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Dolphins GM: 'Door Is Shut' on Deshaun Watson Trade; Miami Believes in Tua Tagovailoa

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVMarch 3, 2022

AP Photo/Justin Rex_file

Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said the "door is shut" on the team's possible pursuit of Deshaun Watson during a meeting with reporters Wednesday.

Grier added the Dolphins plan to move forward with Tua Tagovailoa as their starting quarterback. Miami was regularly linked in Watson trade rumors throughout the 2021 season; the Dolphins were the only franchise the three-time Pro Bowler agreed to waive his no-trade clause for to facilitate a deal, according to Aaron Wilson for Texans Daily.

Watson requested a trade from the Houston Texans last offseason but sat out the 2021 campaign after 22 women filed lawsuits against him alleging sexual assault and misconduct. The lawsuits remain pending, and Watson is the subject of ongoing criminal investigations as well.

It's unlikely any team will trade for Watson until his legal situation is sorted.

The Dolphins drafted Tagovailoa with the No. 5 pick in the 2020 draft, and he's had an up-and-down first two NFL seasons. The Alabama product threw for 2,653 yards and 16 touchdowns against 10 interceptions in 2021, flashing pinpoint accuracy on underneath throws but a lack of willingness to take chances down the field.

New Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel told Marcel Louis-Jacques of ESPN that he expects Tagovailoa to have success in his offensive scheme, which is predicated on throws that give receivers the freedom to make plays after the catch. 

"What I've seen is a skill set that I'm familiar with, that's very successful in this offense. You're seeing a very accurate passer that receivers love to catch footballs from — tight spirals and accurate throws, which are huge for run after the catch and YAC yardage. What that means for an offense is if you have people who can run after the catch, that's an outstanding skill set for him.
"I also see some great athleticism, some natural pocket movement and really, a tough competitor that's willing to stand in there when necessary. All of these things that are components to a quarterback's game that are very important in NFL systems."

The investment level in Tagovailoa has waxed and waned over his first two years, with former coach Brian Flores benching him on a number of occasions in 2020 and the team openly flirting with acquiring Watson last season. Grier didn't give Tagovailoa the most rousing endorsement Wednesday either, saying, "I can't say he can't be," when asked if Tua could develop into an elite quarterback.

What is clear is that Tagovailoa will go into the 2022 season given a full chance to thrive under McDaniel. If he doesn't, bets are likely off going into next offseason. 

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