Deshaun Watson trade rumors: Dolphins, Texans reportedly want to finalize deal before NFL trade deadline

The long-awaited Texans-Dolphins trade could finally be happening as early as this week, according to reports. Why a third team could get involved in pursuit for Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa.

Longtime NFL reporter John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, reported on Wednesday that the long-awaited Texans-Dolphins trade involving Deshaun Watson could finally be happening as early as this week.

“The Texans could finally be getting closer to trading quarterback Deshaun Watson to the Miami Dolphins — a team they play Nov. 7. Even though the NFL trading deadline isn’t until Nov. 2, a deal could go down this week, according to people familiar with the negotiations. If the Texans and Dolphins are unable to consummate the trade this week, they want to get it done by the league’s deadline. The Dolphins have been talking to the Texans about Watson off and on for months, and those talks have intensified into serious negotiations. After losing to Jacksonville in London — their fifth consecutive loss — the Dolphins seem more determined to finally execute the Watson trade.”

Miami has remained the most talked about and reported trade destination for Watson since his desire to leave Houston became public. And the reporting from McClain here seems to imply that the Dolphins still remain the favorite to land Watson in a trade.

NFL Insider Jeff Howe of The Athletic reported that the Texans have also spoken with the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles about a potential Watson deal.  

“In addition to the Dolphins, the Texans have had recent discussions with the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles, according to sources. However, the seriousness of those discussions — ranging from a casual conversation to actual trade negotiations — hasn’t been disclosed.”

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Are the Texans leaking the news of a trade with the Dolphins in order to get other teams involved prior to the trade deadline? It certainly wouldn’t hurt. Trading arguably the best player to suit up for your team in the last decade is not ideal. So, receiving the best return in a deal is the top priority for the Texans.

The Texans may also be reportedly speaking with other teams to leverage the Dolphins into giving up more assets in a Watson deal. Texans general manager Nick Caserio’s asking price has been three first-round picks, as well as two second-rounders, in exchange for Watson, according to McClain.

The delay in a trade being finalized could be based on a number of factors – one being the status of current Dolphins quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa. The consensus amongst those who cover the team seems to be that the Texans have ‘no interest’ in Tua being a part of a Watson trade package.

Some may be surprised by the news, but if Houston feels strongly about rookie quarterback Davis Mills, it could make some sense. The Texans are looking for strong draft assets in a Watson transaction to give themselves a plethora of options heading into next year’s 2022 draft.

Next year’s quarterback class isn’t jaw-dropping by any means. But if Houston heads into the draft with multiple day one and day two picks, the front office in Houston – led by Nick Caserio – would have ample flexibility.

The Dolphins trading Tua Tagovailoa to a team like the Washington Football Team for further draft assets makes the most sense here. The bigger question is what draft capital the Texans are requiring in a deal with Miami – and what draft capital would Miami be requiring in a Tua deal.

Outside of Washington, rumors have been hot and cold on other teams’ interest in Tua – the Denver Broncos specifically. I would expect more teams to show interest in a trade for Tua, but there’s truly no way of knowing what Miami’s asking price is in a deal. A conditional third-round pick that could become a second-rounder would be a starting point in conversations, if I had to guess.

The questions won’t stop when and if Watson is traded, however.

Watson is still facing 22 active civil lawsuits accusing of him sexual misconduct and sexual assault in various massage appointments. Watson has denied any wrongdoing and has remained predominantly silent since the accusations were brought to light. In addition to the civil lawsuits, back on July 26th Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, stated that at least ten women have filed complaints with Houston Police.

The league has reportedly continued its investigation into the accusations. Tony Buzbee, the attorney representing the plaintiffs in the civil suits, said in August that ten of his clients had already met with league investigators.

As of today, Watson would be eligible to play for whichever team acquirees him in a trade with the Texans. But I’d be a little surprised if the NFL allowed such events to occur. A more probable outcome would be Watson being placed on the commissioners exempt list promptly when a trade became official.

The NFL trade deadline is November 2nd.