The Dolphins Shutting the Door on Deshaun Watson Reveals Their True Feelings About Tua Tagovailoa
For much of the 2021 NFL season, the conversation around the Miami Dolphins was regarding their perceived interest in Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. Several outlets were reporting the Dolphins were intensely interested in the controversial Houston QB, and Watson himself was reportedly intrigued with the idea of playing under former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores.
All the way up to the closing moments of the NFL trade deadline, the Dolphins were being painted as the eventual landing spot for Watson. However, the deadline came and went, and Watson remained a member of the Texans. The Dolphins then went on to fire Flores after the regular season ended, which resulted in many speculating whether Miami was still in the mix for Watson.
Now, we have our answer.
The Dolphins officially closed the door on trading for Deshaun Watson
Speaking with the media in Indianapolis on March 2, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier was asked if the Dolphins were still in pursuit of Watson. Grier — surprisingly — gave a pretty straightforward answer.
“The door is shut on Deshaun,” Grier said.
Of course, NFL general managers are rarely honest people. It’s part of their job description to lie and deceive the media and fellow front-office executives. However, if you connect the dots on the Dolphins’ offseason, it does appear the franchise is moving on from Watson and moving forward with third-year QB Tua Tagovailoa.
Since taking the job, Miami’s new head coach Mike McDaniel has done nothing but rave about Tagovailoa. The Dolphins’ social media team is hyping up Tagovailoa. The same reporters who stated Miami’s interest in Watson are now reporting the Dolphins are recommitting to Tagovailoa. It certainly appears Miami is back on the Tua bandwagon.
However, Grier’s comments on Watson give us more information than it appears.
Chris Grier’s comments reveals the Dolphins were never sold on Tua
By stating the door to pursue Watson is currently closed, Grier reveals the door was open at one point. This tells us all the reports and rumors leading up to the trade deadline were accurate. The Dolphins were intensely interested in Watson.
More importantly, the Dolphins were willing to abandon Tagovailoia for Watson after less than two seasons.
What does this tell us about the Dolphins’ relationship with Tagovailoa? It tells us that it’s never been great. Sure, the Dolphins are currently committed to Tagovailoa for the 2022 season. However, there’s no guarantee it will stay that way. If Miami was willing to dump him before, it will (presumably) be willing to dump him again if things get rough.
What next for Miami, Tua?
Optimism is always high in the offseason. Miami has a new head coach, a ton of cap space, and a fresh start for their first-round quarterback.
However, if we consider that the Dolphins just publicly confirmed their year-long interest in Watson, things don’t look as promising in Miami.
The pressure is on Tagovailoa. He needs to have a massive season in 2022 to regain the trust of Miami’s front office and owner. If he falters, it’s hard to imagine the Dolphins giving him a fourth year to prove himself. They were inches away from replacing him in 2021. They can’t be far off from doing the same again.
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