The Miami Dolphins may be the only team that can pull off a trade for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. Rumors have pitted the Dolphins against other teams, with the Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers believed to be interested in trying to land the 2017 first-round pick, but, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Dolphins may be the only team who can make the deal.
Watson has a no-trade clause in his contract, allowing him to veto any deal Houston tries to make. According to Rapoport, Watson has “only waived his no-trade clause for the Dolphins.” Of course, that does not mean he would not waive it for another team, but as of now, it appears it is Miami or no one for Houston if they want to get out from under Watson’s contract.
Rapoport also adds that, according to his sources, Panthers owner David Tepper and the team are “not expected to pursue” a trade for Watson.
The Dolphins need to know this and ensure their trade proposal, if they are indeed trying to get Watson to Miami, reflects that they may be the only team who can trade for the quarterback.
Of course, as we have discussed plenty on the site, there is more to any trade for Watson than just the compensation being sent back to Houston. Watson is facing 22 allegations of sexual assault and misconduct in civil court, with a criminal investigation on going. Yesterday, at the NFL owners meeting, league commissioner Roger Goodell indicated the league is still watching what is happening with those allegations, but that they do not yet have any information that would lead to them preventing Watson from playing. He did not rule out placing Watson on the Commissioner's Exempt List or suspending him later.
There were also reports yesterday that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross would approve a trade for Watson, but wants the legal issues resolved prior to agreeing to any deal.
If any trade is to be accomplished this season, the Dolphins and Texans need to finalize it before 4pm ET on Tuesday. After that deadline, no deal can be executed until the start of the new league year in March.