Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores addressed rumors of his team's interest in Houston Texans star Deshaun Watson and reaffirmed his belief in incumbent starter Tua Tagovailoa.
Flores told reporters Sunday he's "very confident in Tua" and praised the second-year quarterback's work in training camp and the preseason.
The comments come after Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson reported the Dolphins have "emerged as the frontrunner in trade discussions with the Texans" regarding a deal for Watson.
The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson reported Saturday they "remain intrigued" by the trade but aren't "willing to meet Houston’s high asking price" right now. Per Robinson, the Texans are looking to get three first-round picks and two second-rounders.
As Watson's relationship with Houston deteriorated over the winter, Miami quickly emerged as one of the more plausible landing spots.
In addition to their own first-round picks, the Dolphins have the San Francisco 49ers' first-rounders in 2022 and 2023 after the Niners moved up to take Trey Lance in the 2021 draft. In addition to draft compensation, Tagovailoa could go the other way to give the Texans a new young quarterback around whom to build the offense.
Chris Mortensen @mortreport
Sources say Watson could play hardball with Texans about a trade. His new $156 million contract includes a no-trade clause but informed speculation from a source is that he would consider the <a href="https://twitter.com/MiamiDolphins?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MiamiDolphins</a> in which Tua Tagovailoa and additional compensation goes to Houston.
Watson's legal situation continues to overshadow his future with the Texans, though.
The three-time Pro Bowler is facing 22 lawsuits from women alleging sexual assault and misconduct. Ten women, two of whom haven't filed civil suits, have also filed formal complaints with police in Houston.
The NFL has yet to suspend Watson or place him on the commissioner's exempt list, so he could theoretically play in Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. But ESPN's Sarah Barshop posited a scenario in which he is active for each game and kept on the bench:
Outside The Lines @OTLonESPN
.<a href="https://twitter.com/sarahbarshop?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@sarahbarshop</a> tells <a href="https://twitter.com/JohnBarrESPN?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JohnBarrESPN</a> there's a chance Deshaun Watson could be a season-long healthy scratch <a href="https://t.co/POnwwQX726">pic.twitter.com/POnwwQX726</a>
All of that uncertainly would presumably table any serious trade negotiations for the time being. However, the Dolphins and Texans continue to talk based on Robinson's report.
That puts Tagovailoa in an unenviable position.
It's tough to draw too many conclusions about the 2020 first-round pick from his rookie season since his dislocated hip left him unable to enjoy a full preseason and training camp.
With a strong start to 2021, perhaps he can show the Dolphins front office that its pursuit of Watson is unnecessary.