Deshaun Watson trade rumors intensify as Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa makes costly errors in Week 7

    With rumors surrounding the Miami Dolphins trading for Deshaun Watson, could the inconsistent play of Tua Tagovailoa force their hand?

    Deshaun Watson trade rumors intensify as Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa makes costly errors in Week 7

    After a week that has seen the Deshaun Watson trade rumors start back up again ahead of the 2021 NFL trade deadline, the Miami Dolphins were once again heavily linked to Watson before their game kicked off Sunday. With Tua Tagovailoa struggling against the Atlanta Falcons, could the Dolphins be set to make a move for Watson?

    The Dolphins are reportedly the leaders in a potential Deshaun Watson trade

    Earlier this week, the Houston Chronicle reported that a trade for Watson between the Dolphins and Texans “could go down this week, according to people familiar with the organization.” While that initially drew mixed reactions around the NFL world, Jay Glazer added further information on FOX NFL Sunday.

    Glazer was asked Sunday morning whether Miami was still interested in trading for Watson. His answer indicated that Miami currently has the best offer, but they may not have met the Texans’ asking price.

    “They are still very heavily engaged with trade talks with the Miami Dolphins. What I am told this week is that another team actually called up just to inquire and the message the Texans are giving off is that you have got to beat Miami’s offer. So it looks like it is all heading towards that way. And I do also know that they are looking still for at least three first-round picks plus two additional picks for Deshaun Watson.”

    That answer can be taken in one of two ways. On one hand, the Dolphins may have met that asking price, and the Texans are pausing to see if someone will top it. However, it could also suggest that the Dolphins haven’t quite met the asking price, and for that reason, the deal has not been completed yet.

    A frustrating performance from Tua Tagovailoa will not quell the Watson trade rumors

    Part of the headache for the Dolphins has been the unconvincing play of their QB, Tua Tagovailoa, this season. In London, Tua had two impressive drives but struggled for consistency. In Week 7, he once again opened the game with a strong first drive. Tua led the Dolphins to 75 yards on 14 plays to open the scoring.

    Overall, Tua had some pretty numbers against the Falcons. He completed 32 of his 40 passes (80% completion rate) for 291 yards (7.3 yards per attempt) and 4 touchdowns. He looked to have a good connection with both Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki while throwing touchdowns to Gesicki, Isaiah Ford, Mack Hollins, and Myles Gaskin.

    The problem is that the Dolphins would lose the game 30-28, and Tua’s mistakes would be a big part of the reason.

    Interceptions once again blighted Tua’s performance in Week 7

    Tua also threw a pair of frustrating interceptions that may have Miami fans thinking more about those Watson rumors. The first came with 43 seconds remaining in the first half and the Dolphins on the Atlanta 14. The Dolphins were trailing 10-7 at the time and in a position to head into the half tied up at 10-10.

    However, Jaylinn Hawkins picked off Tua in the end zone. From there, the Falcons would go down the field to kick a field goal and lead 13-7. That play had around a 15% swing in the game’s win probability.

    His second interception was the second time in two weeks Tua got a turnover from his defense and then immediately handed it back to the opposition. After a superb play from Xavien Howard, Tua got the ball on the Atlanta 32-yard line. However, he was intercepted by Foyesade Oluokun on the first play of the drive. Oluokun would take the ball back 56 yards and set the Falcons up for a touchdown. That play saw the biggest swing in win probability of the entire game (21%).

    That touchdown gave the Falcons a 27-14 lead. Even though Tua and the Dolphins would come back, the Falcons were able to kick a last-second field goal to win the game. Those two interceptions by Tua cost the Dolphins at least the 10 points the Falcons scored. If you include the potential field goal the first one presented, that is a 13-point swing.

    Tua’s inconsistency could encourage the Dolphins to make a move for Watson

    All of this will only increase the pressure on the Dolphins to make a move for Watson. Tua’s inconsistent play must have the Miami coaches and front office wondering if he is the man to lead them to success in the future. When he is clicking, the Dolphins’ offense looks smooth.

    Unfortunately, those moments are simply not coming often enough. Equally, two straight weeks where he gave the ball straight back to the opposition after his defense forced a turnover is tough to swallow. Turnovers are so crucial in the NFL, and Tua has wasted those golden moments in the last two weeks. That frustration could just push the Dolphins to decide to make a move for Watson ahead of the trade deadline.

    Ben is the Managing Editor at Pro Football Network. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can read all of Ben’s work here and follow him on Twitter: @BenRolfePFN.