The Houston Texans are now willing to listen to trade offers for disgruntled quarterback Deshaun Watson and the Dolphins have not eliminated themselves from the running, according to a source with direct knowledge.
While the Dolphins remain interested to see how Tua Tagovailoa develops, they also continue to do due diligence to see if landing the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback is realistic, the source said.
In other words, Tagovailoa’s improvement this offseason — and Watson’s ongoing legal issues — did not cause the Dolphins to decide that they definitely won’t pursue Watson. But whether they will make a highly aggressive bid remains to be seen.
A second league source who spoke with the Dolphins earlier this offseason said they privately conveyed an interest in Watson during the spring.
NFL Network reported Monday that the Texans are listening to offers for Watson, who has requested a trade, but that Houston wants at least three first-round picks and more. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, quoting two league sources, said the Texans want some combination of five high draft picks and starting caliber players.
Philadelphia might be in the best position to land Watson, thanks in part to the Dolphins, who sent their own first-round pick in 2022 to Philadelphia as part of the trade to move up from 12th to sixth in this year’s draft.
The Eagles have at least two first-round picks in next April’s draft and the strong possibility of having a third. The 2022 second-round pick that the Colts gave Philadelphia in the Carson Wentz trade can become a first-round pick if Wentz plays 75 percent of the snaps this season or if he plays 70 percent of the snaps and the Colts make the playoffs.
“The Dolphins traded the pick they needed to possibly get one of these QBs [such as Watson] if Tua isn’t the guy,” former Eagles president Joe Banner recently said on Twitter. “All to get the WR they prefer [Jaylen Waddle]. Great move by Eagles, big mistake by Dolphins. All in on Tua with no back up path.”
If the Dolphins decide to make an aggressive bid, they could offer San Francisco’s first-round pick in 2022 (which is the only first-round pick owned by the Dolphins in next year’s draft) and their own first-round pick in 2023 and the 49ers’ first-round pick in 2023, which is also owned by the Dolphins.
Watson reported to Texans’ training camp Sunday, reportedly to avoid a $50,000 daily fine. He faces 22 lawsuits from massage therapists that allege sexual assault and inappropriate behavior but has not been charged criminally.
The NFL is conducting an investigation but hasn’t said if he will suspended or if he will be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list.
Watson is due to make $10.5 million this season and is signed through 2025. He’s due $129 million over the next five seasons.
THIS AND THAT
Tight end Hunter Long, the Dolphins’ third-round pick, agreed to contract terms Monday.
Under the NFL’s rookie wage scale, Long is due to earn $4.97 million over four years, with a signing bonus worth $973,604.
▪ Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard, who did not participate in the team’s offseason program because he wants more money, has strongly been considering reporting for the start of training camp on Tuesday, according to an associate.
Though the Dolphins have not given him a raise, he would face a $50,000 daily fine if he holds out of training camp. The source said he remains unhappy about his contract but also realizes that he doesn’t ultimately control the situation because he has four years remaining on a five-year, $75.5 million extension signed in May 2021.
Howard has been training hard with the intention of playing this season. His agent, David Canter, declined to say if he will report to training camp.
▪ The Dolphins signed former Falcons tight end Carson Meier and waived tight end Jibri Blount with an injury settlement. Meier, undrafted out of Oklahoma in 2019, spent time with the Jaguars after the draft and played one game for the Falcons in 2019 before being cut following training camp in 2020.
Blount played only basketball - not football - at North Carolina Central and was Miami’s latest outside the box tight end experiment.