The Deshaun Watson story isn’t going away for a long time, not until he is finally traded.
As the disgruntled Texan star tries to force his way out of an organization that has made some significantly questionable moves to help build a championship squad, the rest of the league, barring a few teams, are slowly taking inventory of their assets to make a push for the young quarterback.
There are, more than likely, only 4 teams that are not going to be making a push for Watson, but almost every team in the NFL would be interested in his services. Of the teams interested, only a few of them have enough capital in the draft and quality young pieces that could be swapped in exchange for Watson.
Miami is one of those teams and the Dolphins should make a push for the 25-year-old quarterback.
This is an opinion I’m sure will ignite a fiery discussion, but hear me out.
Miami is a bit ahead in what was a painful rebuild and looks on the verge of competing for a playoff spot next season with the pieces that they have and the picks that they hold in the upcoming draft.
Miami also spent their 5th overall pick last year on Tua Tagovailoa who, at least in my opinion, played well enough in his rookie season to still feel as though he has a high ceiling. I am not ready to say that Tagovailoa will not be a good quarterback in this league, far from it. Miami may, however, have the opportunity to get a stud quarterback who is already one of the best in the league and is just entering his prime.
Barring any substantial injury, Watson has at least 10 more good years in him and has already shown that he can win football games with competent coaching around him. He is already at an elite level and can immediately change Miami’s realistic goals for next season from making the playoffs to compete for a title.
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Watson has put up great numbers since he started in the league four years ago. Last season, he led the league in passing on a team that had no true, viable offensive weapons. He threw for 4,823 yards and 33 touchdowns compared to 7 interceptions (stats courtesy of ESPN.com). Again, that was with no real weapons, outside of half a season of Will Fuller V. To be fair, those numbers may be inflated because of the poor play of Houston’s defense forcing Watson to throw often every Sunday. Yet, he has proven he is more than capable of leading his team to the postseason, evident from his two division titles in 3 and a half years.
The problem for the Dolphins is that the price for Watson is going to be extremely high. Over the last few days, we saw our first blockbuster trade of the offseason when Jared Goff, two first-round picks, and a third-round pick were sent to Detroit for 32-year-old Matthew Stafford. It’s unnecessary for me to comment on this trade (although it doesn’t look good for Los Angeles), but this is huge for any Watson suitor. It provides an idea of what Houston would want in exchange for their talented, and much younger, quarterback.
Stafford is a very good quarterback who struggled to put together winning seasons in Detroit after he was surrounded by sub-par talent on the roster. And yet, he still netted the Lions two first-rounders and a younger, albeit system quarterback, to help guide the franchise into the future.
Watson is 7 years younger than Stafford and already has the same amount of playoff games under his belt with a slightly better record, with Watson having a 1-2 record compared to Stafford’s 0-3 (all stats for Watson and Stafford are courtesy of Pro-football-reference.com). Stafford may be able to produce a solid 5 years as a starter compared to Watson who should have 10 or more. All of this is to say that Miami would need to pay a redefined “King’s Ransom” for Watson.
Two firsts is a starting point, but won’t be acceptable to Houston. Miami would have to throw in Tagovailoa and, at least, another first-round coupled with some lower picks to even get to the table. This would be a lot for any franchise to pay for any player.
Is it worth it? I think the answer is yes.
It might be a high price to pay for one player but if Miami can use Watson’s “no-trade clause” to their advantage, they may be able to walk away from a trade with some of their capital left. If they can hold on to their 18th overall pick, give Houston back their picks from the Laremy Tunsil trade, Tagovailoa and throw in a first next year, Miami would be hard-pressed not to take that deal. Even if they asked for a little bit more in terms of compensation, Miami should not just hang up the phone and end the negotiations. Watson is too good and has already reached a top-level while we still may be waiting a year or two for Tagovailoa to get there.
Like I said earlier, I like Tagovailoa and have generally defended most of his play during his rookie season. Watson feels like a sure thing, however, and I think Miami would find themselves in another “Drew Brees” situation if they don’t even entertain the idea of trading for him.
When news first broke that Miami would be a destination to watch in this ever-developing soap opera, I was totally against it. Watson is outstanding, but Miami has their quarterback of the future in Tagovailoa. Yet, as time went on and I thought about it more and more, I think that Miami making a move for Watson is in the team’s best interest because it immediately takes the Dolphins from a fringe playoff team to an AFC Championship contender overnight.