The Houston Texans seem determined to move Deshaun Watson before next month’s trade deadline and appear willing to do whatever is necessary to get the best possible price. That’s the most logical way to interpret a series of tweets coming out of the Houston media market late Wednesday afternoon again tying the Miami Dolphins to Watson. The Houston Chronicle was the first to report that a deal between the Dolphins and Texans “could go down this week, according to people familiar with the organization.”
Is Deshaun Watson deal in the works?
Others in the Houston market then reported nearly the same thing. Aaron Wilson of Sports Talk 790 added that there is a third franchise involved in another possible trade not involving Watson.
One QB-needy team that could have theoretically taken an interest in Tua is the Washington Football Team. However, Washington does not appear to be involved in trade discussions for Tua, at least at this time. WFT has not had any dialogue with either Houston or Miami and is not in on Tagovailoa, according to Sam Fortier of the Washington Post and Ben Standing of the Athletic.
The Dolphins have long been in on Watson trade talks. Miami has been in even after nearly two dozen massage therapists accused him of inappropriate (and even illegal) behavior.
The Texans want at least three first-round picks for Watson, but no team has yet to meet that price. While their stance could soften as we get closer to the November 2 trade deadline, Wednesday’s seemingly coordinated leaks suggest that they want the other 30 NFL teams to know this is their last chance to come to the table.
A complicating factor in all of this? Miami is a team in crisis after five straight losses, most recently to the Jacksonville Jaguars. General manager Chris Grier is presumably the one communicating with Nick Caserio, his counterpart in Houston. But there’s no guarantee Grier will even be on the job in three months.
Plus, the Dolphins like what they saw from Tua in his first game back from broken ribs. Tua completed 33 of 47 passes for 329 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception against the Jaguars.
Why do the Dolphins have interest in Deshaun Watson?
Watson is facing 22 civil lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault — it appeared that any potential trade would be put on hold. The 28-year-old quarterback, who inked a four-year, $156 million extension with the Texans in September 2020, has been inactive for every game so far this season as Houston has limped to a 1-5 record under new head coach David Culley.
The Dolphins, expected to be an AFC playoff contender, have struggled mightily and possess the same record as the Texans. After attempting to execute a rebuild strategy that involved acquiring multiple first-round picks, Grier and head coach Brian Flores could find themselves on the hot seat after failing to secure high-end talent with those draft selections.
While the Dolphins have holes all over their roster, Tua’s play has been subpar, to say the least. Tua, drafted one pick ahead of 2021 Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert, didn’t play well last year. Veteran signal-caller Ryan Fitzpatrick usurped Tua on more than one occasion. This year, he’s made only three starts while missing time with his aforementioned rib injury.
Watson has no-trade clause in contract
A number of NFL teams are linked to Watson in trade discussions. However, the Dolphins have always stood out as a likely candidate to acquire the veteran quarterback. Watson holds a full no-trade clause, but indications are he would accept a trade to Miami. Additionally, given the Dolphins’ lack of success this season, a Watson acquisition could signal a reset for the club. Such a move may allow Grier, Flores, and the rest of Miami’s leadership to retain their jobs.
In exchange for Watson, the Texans are reportedly asking for a mega-package that includes multiple first-round picks. While the Dolphins were at one point flush with extra draft capital, that’s no longer the case. Miami traded an extra first-round pick to move up for wide receiver Jaylen Waddle in the 2021 NFL Draft. Consequently, the Dolphins’ only additional picks in 2022 are in the fourth and fifth rounds.
On the field, Watson is a superstar, the type of quarterback who could reshape the Dolphins’ franchise. Watson has thrown for at least 3,800 yards and 25 touchdowns in each of his past three Pro Bowl-earning seasons. Displeased with the Texans following a 4-12 campaign, Watson requested a trade in January. This came after Houston’s general manager or head coach search did not involve Watson’s feedback. However, civil action against Watson put any trade talks on hold — until now.