The New Orleans Saints just came to terms with the end of what was undoubtedly the greatest era in franchise history.
From 2006 to 2020, the franchise that had previously been known best for losing went 150-90 in regular season games, won seven NFC South Division titles, won the franchise’s lone Super Bowl and posted a winning record in the playoffs (9-8).
That all started with one thing: the signing of Drew Brees.
You can cite any other reason you want: a strong coaching staff, a solid offensive line, some good defenses as of late, some really good draft classes, etc.
But no matter what, the Drew Brees factor holds true as by far the primary reason that success was ever possible. At the most valuable position, he produced elite play for 14 out of his 15 seasons.
And for that, he’s the most indispensable Saint to ever step foot in the Superdome.
I say all of this just to make clear that the primary goal this off-season, if he is in fact available, should be to go after Deshaun Watson.
We all know how elite of a player he is. Or you should, at least.
He led the league in yards per pass attempt this year, at 8.9 yards, which is the highest the league has seen from a quarterback since 2016.
The most impressive aspect of his game was his accuracy at such a high depth of target on most of his throws. He ranked third in completion rate (70.2) and T-fourth in average depth of target (9.4).
According to Next Gen Stats, he had a completion % over expected (CPOE) of +4.8, which was the best in the NFL. That number takes into account how far you’re throwing downfield to measure accuracy.
And I know what some may be asking: How on earth did they go 4-12, then?
It was honestly just an anomaly.
It takes a lot for teams with elite quarterbacks to be that bad — and for the Texans, it was terrible luck and a tough schedule.
They played the Chiefs, Ravens, Steelers, Packers, Browns, Bears, Colts twice and Titans twice. And they went an abysmal 2-8 in one-score games, including a few heart-breaking division losses that could’ve gone either way.
They were a 7-9 or 8-8 level team that just happened to go 4-12 due to some extreme circumstances.
And if we’re being honest, some of those Texans teams he dragged to the playoffs in 2018 and 2019 weren’t as good as he made them look.
If you look throughout history, you find that teams with elite QBs are rarely bad. Guys like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, etc. never were really on teams with losing records when they were healthy (Manning had a couple in his first few seasons, but none from 2002 on).
And in order for Brees to be on a few, it literally took his coach getting suspended for an entire season, a void of culture on the team because of Bountygate and historically bad defenses to only go 7-9.
This is all to make the point that even if the Saints had to give up a good amount of assets to get Deshaun Watson in a trade, it would be more than worth it. Because he’s undoubtedly in that elite category of QBs who can uplift a team, and he’s in his prime.
Think about it — Brees came to NOLA the year after the Saints went 3-13 and were legitimately hopeless. That 2006 team had no business being in the NFC Championship game, but the ability to pick up first downs and score touchdowns on a consistent basis through the air just made that much of a difference on a team that wasn’t even really that talented yet.
Now, fast forward to 2021. This team is loaded at every position but QB. You’re telling me the Saints can send away a couple blue chip players at less valuable positions (along with some picks) and still have enough talent to surround Watson with to be a good team? Get out of here.
You’d be guaranteed elite QB play with a coach like Sean Payton for a minimum of 10 years, and probably more. It’s an easy decision.
Just like in 2006: get the franchise QB and figure the rest out.
So, if Deshaun Watson is actually available to be traded this off-season, they should put everything on the table in order to go after him. Because if they don’t and some other team does, it could be a huge regret in the future.
What would you give up for Deshaun Watson? Let us know in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @AndrewBell_98.