If the Texans are serious about unloading Deshaun Watson before this year’s trade deadline, they may be down to one interested suitor. The Dolphins appear to be bidding against themselves for the embattled quarterback, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports notes.
In addition to Watson’s off-field trouble, his no-trade clause limits the Texans. Watson is not believed to be interested in being dealt to Philadelphia, Jones adds, while Carolina’s interest cooled months ago. Indeed, the Texans’ conversations with the Panthers did not get far, Joe Person of The Athletic notes (subscription required).
The Panthers were perhaps the most interested Watson suitor before his off-field issues surfaced. Once the 22 accusations of sexual assault and/or sexual misconduct became tied to his future, the Dolphins have been the only team connected. Despite Brian Flores continuing to indicate confidence in Tua Tagovailoa, owner Stephen Ross‘ interest in Watson has complicated Miami’s quarterback situation. If Watson is to be dealt before this year’s Nov. 2 deadline, the Ross component would seemingly be what drives such a transaction.
The Carolina and Philadelphia conversations getting out this week may be a last-ditch Houston effort to push Miami to up its offer. The Texans set a historically high asking price for their talented quarterback — three first-rounders and two seconds. But with the Dolphins being the lone team expressing true interest, that stands to drive down the price. That is, unless the Texans are willing to table a trade until 2022.
It would seem that is Houston’s best chance at receiving full value for Watson, whose off-field troubles obviously have a better chance of being resolved by next season. The Texans have deactivated Watson for six games. Doing so for 11 more, thus erasing the QB’s age-26 season, and regrouping for a 2022 sweepstakes — when more teams figure to be in the mix — would make sense. The Texans having that card to play could induce the Dolphins to increase their offer now.
If the Dolphins are to acquire Watson now, the NFL may be forced to act regarding the commissioner’s exempt list. While the 81-year-old Ross is believed to be in win-now mode, the Dolphins — at 1-5 — are unlikely to contend this season. A move before Nov. 2 may be about landing Watson for 2022 and beyond, Jones offers, though a suspension next season likely looms.
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