MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — The story line has not changed over the last couple of months, nor did Miami coach Brian Flores’ answer on Friday from when he was first asked about the future of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa months ago.
“Tua’s our quarterback,” Flores said.
That’s not in dispute — for now, at least.
The NFL trade deadline is about a week and a half away. And the calendar getting closer to Nov. 2 combined with Miami on a five-game losing streak means it was inevitable that the buzz suggesting that the Dolphins may be looking to acquire embattled Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson — who has been accused of sexual assault and harassment in lawsuits filed by 22 women, but not charged — would get louder.
The Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday, citing unnamed sources, that the Texans and Dolphins “have intensified their efforts to consummate” a deal for Watson, who has been seeking a trade since at least January. The lawsuits prompted investigations from the NFL and, according to an attorney representing the women suing Watson, the FBI, among others.
“We’re happy with the quarterback, our quarterback situation, and I’ll leave it at that,” Flores said. “Which is what I’ve said multiple times.”
Tagovailoa — who missed nearly four full games this season with fractured ribs, a problem he’s still playing through — is 7-5 as a starter in parts of two seasons in Miami, completing 64% of his passes with 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Among all quarterbacks since the start of last season, with at least five starts, Tagovailoa ranks 31st in passer rating (87.0) and 39th in yards per game (181.4).
“I think his preparation, the way he practices and the way he performs has been good,” Flores said. “I thought he played very well last week. He was out for a couple of games, for a few games, and he came back and played, I thought, very well last week. I think his psyche is in a good place. He’s a confident kid. He’s a tough kid.”
Watson, who signed a $156 million, four-year extension that is scheduled to begin next season, averaged 301.4 yards per game last season with a 112.4 rating and led the NFL with 4,823 yards passing. He has not played this season following the trade demand and the unresolved legal issues.
Flores said the ongoing trade chatter, on top of a five-game slide, isn’t affecting the Dolphins at practice or meetings. The Dolphins (1-5) host Atlanta (2-3) on Sunday.
“Our focus is on Atlanta,” Flores said. “And that’s really where our focus should be.”
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Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press