Dolphins try to distance themselves from Deshaun Watson without ruling out a trade

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The Miami Dolphins and Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson have been linked for months. As the time approaches for the Texans to move him off the roster via trade or pay him $10.54 million to not play, two important things have not happened.

First, the Texans have not said unequivocally and unconditionally that they’ll keep him on the team this year and not pay him. (They reportedly are “prepared” to keep him on the 53-man roster, pay him, and deactivate him every week. That sounds like an effort to create leverage, not a clear statement of intent.) Second, the Dolphins have not said that they have no interest in Watson.

The tampering rules prevent teams from expressing interest in a player under contract with another team. The tampering rules do not forbid a team from saying, “We have no interest in that player.” The Dolphins, fully aware of the reports linking the team to Watson, could easily put out the fire by saying, “We have no interest in that player.”

The heat didn’t increase over the weekend regarding a possible trade because people were bored. At a time when I already was hearing chatter that a trade could happen, I reached out to a high-level source with an NFL team to obtain confirmation that, in order to put Watson on revocable IR, the Texans would have to put him on the initial 53-man roster. The response was, “Yes.” Followed by, “He’s getting traded next week,” with the Dolphins and Panthers believed to be the two finalists.

While we didn’t couch it with the same clarity that the source did in our story on the subject, that’s why we wrote what we wrote on Saturday. Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports took it a step farther, reporting that the Dolphins have emerged as the frontrunners to land Watson.

Robinson applied more clarity today. “My Watson reporting is from high-level sourcing in five teams: #Dolphins, #Texans, #Broncos, #Eagles, #Panthers and inside Watson’s camp. I challenge the Dolphins to state on the record that they haven’t spoken to Houston about a Watson deal in camp.”

The question isn’t whether the Dolphins want Watson. They do, for the right price. The Texans want to unload Watson, for the right price. For now, the two circles on the Venn diagram remain separated. Soon, they’ll either move toward each other or they won’t.

The most fair outcome continues to be the simple formula expressed earlier today on PFT Live. For 2022, the Texans get a third-round pick if Watson is available to play in fewer than eight regular-season games in 2021. They get a second round pick if he’s available to play in eight to 12 regular-season games in 2021. They get a first-round pick if he’s available to play in 13 or more regular-season games in 2021. That same conditional approach would apply to the 2023 draft based on the 2022 season, and to the 2024 draft based on the 2023 season.

That would give Houston up to three first-round picks, and it would account for the inherent uncertainty created by the legal proceedings. That uncertainty remains, whether Watson stays with the Texans or gets traded. The best way to account for the potential impact of the civil cases, the criminal complaints, and the likelihood of a league-imposed suspension even if everything is resolved in his favor (Watson’s camp expects something in the range of six to eight games) is to tie the picks to availability, over multiple seasons.

If the Texans want to trade Watson and if the Dolphins want to secure his services, a compromise like this seems necessary. Whether a compromise like that happens remains to be seen.

26 responses to “Dolphins try to distance themselves from Deshaun Watson without ruling out a trade

  1. The organization’s belief in Tua has to be low to try and get Watson at this point.


  2. Go get him. Dolphins can’t draft anyways. Who cares about picks. If he has to sit out two years the Dolphins will lose so many games they’ll get a top first round pick anyways and at that point draft a QB. Worth the risk.

  3. Who wants a guy with his reputation? Why throw your own franchise under the bus while you can simply move along. Yes Watson is a good QB but what he did, seemingly so many times, is inexcusable.

  4. I don’t understand the logic behind this for the Miami Dolphins….the Texans and Dolphins will be basically trading QBs and the Texans possibly getting back 3 1st round picks too. There’s no guarantee DeShaun Watson even plays this upcoming season.

  5. Hard to imagine a team wanting a new QB when the one they have is so darn accurate.

    Pin point accurate.

    Mike Gesicki is about to have a monster year.

  6. A totally classless and dysfunctional Bush League organization. Always has been. But Steelers fans celebrate “Big” Ben and Cravens celebrate Ray Lewis, so don’t come here throwing stones. And Bronco & Colt fans don’t forget your big hero pouncing on his trainer and rubbing his junk in her face, so you can shut up as well. All classless orgs. And Dallas fans? Two words: Greg Hardy. And two more: Zeke Elliott – he’s a leader…

  7. Flores and Grier gonna burn down everything they built if they make this move. You do not come in and tell your fanbase we are going to rebuild the right way and then ship off multiple 1s and 2s.

