The Dolphins have not reached the postseason since 2016, and they have not won a playoff since 2000. If the front office pulls off this trade, it could realistically reverse their misfortune.
Deshaun Watson would be an upgrade of Tua Tagovailoa
The Miami Dolphins are the preferred trade destination for Deshaun Watson, and they have emerged as the favorite, per Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports on Twitter.
Watson has spent the past four seasons with the Texans, who drafted the signal-caller in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Off the field concerns aside, it’s easy to understand why the Dolphins would want to trade for him.
Miami drafted Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft out of Alabama. It was an up-and-down year for the first-year player. The team mishandled the quarterback situation with Ryan Fitzpatrick. It came as no surprise that Tagovailoa became the starter, but the Dolphins might have done it too soon.
The Dolphins pulled the young quarterback late in games on multiple occasions as the moment appeared to be too big for him. Tagovailoa’s raw talent is undeniable, but confidence or lack thereof seemed to be an issue in 2020.
Watson would be an instant upgrade over Tagovailoa. In four seasons, he’s racked up 14,539 passing yards, 104 touchdowns, and just 36 interceptions. He’s the only player in NFL history with two consecutive seasons of more than 25 passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns.
The Clemson product is a dual-threat and would bring a different dimension to the Dolphins offense that Tagovailoa cannot provide.
The Miami Dolphins have an improved arsenal on offense
Watson played with All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins for three seasons in Houston. Still, in Miami, he’d have the best offensive assets of his career. Hopkins is arguably the best receiver in the NFL, but the Dolphins boast a more complete group of skill position players.
Will Fuller, another former Texan, would be reunited with his old quarterback. Injuries have previously held the duo back from reaching its full potential. However, Fuller is an explosive downfield threat and can stretch the field.
The Dolphins are excited about speedster Jaylen Waddle, who they selected with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The Alabama product is a game-breaker. He can run crisp routes at all three levels and is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenders with his blazing speed.
In Fuller and Waddle, Watson would have two pass-catcher who ran a sub-4.4 40-yard dash. The Dolphins have larger big-body targets as well. DeVante Parker had a slow start to his NFL career and has battled injuries, but he’s shown promise. He caught 72 passes for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns.
Tight end Mike Gesicki is coming into his own and has built chemistry with Tagovailoa. There’s no reason why he can’t do the same with Watson. He’s one of the better athletes at the position and is yet another receiver who can stretch the field.
Miami’s backfield looks like it will utilize a committee approach, which Watson is used to, as he’s never played with a stud running back. Myles Gaskin flashed his talent in 2020 and does possess the skill set of a future three-down bask.
The Texans’ asking price could be the only roadblock to a Deshaun Watson deal
Striking a deal with the Houston Texans doesn’t seem like the easiest thing to do these days. General manager Nick Caserio previously said the team would not trade Watson. The Texans have a track record of being stubborn and will surely drive a hard bargain before letting go of the three-time Pro Bowler.
Houston’s asking price for Watson is lofty. They’re seeking three first-round picks and two second-rounders in any deal involving the Gainesville, Georgia native. It’s unlikely that any team will be willing to give up that haul, especially given the ongoing FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations. Miami has some assets to bargain with, including Tagovailoa.
The Dolphins finished with a 10-6 regular season record and just missed the postseason in 2020. They could be adding a top-10 quarterback in the league.
If Miami lands Deshaun Watson and he indeed does play in 2021, this could be a playoff team. They just missed the postseason in 2020 and would be adding a top-10 quarterback in the league.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference