Yes, the Deshaun Watson conversation won't go away. Yes, the dream scenario for the Patriots is to find the Texans quarterback calling Foxboro home next season.
But we have to be a bit more realistic. It's for this reason we offer up some other possibilities when it comes to trading for a quarterback.
Disclaimer: One of these trade proposals include the Patriots No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. And before you start screaming about how the No. 15 overall selection represents this team's future and can't be dealt, understand that Bill Belichick has used his first-rounder before to fill a much-needed gap on the Patriots' roster, dealing for wide receiver Brandin Cooks in exchange for the No. 32 overall pick.
The reminder is that there is probably going to be some pain points here when trying to solidify the most important position in all of professional sports.
So, here we go ...
Patriots get: Sam Darnold
Jets get: Patriots 2021 second-round pick (No. 46 overall)
One could make the argument that a more realistic scenario is the Patriots giving up the first-round pick for the 23-year-old Darnold, who had been the third overall selection in 2018. The Jets probably want more to trade within the division, and there is still that cache from where he was initially selected.
Most Patriots fans will run from this deal considering what they have seen from Darnold -- who has two more years left on his current contract. But one has to wonder what the former USC product might look like under the tutelage of Belichick and Josh McDaniels. Also, you have to ask which is more palatable, the upside of a Mac Jones without any NFL experience or a guy who has now been a pro for three seasons.?There is a value to that.
Patriots get: Jordan Love
Packers get: Patriots 2021 first-round pick (No. 15 overall), 2021 fifth-round pick (No. 142 overall)
Aaron Rodgers seems like a guy who is going to play for another three seasons. Love -- the quarterback the Packers plucked with the 26th overall pick isn't going to sit around that long. In that time, Green Bay will still have plenty of opportunities to find Rodgers' replacement.
It's a scenario surfaced by Mike Lombardi when appearing on OMF Friday: “[Aaron] Rodgers is at a different level. The guy that might win MVP of the league is Jordan Love. Because Jordan Love is the reason why Aaron Rodgers is so pissed off at everybody, and he’s playing at such a pissed off level, it’s hard. He’s back to ’13 level. And Jordan Love, the first-round quarterback, is sitting there on the bench. He’s not going to play for that contract. [He] might be a quarterback you could trade for. Rodgers is going to play another three years, four years. … You might want to make a phone call up there.”
Patriots get: Marcus Mariota
Raiders get: Patriots 2021 second-round pick (No. 46 overall)
This is a bit of gamble for the Patriots not only because they will be leaning on really one good 2020 performance from the Raiders' backup quarterback (going 17-for-28 for 226 yards, passing for a touchdown while running for another) but also due to his contract. The 27-year-old is signed for just one more season, slated to earn just more than $10 million for 2021.
Still, the last image of Mariota led many to believe this was the next Ryan Tannehill story, a former first-rounder who finally found his way after moving on to another organization.