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A league source confirmed to PFF that a potential deal sending Watson to the Dolphins has gained steam. There was a similar belief before the 2021 season began, but nothing came to fruition. Watson has a no-trade clause but would waive it in a deal with the Dolphins, according to a source. The NFL trade deadline is Nov. 2 at 4 p.m. ET, so any potential deal would have to be made within the next two weeks.
“Both teams are hungry to make a move,” another source said. Miami and Houston are both 1-5 and at the bottom of their respective divisions. The Texans were expected to struggle this season with a new head coach and Watson refusing to play for the organization, but the Dolphins had higher hopes until starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa fractured his ribs and missed three games.
Miami has sputtered regardless of whether the second-year pro has been on the field, culminating in a loss to the previously winless Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday in London.
If the Dolphins trade for Watson, it's been speculated they’ll likely also deal their starting quarterback, though sources have told PFF that Tagovailoa is unlikely to be involved in a trade with Houston.
The Washington Football Team and Denver Broncos were quickly tied to a potential corresponding trade for Tagovailoa. A source close to the situation told The Athletic’s Ben Standig that “Washington is not in discussions with Miami or Houston regarding a QB trade.” A source told 9News’ Mike Klis that the “Broncos are not in on Tua Tagovailoa.”
Houston's stance has remained the same: A team trading for Watson would be getting a franchise quarterback in his prime for the next 10-plus years. As a result, the Texans have not moved from their original asking price of three first-round picks and more.
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Houston has also made it clear it would be fine holding on to Watson until after the season when more teams are likely to be involved and when the 2022 NFL Draft order will be set, a source told PFF.
Watson is currently facing 22 active civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault and misconduct, as well as 10 criminal complaints. Investigations by the Houston Police Department and the NFL are ongoing.
To this point, the NFL has not had a decision to make about whether to place Watson on the Commissioner’s Exempt List. The Texans have been carrying Watson on the 53-man roster but have made him inactive for every game this season. Watson could theoretically play, but there's no word on if the NFL will step in if he's dealt to a new team.