The Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins and a third team are in trade negotiations that could ultimately send quarterback Deshaun Watson to the Dolphins and current Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to a third team, according to an NFL source.
There has been significant movement in the talks between the Texans and Dolphins in recent days, which occurred even as the Dolphins sunk to a 1-5 record with five consecutive losses to start this season.
But no deal has been consummated, in part, because the Dolphins have been discussing potentially moving Tagovailoa to a third team in a separate deal that would return to them draft choice compensation they can use either in the Watson deal or to replace draft picks they would send to Houston.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told OutKick the Dolphins and Texans can be portrayed as being “optimistic” a deal send Watson to Miami will indeed be consummated by the Nov. 2 trade deadline.
The source also told OutKick the deal between the Dolphins and the third team is apparently more complicated and not nearly as close to being fully worked out, which is one reason for a delay and a possible hangup.
The Dolphins, it should be noted, are no strangers to doing trades involving multiple teams. They traded away their No. 3 overall selection for multiple first-round picks, including the No. 12 overall selection in the 2021 draft. Minutes later, the Dolphins traded that No. 12 pick and their first-round pick next year to Philadelphia to move back up to the No. 6 overall selection.
The Houston Chronicle was the first to report Wednesday that the talks between the Dolphins and Texans had intensified and added the deal could be done as early as this week.
It makes sense for the Dolphins to seek a third team that would take Tagovailoa, the No. 5 overall selection in the 2020 draft.
It would be awkward for the entire locker room to have supported Tagovailoa the past year since he’s been the starter, and then see general manager Chris Grier and coach Brian Flores, who have also publicly stood behind Tagovailoa, bring in a new starting quarterback.
So the Dolphins are looking for an exit strategy for Tagovailoa.
The problem is Tagovailoa is not a player the Texans covet, as Outkick reported weeks ago.
The Texans want draft pick compensation and their price for Watson has previously been three first-round picks, plus other considerations. It’s unclear if the Dolphins will be giving that high price for a player who’s short-term future is unclear.
Watson has been sued by 22 Houston area women who claim Watson made inappropriate advances, including of a sexual nature, during massage sessions the women provided. A total of 10 women have also filed criminal complaints against Watson for the same reasons.
Watson remains on the Texans’ roster but is inactive for every game. He has requested a trade and named the Dolphins as his top destination after the fact his previous No. 1 choice, the New York Jets, drafted Zach Wilson.
Watson has also said Carolina might be a team of interest to him and that team remains a very outside possibility should the deal with Miami collapse.
Tagovailoa, it should be noted, has played the role of the good soldier even as the people leading the Dolphins have been looking to replace him with Watson for months.
Asked Wednesday to give an account of the team’s mood amid Miami’s five-game losing skid, Tagovailoa willingly painted a rosy picture.
“I think everyone is just excited for a win,” he said. “Everyone wants to come to work. Everyone works hard. You can see it in the building. It’s just tough.
“You lose and you put all this work into it and no matter how much you put into it, the outcome hasn’t changed yet. I would say we’ve got a good group of guys. There’s really no negativity in the locker room.
“Guys are picking each other up. I think that’s what this league is all about. You’re going to make mistakes but it’s how you learn from it. We all have an opportunity for that – offensively, in the kicking game and then also defensively.”
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