Deshaun Watson Trade Rumors: Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross 'Really Wants' Texans QB

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 31, 2021

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 03: Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans in action against the Tennessee Titans during a game at NRG Stadium on January 03, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross reportedly "really wants" to complete a trade for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported Tuesday that the teams haven't been able to reach an agreement because the Texans aren't moving off their sky-high asking price, which includes three first-round draft picks and two second-round selections.

The Dolphins later denied the report, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:

Barry Jackson @flasportsbuzz

Dolphins are pushing back on Mike Florio report that Steve Ross "really wants" Deshaun Watson. Dolphins just now tell local reporters that Ross "does not force football decisions" and "believes in Tua." I believe that to be true; but it doesn't make Florio's report wrong, either.

Barry Jackson @flasportsbuzz

Dolphins also now adding that Florio report is "inaccurate".. The team does not want to unequivocally state that there's no Watson interest from Miami (and they shouldn't because why close a door?). Charles Robinson continuing to stand by report of Fins pursuit of Watson.

Watson's short-term availability is uncertain because of ongoing investigations related to 22 civil lawsuits and 10 criminal complaints filed against him by women who allege sexual assault and sexual misconduct during massage sessions dating back to March 2020.

The Texans are unwilling to reduce their demands because of Watson's on-field success, which established him as one of the NFL's best quarterbacks and will make him a valuable player whenever he returns to the field "whether in 2022, 2023 or 2024," according to Florio.

In turn, Houston's front office isn't rushing to make a deal and are on track to keep the 25-year-old Clemson product on its roster at least through the start of the regular season, per Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.

Watson requested a trade in January before the allegations became public.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins' immense interest in the three-time Pro Bowl selection comes as somewhat of surprise since they invested the fifth overall pick in the 2020 draft on quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Although the 23-year-old didn't produce many big plays as a rookie, his overall numbers were solid—64.1 percent completion rate with 14 total touchdowns (11 passing and three rushing) and five interceptions in 10 games—especially when you consider he was returning from a serious hip injury that cut his final college season at Alabama short.

Giving him at least another year, and probably two or three, to showcase progress would be the typical route with a top-five pick.

Instead it sounds like Miami would be willing to move on with Watson if the opportunity arose. On Saturday, Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson deemed the Dolphins the "front-runner" in the trade discussions.

It's a situation with a lot of variables because the NFL hasn't placed Watson on the commissioner's exempt list, so his status could change at any moment depending on the outcome of the investigations.

For now, Tagovailoa is the Dolphins starter as they prepare for their Week 1 clash at the New England Patriots on Sept. 12.