Editors Note: This is not an article advocating for the Miami Dolphins to Trade for Deshaun Watson, merely a speculation of what could happen if they did.
With NFL training camp just on the horizon, this offseason has had it’s fair share of rumors regarding quarterbacks.
Yesterday, madness ensued with an update tweet regarding Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson’s trade request.
This offseason has one full of controversy and civil court cases for Watson. He currently faces allegations or lawsuits from 24 different women for sexual assault. Some of these women have also brought threats of criminal cases over Watson’s conduct.
With cases coming in since March (when lawyer Tony Buzbee announced he was filing suit), many have wondered why Watson hasn’t settled with the his accusers.
One of the reasons is that Watson doesn’t want a non-disclosure agreement, per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. Watson, believing that he is innocent, wants to be able to tell his side of the story. This action would be illegal if an NDA was agreed to.
But Watson potentially has punishments waiting for him outside of the court room. While he hasn’t been put on the commissioner’s exempt list, that is a possibility. This would make it unable to Watson to play until he is removed from the list.
Another disciplinary action the NFL could take is a suspension, which seems like the most likely scenario.
Due to the severity of the case, the NFL could have Watson sit out several games.
Missing part of the upcoming season could diminish Watson’s trade value, but Houston hasn’t lowered their demands. The team is rumored to be looking for “5 high picks and starting caliber players”.
With the rumors spreading of the Texans receiving calls, and Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s divisive season, many have inquired what it would take to acquire Watson.
Miami is rumored to have real interest, and insiders have gone far enough to say that they are the favorite to land him, as he likes what he has seen from the defense and would like to play with former Texans receiver Will Fuller V again.
The compensation that Houston could potentially receive for Watson really depends on the situation and where he says that he will play.
Currently, Watson has a no trade clause in his contract. The Texans QB can dictate where he would and would not want to play, and Miami seems to be on his short list.
If Watson indicates that he only wants to play for the Dolphins, his trade value would diminish, as they know they couldn’t take offers from other teams. But it couldn’t be too low, as Houston could always choose to keep him for now, as he has 5 years left on his contract, with a potential opt out in 2023.
But what would the realistic package be?
Based on the asking price, a good starting point would be QB Tua Tagovailoa and CB Xavien Howard, the latter of which has been rumored to be moved as he and Miami are in a stalemate on a contract extension.
The Texans new General Manager, Nick Caserio has reportedly had interest in Howard since he arrived in Houston.
Coming from the New England system that produced Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores, Caserio knows the value in building the defense from the back end, starting with lock-down corners like Howard.
As for Tagovailoa, he showed promise in the 9 games he played, going 6 and 3 as a starter, and the Texans could look to recoup a young potential franchise QB when trading away their current one.
However, it wouldn’t be enough, as Houston also wants picks to set themselves up for the future, as they don’t look to be in “win-now mode”.
While Houston is looking for 5 picks, that value would have to come down significantly for Miami to make the deal, and it probably would if Houston’s options are limited.
Howard’s value alone seems to be in the neighborhood of 1 or 2 first round picks, and Tagovailoa was drafted with a top 5 pick just last year. But that wouldn’t be quite enough, as Houston looks at a rebuiild.
With that in mind, a deal that I believe could bring Watson to Miami is as follows:
Xavien Howard, Tua Tagovailoa, Miami’s 2022 first round pick (via SF), Miami’s 2023 first round pick, and their 2022 3rd round pick.
With this package, Houston gets a cornerback widely regarded as one of the best in the league, a young quarterback to build around, and picks to build with, brightening their future that is now looked at as bleak, jump-starting their rebuild.
As for Miami, they would now have a top 5 QB in Watson, a defense that finished 4th in scoring behind the coaching of Brian Flores, and a new and improved offense with new weapons and lineman.
While we are still early on in Deshaun Watson’s investigation and camp is just beginning, the rumors will start to spread like wild fire. More and more teams will look into the process of acquiring the young QB, and trade packages like the one mentioned above will start to form. Only time will tell where Watson goes, but we will be following it with a close eye, knowing that the Dolphins could make the deal when the time is right.
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