Deshaun Watson Trade Rumors: Dolphins Seen as 'Front-Runner' for Texans QB

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2021

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) smiles as he celebrates a touchdown as he points skyward with his index finger during an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Matt Patterson)
Matt Patterson/Associated Press

The Miami Dolphins have emerged as the "most likely" team to complete a blockbuster trade for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, according to Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald.

"The chatter is getting louder," an NFL source told Beasley. "Watson feels like the situation [in Houston] is unfixable, and Miami is seen as the front-runner behind the scenes."

It could become a battle between AFC East rivals for Watson. Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network reports that speculation at the Senior Bowl this week suggests the "smart money" is on the New York Jets.

That doesn't come as a surprise. ESPN's Jeremy Fowler previously noted the Dolphins and Jets were in the best position to make a strong offer to Houston because of their large stockpiles of draft picks, including two selections apiece in the first round of the 2021 draft.

Miami holds picks No. 3 and No. 18 after selecting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth selection in the 2020 draft.

Tagovailoa endured an up-and-down rookie campaign in his return to football after suffering a major hip injury during his final year at Alabama. He completed 64.1 percent of his throws for 1,814 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions in 10 games (nine starts). He added three rushing scores.

While those are solid numbers, especially when factoring in his recovery from the injury, the Dolphins would be unlikely to pass up an opportunity to trade for Watson.

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The Texans starter ranked second in passer rating (112.4) in 2020 despite the offseason trade of star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and a suspension to new top target Will Fuller V.

Miami, which missed the playoffs despite a 10-6 record in 2020, could view Watson as the missing piece in its push to become a serious contender in the AFC. The Jets have more work to do in their rebuilding efforts before reaching that level.

That said, the Texans have yet to suggest they're considering offers for the three-time Pro Bowler, who's under contract with the organization through 2025.