team, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo reported Saturday. Rapoport and Garafolo added that it "might make more sense" for Watt to play "elsewhere."

NFL Network's James Palmer added that Watt's coaches and teammates don't expect him back in 2021.

New Texans general manager Nick Caserio insisted Friday that Houston has no plans to deal Watson, but the star quarterback reportedly has demanded a trade and recently removed all Texans branding from his social media accounts amid reports of dysfunction in Houston's front office under executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby.

While Watson is the Texans' star player, Watt is the face of the franchise who just finished his 10th season with the team. If Houston truly wants to hit the reset button, it makes sense to consider trading both superstars and net a wealth of draft picks.

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It's too early to know what Watt's trade market would look like, but the New England Patriots will be in the market for pass rushing this offseason. The Patriots averaged just 1.5 sacks per game last season, 27th in the NFL, and have five defensive linemen hitting free agency in 2021 in Lawrence Guy, Adam Butler, John Simon, Deatrich Wise and Carl Davis.

Watt turns 32 in March and would come with a $17.5 million cap hit on the final year of his deal. But the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year likely could be had for a second-round pick or first-rounder at most as opposed to a player like Watson, who would cost multiple first-round picks.

If the Texans make Watt available for trade, it's worth monitoring if Bill Belichick will place a call to his old friend Caserio.