ESPN’s Chris Mortensen sent the Miami Dolphins fanbase into a craze this week with speculation that Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, unhappy with the amount of input the team has given him in the search for their new general manager and head coach, would “consider” a trade to the Dolphins. Forget 2020 fifth-overall pick Tua Tagovailoa, the Dolphins could land a top tier quarterback and solve all their problems in one fell swoop. Miami instantly would become a Super Bowl contender, and everything would be right in the football world again.
Except, would it?
Look, this is not saying Watson is not a great quarterback entering the prime of his career. This is not saying I would not love to see Watson in aqua. This is not saying the Dolphins should immediately dismiss the idea of Watson joining the club
This is saying, maybe take a minute and breathe before going all-in on Watson. You see, adding Watson is not just signing a player. Adding Watson would come via a trade. And, in a trade, something has to go back to the other side. And, the Texans have no reason to make it cheap for Miami to acquire Watson.
There is a threat that Watson could sit out, skipping camp or even games, because he is so unhappy with the Texans not listening to him more in their GM search. In January. Nine months before games matter. As ESPN’s Dan Graziano wrote this morning, “I am calling this an overreaction, because there’s a possibility the Texans figure out a way to smooth things over with him, and that’s a more likely outcome than a trade.” The Texans will smooth things over with Watson well before this becomes an issue on the season.
Even if they cannot, however, what does it serve the Texans to trade Watson? If he sits out, they fine him. If he misses games, they recoup salary cap space. If he misses the entire year, he still remains under contract with the Texans.
Which brings us to compensation. There is no way the Texans will part with Watson for just Tagovailoa in return. No matter how much potential Tagovailoa has, Watson has already shown he is an elite quarterback. They are going to ask for the moon. Because, why would you not?
Houston should come in strong, looking for Tagovailoa, both of Miami’s first-round picks this year, including Houston’s original pick at third overall, and something else. What other enticing asset does Miami have? Xavien Howard. Why would you not ask for Howard if you were the Texans? A young player who is clearly entering his prime, leading the NFL in interceptions and was named a First-Team All-Pro? Sounds like a great demand.
Even if Howard is not included, Miami giving up Tagovailoa and their two first round picks brings us to one simple question. Was Tagovailoa the biggest issue for the Dolphins’ offense this year? Or was it a lack of weapons surrounding Tagovailoa? If you think it was the quarterback, then yes, Watson is clearly the need. If you think it was other pieces, then those two first-round picks suddenly become a huge need.
Watson in aqua would be amazing. But, that would be a tough pill to swallow. This is not to say Watson is not an elite quarterback, but you may already have one and just need to add the pieces around him.
What good is adding Watson, if you are not going to surround him with pieces to succeed?
Are they trying to be the Miami Texans?