    But hey Davie hasn’t did much of anything right since Marino retired.

  8. The Dolphins front office should give Tua a full year before looking elsewhere, especially in such a murky and costly situation as the one related to Watson.
    Let’s not forget that Tua has had a major injury, and yes, the possibility is there for him, to take a leap this year.

  9. This is a non story, every team should be interested in Deshaun Watson if for nothing else but a late round pick to flip him next year. He’s not playing this year more than likely and the Dolphins aren’t giving up a first round pick for him, let alone 3.

  10. There’s no real reason for the Dolphins not to deny this fully. Well, there is 1 reason. They are pretty hot for Watson and playing a game of chicken with the Texans.
    If Miami sell the farm for him, Watson will find himself in a talent starved team again.

  11. I live in Watson’s hometown and know people in his family. He will be a Dolphin within 96 hours.

  12. Keep guessing everybody. Nothing is happening until the trade is good for both parties. No way is it good for the Dolphins to give three or even two first round pics. That won’t happen.
    Watson is in the drivers seat on this one, and it will come down o a reasonable trade, or the Dolphins won’t bite.

  13. Tua will be just fine he finally had OTA’S and a full camp with no rehab and played well in the pre season. Josh Allen was really not good his first 2 years his 3rd year was his breakout year.

  14. Even IF not guilty of the accusations. You want this guy the face of your rebuild? They cant even win their own division.

  15. This wreaks more so of Houston’s desperation. They will call anyone who will listen; especially when that team is prone to listening, actually has draft capitol, and ‘some’ questions at QB. In reality it’s just noise. Miami is entering 2021 with a young healthy QB and plenty of young talent. Relax.

    GO Dolphins.

  16. sharpdressedfan17 says:
    August 30, 2021 at 4:58 pm

    I don’t understand the logic behind this for the Miami Dolphins….the Texans and Dolphins will be basically trading QBs and the Texans possibly getting back 3 1st round picks too. There’s no guarantee DeShaun Watson even plays this upcoming season.

    The Texans arent interested in Tua. They may be willing to take him along with the picks theyre asking for, but Ive read two reports that said they are not interested. Miami would love to dump Tua on them in exchange for of one of the 1st rounders I dont think the Texans just absolutely dont want Tua but more of they dont want Tua in place one of those 1st rounders. And if thats the case I cant say I blame them.

    I dont think they get 3 1sts at this point anyway. Its probably down to two 1sts plus other picks.

  17. Tua blows You know it. I know it. The Dolphins know it. If it ain’t Watson this year, it’s Brissett.

  18. I love it when a team doesn’t want to share their thoughts with the media so the media gets all hard up nd tris to twist the fact the team wont talk to them to mean anything. News flash, an NFL coach witholds his plans because he doesnt want people knowing, no other reason. Its certainly not a clue either way like this article is trying to make it.

  19. perfect72 says:
    August 30, 2021 at 6:51 pm
    I live in Watson’s hometown and know people in his family. He will be a Dolphin within 96 hours.


    Haha! Yeah and T6 has dinner every other Thursday with BB and Linda Holiday

  20. Great massages around Miami Beach… question, hypothetically let’s say the trade happens under the auspices of the formula shared by Florio above. Watson plays 5 games, is indicted and sentenced to whatever a judge deems appropriate. What’s would the Dolphins have to give the Texans as far as draft picks in that situation?

  21. “I live in Watson’s hometown and know people in his family.”

    Watson isn’t a free agent–it’d be the Texans and Dolphins agreeing to a trade so Watson himself likely wouldn’t know anything until the deal was done, let along family back in his hometown. And even if they did know I’m sure he’d love it for them to spread the word early and potentially derail the trade he’s been desperate for. “Gosh, Deshaun, sorry for the PR firestorm that killed that trade. Maybe I shouldn’t have told all these random townspeople about it?”

  22. Stick to your guns Houston! Can’t trade him for pennies on the dollar! If nobody wants to ante up then make him sit at home this year. Don’t care to do Watson nor the rest of the NFL any favors.

  23. The Texans want this, this, and that to trade DeShaun Watson. Right, and people in Hades want ice water. Any trade without “escape clauses” where the team receiving Watson can either modify the terms of the trade or have then declared null and void wouldn’t be smart. As I have said twice before if the Dolphins trade for Watson it will e the dumbest move since Wayne Huizenga allowed Jimmy Johnson selecting Dave Wanstead as his successor when he quit.

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