The Miami Dolphins reportedly weren't planning to trade quarterback Tua Tagovailoa this season, even if they acquired Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans before the trade deadline.
Jeff Howe of The Athletic reported Thursday that stance could change in the offseason if the Dolphins land a "no-doubt franchise QB," at which point they could look to move Tagovailoa for a Day 2 pick in the 2022 NFL draft.
Miami and Houston worked toward a potential blockbuster deal before the Nov. 2 deadline, but weren't able to reach a final agreement.
Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson reported Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wouldn't sign off on a trade unless the team received protections on the draft picks it was sending to the Texans depending on Watson's availability. The other option was for the quarterback to settle the 22 civil lawsuits filed against him by women alleging sexual assault or misconduct.
Watson didn't want to sign a settlement agreement because he felt it would signal an "admission of guilt," per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.
It's a situation that could be revisited in the offseason depending on the status of the civil lawsuits as well as the 10 criminal complaints filed against the Texans quarterback, including two from women who haven't filed civil lawsuits.
Meanwhile, Tagovailoa has endured an up-and-down second season with the Dolphins after being selected with the fifth pick in the 2020 draft.
The 23-year-old out of the University of Alabama has completed 65.3 percent of his throws for 1,198 yards with seven touchdowns and five interceptions in six games. He's added 62 rushing yards and three scores on the ground.
The Hawai'i native has recorded a modest 24 total touchdowns (18 passing and six rushing) across 16 career games, and the fact that the Dolphins made a serious run at Watson suggests they aren't totally sold on Tagovailoa as a long-term, championship-caliber franchise quarterback.
If Miami does make him available in the offseason, he'll likely attract interest as a recent top-five pick with some untapped potential, but getting a Day 2 selection in return as Howe reported would be a significant drop in value.
The Dolphins will hope Tagovailoa shines during the season's second half to either establish himself as their franchise signal-caller or bolster his trade value.