How Deshaun Watson trade affects Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Dec 21, 2019; Tampa, Florida, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 21, 2019; Tampa, Florida, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Deshaun Watson has finally been traded. He’s headed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ not-rival-at-all Cleveland Browns. Here’s how the move affects the Buccaneers.

After what feels like an absolute eternity, the Houston Texans have finally shipped out the, shall we say “controversial” Deshaun Watson in a blockbuster trade in an offseason chock full of bombshells. After being linked to literally every team in the NFC South, the Browns of all teams are the prize winners.

When Tom Brady was still retired, it seemed like the Bucs were a real possibility. Once he came back, naturally they pulled out of the race. Then it came down to the other three teams in the division, with Watson then ruling out the Carolina Panthers. Once it came down to the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints, the Browns ultimately won out, and have their new franchise quarterback to replace Baker Mayfield.

How does this impact the Tampa Bay Buccaneers though?

The answer is not as much at all on surface. The NFC is still essentially a two-team race. Brady returning and all of these star players being shipped to the AFC basically means the Buccaneers just need to finally conquer the Rams, who themselves are still looking like an absolute wagon.

Now that’s the entire NFC. As it pertains to the South, the division may get a little juicer. The Saints, Panthers, and possibly even the Falcons may now possibly inquire about Mayfield.

That said, the division was “juicy” throughout the Brady-era in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers had absolute battles with primarily the Saints in the regular season, and always ended up on the losing end. The key part there is “regular season”. In 2020, once the playoffs rolled around, Brady did what Brady does and the Bucs beat the Saints in the Superdome, ending their Super Bowl hopes and the career of Drew Brees. In 2021, the Saints swept the Buccaneers again, but only the Buccaneers made the playoffs. The point is, with another world-class quarterback in the division, the Bucs may lose a couple more games, but with Brady they’ll always have the edge come playoff time.

Now of course, Mayfield is just a little bit younger than Brees was, but not as polished of a passer. However, he would certainly be an upgrade over whatever the Saints or Panthers plan on trotting out there. The Falcons it depends on what they’d get back for Matt Ryan.

At the end of the day, the road to the Super Bowl for the Buccaneers may get a tad more bumpy, but probably enough to move the needle. Watson steering clear of the division may have opened the door for Mayfield to come in, but door number two still had Brady behind it after all.

Long-term though, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will still need to find their heir-apparent, whether it’s Kyle Trask or someone else, to go along with their talented roster in order to stay competitive with Baker Mayfield, Jimmy Garoppolo, or whoever’s potential new NFC South team. As we said before though, the NFC is still a two-team boat race, and fortunately Tom Brady is captain Buccaneer.

Related Story. More on the state of the NFC. light