The Houston Texans come into Week 8 at 1-6, most likely out of playoff contention. The Texans have won the division four of the last five years in the AFC South, so they are in a position that they are not really familiar with.
Their struggles have come from a combination of things, one of them being their strength of schedule.
So far in 2020, the Texans have played the Ravens (5-1), Chiefs (6-1), Titans (5-1), Steelers (6-0), and the Packers (5-1). Those are undoubtedly 5 of the best teams in the NFL. If it wasn’t for their incredibly difficult schedule, maybe the Texans would be buyers at the deadline and not sellers. But that isn’t the case.
The Texans have a few really nice pieces on their team that can really help some teams that are making a playoff push. What can they get in return? Draft picks would be nice.
The Texans do not have a 1st or a 2nd round pick due to the Laremy Tunsil trade with Miami. They should consider this year a write off, and make some trades to improve their future.
Here are 3 potential trades that the Texans should make before the Week 8 trade deadline.
1. Trade Kenny Stills to the Washington Football Team
The Texans receiving core has surprisingly been one of the team’s strongest groups, even though they traded all pro WR, DeAndre Hopkins. Will Fuller has been the team’s best receiver, but Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb have both been integral parts of the offense. Kenny Stills, however, hasn’t been able to get any action in this Texans offense.
In 7 games this season, Kenny Stills has only 10 receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown. Statistically, this is easily Stills’ worst season. Nevertheless, he still holds some value, especially for a team who’s number two receiver is Dontrelle Inman.
The Washington Football Team would add a much needed wide receiver to line up opposite to Terry McLaurin. Giving the Football Team another option on the outside will likely free up McLaurin from double’s, and give Kyle Allen another weapon.
Considering the Football Team is only one game out of first place, a move at the deadline for a wide receiver could be the boost they need to win them the division. Kenny Stills would be a great fit in Washington.
I would expect that in return from Stills, the Texans would probably receive a mid-round pick (either 4th or 5th). This isn’t a major deal, but any draft pick helps, especially when you’re missing your first two.
This would essentially keep this roster just as it is, while adding some much needed draft capital.
2. Trade JJ Watt to the Seattle Seahawks
JJ Watt is one of only two, 3-time defensive players of the year. In his prime, he was an absolute force on the defensive end. At age 32, Watt is only a shell of what he once was.
JJ struggles to stay on the football field which could be a major deterrent from teams trading a premium for him. Over the last 5 years, Watt has only played one full 16-game season.
When he is healthy, however, JJ Watt is still one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. What playoff contender needs pass rushing? Nobody needs it more than the Seattle Seahawks.
The Seahawks rank 29th in Sack % at only 3%. They also rank 26th in sacks per game at only 1.5 per game. Their inability to get to the quarterback has led to them having the worst pass defense in the NFL, giving up 369 yards per game.
They added Carlos Dunlap before their week 8 matchup and JJ Watt could be the team’s second addition.
Watt on the defensive line with Bobby Wagner in the linebacking core and Jamal Adams in the secondary gives the Seahawks a superstar defensive player in every defensive group. The Seahawks defense becomes elite.
In return for Watt, the Seahawks would give up their 2nd round pick, and backup tight end, Will Dissly.
The Texans add some much needed draft capital to their team, while also acquiring a tight end for Deshaun Watson.
This deal gives the Texans a pick in the top 64 while also saving $17.5 million in cap room for the 2021 season.
Watson hasn’t had consistent tight end play his entire career in Houston. Getting Dissly in this deal could really help Watson convert in the red zone since his main red zone threat is lighting it up in Arizona.
3. Trade Will Fuller to the Ravens
The Ravens have virtually a perfect roster except for their receiving core which is currently underperforming.
The Ravens receiving core is comprised of Marquise Brown, a good speed receiver in the slot and Mark Andrews, an excellent option up the middle. On the outside, however, the Ravens are merely average. Will Fuller would be an excellent fit as this team’s WR1 on the outside.
Fuller would allow the Ravens to stay consistent with their speed approach to their receivers. Fuller has also developed into an excellent route runner, something this Ravens team has desperately needed.
The Texans would include their 4th round pick in this deal.
In return, the Ravens would give the Texans a 2nd and a 6th round pick in the upcoming 2021 draft.
The Ravens obviously don’t want to give up a second round pick for a player who is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2020 season, but they’re going for it all this year.
Lamar Jackson won’t be on a rookie deal for much longer, and when he gets paid, the team will be really limited in terms of how they surround him with winning pieces. Going all out to win this year makes sense, and is a strong move from management.
Fuller, who is an unrestricted free agent, would be off the books after this year (unless he re-signs) giving the Ravens a clean slate going into next season. Having Fuller for a year would fill the Ravens void at WR1 this season, while allowing the team’s rookies to develop into potential starters for next. This could be a blessing in disguise.
The Texans accomplish two things from this trade. They acquire some much needed draft capital for next year, and they trade their top WR on an expiring deal. Trading him saves them from paying Fuller the big contract that he deserves.
Trading away Deshaun Watson’s #1 receiver two years in a row definitely hurts, but the Texans will most likely draft a WR with one of their draft picks this year and inject this offense with some youth. They could also address their struggles in the secondary through the draft which is probably a higher priority.
The Texans are a good team with some bad luck. If it weren’t for their difficult schedule, they might be gunning for a Wild Card spot in the AFC. If they make the right moves before the deadline, however, they might be gunning for the division title next season.
Considering a 1-6 start to the season, the Texans will probably be sellers at the deadline. Everyone on their team other than Deshaun Watson, Laremy Tunsil, and Justin Reid should be made available if they are able to get draft capital next season.
Don’t be surprised if the Texans roster looks very different after the week 8 deadline.