NOT SO FAST

NFL’s popular theory on Watson takes a big public hit

NFL’s popular theory on Watson takes a big public hit
The Watson situation looks different in Philly. Composite image by Jack Brame.

Today on The Maury Povich Show:

"In the matter of 25-year-old Derrick Deshaun Watson …. Philadelphia Eagles, you ARE the team most likely to trade for the Houston Texans talented but troubled quarterback."

At least that's what we're hearing from national football pundits at ESPN, the NFL Network and Sports Illustrated.

It does make sense, if you're not plugged into the Philly sports scene. The Eagles seem to be the only team that has the trade capital the Texans are seeking for Watson: two first-round (possibly three) draft picks coming up, and a couple of veterans who might start for the Texans or at least make the squad.

But up in Philadelphia things look different. As Lee Corso would say, when it comes to Watson to the Eagles, not so fast, my friend.

I contacted my buddy Glen Macnow, veteran sports talk host on WIP Radio and co-author of several bestselling books including The Great Philadelphia Fan Book, The Great Book of Philadelphia Sports Lists, and children's biographies of Allen Iverson and Charles Barkley.

Macnow isn't known as "The Professor" in Philadelphia media for nothing.

I asked him, "In addition to rumors of Watson going to Philadelphia, we're also hearing that many teams won't touch him because it could be a public relations nightmare. Are the Eagles unconcerned about that? They did sign Michael Vick after he spent two years in prison for his involvement in an unimaginably cruel dog fighting ring. I'm thinking that the Eagles would sign Kim Jong Un if he could throw 60 yards on a frozen rope. What about it?"

Here's how Macnow sees the probability – or let's say improbability – of the Eagles emptying their first-round treasure chest to trade for Watson.

Macnow said, "I think you're incorrect. The Eagles did sign Vick. The owner (Jeffrey Lurie) initially disapproved but was talked into it by Andy Reid, whose own kids had gone through the criminal justice system. Reid argued that Lurie should believe in criminal rehabilitation. To Vick's credit, he really did seem a different person after imprisonment. He got involved in charities here and never again got into trouble."

"Watson is toxic right now. With Vick, there were no more surprises to arise. He had done his time and there were no pending cases. With Watson, who knows where this is going? One other factor, Jeff Lurie may not be a dog lover, but he got his doctorate in women's studies. He's a feminist. Watson's civil court accusations and potential criminal charges involving sexual misconduct go against everything Lurie has ever stood for. Next season, maybe, after all this plays out. Right now? I can't see it."

Like any hard-hitting investigative reporter, I followed up: so how come the national media keeps pushing the Eagles as Watson's likely landing spot? Surely those reporters know all this stuff about the Eagles and their owner.

Macnow: "The Eagles are always cited because of the Vick precedent. Carson Wentz is gone and a second-round untested quarterback (Jalen Hurts) has the keys to the car. The Eagles own two first-round picks, perhaps three if Wentz plays 75-percent of plays with Indy. It adds up, so reporters keep going with it. That doesn't make it true. Rumors come out for a lot of reasons. This could be Watson's agent floating it to reporters for all I know. And if Watson is suspended or goes on the NFL commissioner's exempt list, how does that help the Eagles? Anyway, that's what I've been telling my listeners. I've been incorrect before."

Macnow's resume is impressive. He made his mark writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer, then moved to WIP Radio where he's a trusted voice of Philadelphia sports, and he's a respected author.

But his real claims to fame: Macnow grew up in Buffalo, and one summer his parents sent him to overnight summer camp. His camp counselor was Wolf Blitzer, anchor of The Situation Room on CNN.

And No. 1 on his LinkedIn resume (or should be), one of his first newspaper jobs was at Florida Today in Cocoa, where I also worked, and we lived in the same apartment building across the Banana River in Cape Canaveral. Rocket launches rattled our windows. That's when Macnow and I developed an insane habit, given our newspaper starting salaries, of attending jai alai matches in Melbourne. We occasionally snuck out from work at lunch to catch matinées at the fronton. Here's a jai alai betting tip. Don't box the 1-2-5-8, especially at the end of the month when your gas tank is on E and rent is due.

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Will all the Texans playmakers be satisfied with their roles in the offense? Composite Getty Image.

ESPN Texans reporter DJ Bien-Aime joined The Mina Kimes Show this weekand shared his thoughts on the Texans outlook this season.

When looking at the Texans offense, Bien-Aime pointed to Houston's play calling as being a possible issue in 2024. Bobby Slowik did a terrific job in his first season as an offensive coordinator. But he will have his hands full keeping all his playmakers happy with Stefon Diggs joining the team, and Nico Collins expecting a ton of looks after signing a massive contract extension.

Which got us thinking, are there enough catches to go around?

We took a deep dive into the 2023 numbers and here's what we found. CJ Stroud averaged 21 completions per game. And here's a breakdown of how many catches his receivers averaged last year.

Nico Collins 5.3 catches per game

Stefon Diggs (with Buffalo) 6.29 catches per game

Dalton Schultz 3.93 catches per game

Tank Dell 4.27 catches per game

Texans running backs 3.05 catches per game

If we add those up, the total is 22.84. Which means the Texans top receivers should expect a similar amount of production compared to last season. Of course, players like Noah Brown, Robert Woods, and Brevin Jordan will take targets away from Stefon Diggs and company from time to time.

But it's good to know that the Texans top pass catchers should produce numbers close to their 2023 averages. Which is a big deal for a player in a contract year like Diggs.

Another thing to note. We're factoring in that the Texans are expected to run out of 11 personnel most of the time. Which means Diggs, Collins, Dell, Schultz, and Mixon will be the only pass catchers on the field the majority of the time.

Are there concerns about the defense?

Both Kimes and Bien-Aime designated Houston's secondary as the big x-factor this year. Bien-Aime named cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. as the only player in the secondary that he truly trusts. Is he right?

Be sure to watch the video above as we react to Kimes and Bien-Aime's outlook for the Texans this year, and share our thoughts on the possible pitfalls the team will have to navigate in the short and long-term.

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