Deshaun Watson to the Miami Dolphins: Trade rumors, speculation, projected 2021 team outlook

By Vincent Frank

The Miami Dolphins have been linked to disgruntled Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson for some time now. It’s somewhat of a surprise given that Miami just selected fellow signal caller Tua Tagovailoa No. 5 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft less than a year ago.

With that said, Watson has already proven himself to be a generational quarterback. He led the NFL in passing yards (4,823) last season while accumulating 36 total touchdowns against seven interceptions. Now that Deshaun Watson wants out of dodge, South Beach seems to be a prime potential landing spot.

With the Dolphins linked to Watson, we figure it made sense to look at the latest rumors surrounding the star quarterback and a potential fit with Miami while checking in on the team’s outlook for the 2021 NFL season.

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Deshaun Watson to the Miami Dolphins trade rumors

Deshaun Watson to the Miami Dolphins
Dec 20, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) during warmups before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Speculation surrounding a potential Watson move to Miami has dated back to the first time his unhappiness with the Texans became public record. NFL insiders throughout the country have only fueled this speculation. The venerable Peter King of NBC Sports added to this recently.

In his weekly Football Morning in America article, the veteran NFL reported mentioned Miami as a potential landing spot for Deshaun Watson.

“You’d hear a big, loud, ‘We’re not trading Tua if the Dolphins weren’t at least pondering Watson.’ Why wouldn’t they be? It’s extremely hard, after seeing one year of Tua Tagovailoa, to think his mega-upside would equal the 2021 Watson. It’s logical to at least look into it,” King opined.

This does make some sense. Tagovailoa was actually benched late last season by Dolphins head coach Brian Flores in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick with the team battling for a surprise spot in the NFL Playoffs. That does not seem like a ringing endorsement for the young quarterback.

Read More: Deshaun Watson trade chatter getting louder, Miami Dolphins remain front runner

Adding another layer to this situation, SportsBetting.com gives the Miami Dolphins the best betting odds to land Deshaun Watson in a trade.

  • Miami Dolphins +250
  • Denver Broncos +300
  • New York Jets +300
  • Carolina Panthers +600
  • Chicago Bears +1200
  • Washington Football Team +1200
  • Philadelphia Eagles +1200
  • San Francisco 49ers +1500

The Watson to Miami rumors make a ton of sense. Led by young head coach Brian Flores, the Fins are coming off one of their best seasons since the Dan Marino era. They have a ton of young talent on both sides of the ball. Why not bring in what would be the best quarterback in South Beach since Marino, no matter the cost?

Read More: NFL trade rumors: Latest updates and information for 2021 offseason

Speculation, local buzz about Deshaun Watson to the Miami Dolphins

NFL rumors: Deshaun Watson to the Dolphins?
Nov 22, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs with the ball as New England Patriots defensive end Tashawn Bower (96) attempts to make a tackle during the first quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

“While I anticipate half the NFL will be bidding on Watson when the Houston Texans finally decide it would be wise to move on from the disgruntled quarterback, Dolphins owner Steve Ross undoubtedly would encourage his decision-makers to bid big, taking an all-in approach to acquire three-time Pro Bowl selection,” Dolphins insider Omar Kelly of the Orlando Sentinel noted recently.

Much like David Tepper in Carolina, Ross could be the driving force behind his Dolphins making a major play for Watson. A hands-on owner, he has not in the past been afraid to make that big move. Ross wants these Fins to be relevant on the broader NFL stage once again. Adding Watson to the mix would do that.

There’s also this thing about the lavish South Beach lifestyle. Apparently, it’s something that Deshaun Watson himself has taken to recently — even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local rumors linking Deshaun Watson to the Dolphins have made an appearance on a near never-ending loop over the past few weeks. It’s not some type of homer approach from the media, either. It makes perfect sense.

The team has enough talent that a Watson trade could could elevate it to elite status in the AFC moving forward. It also wouldn’t preclude the Dolphins from hitting the NFL free agent market hard for upgrades on both sides of the ball.

Read More: NFL salary cap tracker: Where each team stands in 2021

Miami Dolphins 2021 outlook with Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson to the Miami Dolphins
Sep 29, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs with the ball during the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins trade package for Deshaun Watson: First-round pick (3rd overall) in 2021, first-round pick in 2022, two second-round picks, third-round pick, Tua Tagovailoa and Xavien Howard

On the surface, this is an absolutely mighty bounty to pay in a trade for Watson. Five picks, a potential franchise quarterback and an All-Pro cornerback. It’s franchise-altering in so many ways.

For Houston, this would make perfect sense. Remember, both of the team’s first two picks in the 2021 NFL Draft are in the possession of Miami. Re-acquiring the third pick while adding Tua to the mix would enable these Texans to trade down and pick up more draft pick assets as new general manager Nick Caserio rebuilds the team from scratch.

As it relates to the Dolphins, this is pretty much a no-brainer. There’s a reason general manager Chris Grier has built up draft capital. It was to make a franchise-altering move. Once Deshaun Watson became available, that was the move.

Trading Howard hurts some. The 27-year-old corner was an NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate last season, recording league-highs in passes defended (20) and interceptions (10). But in order to acquire a talent like Watson, you have to part with other elite talent. Miami also has Byron Jones as a veteran reinforcement at cornerback with 2020 first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene set to take on a larger role.

Interestingly enough, a swap of this ilk would also save the Dolphins against the 2021 NFL salary cap. Add in Watson playing under the terms of his rookie contract for one final season and Howard’s cap hit, and things would be looking up on that front.

Read More: Top 50 NFL free agents of 2021

Currently, the Dolphins find themselves $33.89 million under the 2021 cap. They could save more money by moving on from some veterans and restructuring the contract of Byron Jones, among others. In short, this trade would not prevent the Fins from finding upgrades at need positions.

NFL rumors have linked the Dolphins to Green Bay Packers impending free agent running back Aaron Jones. Imagine him teaming up with Deshaun Watson in the backfield in South Beach.

It’s also being noted that Miami is going to be in the market for receivers during an NFL free agent period that’s stacked at that position. Allen Robinson of the Chicago Bears and Florida native T.Y. Hilton have been bandied about as possibilities.

By pulling off a Deshaun Watson trade, the entire landscape changes in Miami. Players will want to join the Dolphins even more than now. The team’s front office can add elite skill-position guys on offense. Meanwhile, the Dolphins still would have their own first-round pick in next month’s NFL Draft.

In short, Watson would make Miami a legit Super Bowl contender.