Deshaun Watson has a pecking order of teams he’d like to play for. Dolphins aren’t No. 1

Armando Salguero
·3 min read

Quarterback Deshaun Watson, unhappy with his situation with the Houston Texans, apparently has a ranking for which new team he’d like to play:

And, yes, he really wants to move to the AFC East.

But he prefers to play for the New York Jets.

And, second, he’d like to play for the Miami Dolphins.

In that order.

Watson this week told people the Jets are his top preference among the teams he’d like to be traded to because they hired Robert Saleh to be their coach and Watson values Saleh so much he wanted the Texans to interview him for their vacant head coach job.

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Watson confirmed reports, circulated for several weeks in national media, he’d also welcome playing for the Dolphins but said that is his second choice at this time.

Watson was in New York in recent days but it’s not clear if his time there had anything to do with football at all. Obviously, the Jets are headquartered in New Jersey and Dolphins owner Stephen Ross lives in New York but it would be tampering for them to be speaking or meeting with Watson without permission.

Saleh, who was the defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers the past four seasons, is a favorite of many players around the league.

Sherman, who played under Saleh with the 49ers, actually has advice for Watson on what he should do with his current situation in Houston: “I’d get out of there as quickly as possible, I’d head to New York,” Sherman said last week on the Cris Collinsworth podcast.

Both the Jets and the Dolphins currently have incumbent quarterbacks. But neither Sam Darnold in New York nor Tua Tagovailoa in Miami are proven stars nor have performed anywhere close to what Watson has for the Texans.

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Tagovailoa nonetheless was named the team’s 2021 starter by general manager Chris Grier two weeks ago. But Darnold has gotten no such certainty in New York from Saleh.

Saleh spoke well of Darnold at his introductory press conference with New York area reporters last week.

“What I can tell you about Sam is he’s got unbelievable arm talent,” Saleh said. “There’s a reason why he was the No. 3 pick in the draft. He’s fearless in the pocket, he’s got a natural throwing motion, he’s mobile, he’s extremely intelligent and he’s tough as nails. His reputation in the locker room is unquestioned.”

But Saleh stopped short of fully committing to the 23-year-old Darnold.

“We’re just getting the staff in the building,” Saleh said. “So there are so many things we have to do just from an evaluation standpoint in regards to the entire roster not just the quarterback. To give you that answer now would not be fair. There’s a lot of discussions that need to be had ...

“To give that answer right now would be premature..”

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Watson has not officially requested a trade from the Texans but his displeasure with the franchise over its direction as it undertook a general manager and head coach search is now public knowledge.

That displeasure has obviously risen to the point Watson has a pecking order of new teams he’d like to play for.

So the Deshaun Watson situation could become a two-edged sword for the Jets and Dolphins: Both could become interested in trading for Watson. And one could end up facing Watson twice every season.