The Houston Texans are all smiles today after their enormous season-opening victory against AFC South rival Jacksonville 37-21. Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw for 291 yards and two touchdowns, a performance which may have answered some questions about the team’s potential this season. But one massive, lingering question remains: what will the team do with embattled QB Deshaun Watson?
Watson was listed as a healthy scratch today as the Texans try to navigate a public relations minefield thanks to numerous accusations of sexual misconduct. There’s a chance that Watson could be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list until his legal troubles are resolved, but the NFL has been reluctant to get involved in the matter until the courts get involved. For now, the Texans are paying Watson to keep his head down while the team shops their former franchise quarterback before the November 2 trade deadline.
According to league insiders, the Dolphins, Eagles, Panthers, and Broncos showed the most interest in a potential trade during the summer. Those same teams still remain the most practical landing spots, especially if their respective quarterbacks don’t play well early this year.
The Dolphins, especially, seem to be ready to move on from former first round pick Tua Tagovailoa, though he started the season opener today versus the Patriots. Reports say that the Dolphins were actually ready to pull the trigger on a trade this summer for Watson, but thought that the asking price was too steep (rumored to be a combination of six players and/or picks).
Right now at halftime of the Dolphins, Patriots opener, Tua is 9/17 with 128 yards and no touchdowns, but the teams are tied 10-10. If Tua starts the season poorly, don’t be surprised to see the Dolphins pick that phone back up and give Houston another call. The trade would be a huge gamble for Miami, given the fact that Watson could be blacklisted at any time, but if he’s allowed to play, it would turn the Dolphins into an overnight playoff contender.