With free agency on the horizon expect rumours and news to begin to heat up in South Florida, but a story where we have no movement is the Deshaun Watson saga.
For a franchise mired in QB troubles largely since Dan Marino’s retirement, the timing couldn’t be a lot worse. Tua Tagovailoa was supposed to be the new golden child when the team moved on from Ryan Tannehill. But Tannehill has gone to the playoffs twice since he moved on, and Tagovailoa has been under 100-yards passing in a third of his starts.
While a significant portion of the fanbase are entirely against trading Tua Tagovailoa for a proven top calibre NFL quarterback in the hopes that he becomes as good as that player, the front office, coaches, and players have been largely silent on the manner.
Remember back in September when Omar Kelly, yes I know it was Omar, tweeted that the Dolphins were in active trade talks over Xavien Howard? The team came out extremely quickly to say that wasn’t the case. When this rumour has been circulating? Crickets.
At this point the story is merely a hypothetical I hear you say, which is true. But how convinced are the players that Tua Tagovailoa, not Deshaun Watson, will be the starting quarterback in 2021? Well let’s take the words of Tua himself.
TUA’S NOT SURE IF DESHAUN WATSON IS THE GUY
When asked by an interviewer if he should buy a Tua Dolphins jersey he replied “Honestly, I’m not too sure”. This is from the guy who would be at the centre of any trade. The Dolphins haven’t convinced him he’s their guy going forward, so why should anyone else be convinced?
All the talk of sticking to the process? Well this is the process folks. This is the team that while in the process of off-loading talent for draft picks to land their QB of the future, used two picks to land Josh Rosen via trade.
The process is finding the franchise QB whoever that is. Is it better if it’s Tua? Of course. Deshaun Watson will cost a tonne of draft capital to land, but if they are not sold on Tua then Watson becomes a viable course as part of the process.
DESHAUN WATSON IS PROVEN
In all of this we have to consider the potential that Tua Tagovailoa has compared to the player that Deshaun Watson already is. Watson just put up the 25th best season in NFL history by yards with a very limited supporting cast.
In fact his stat line in 2020: 382-554-70.2%-4,823-33-7 was as close to elite as you can get from a fourth year QB. Is it realistic to expect that from Tua Tagovailoa? Maybe, maybe not. The point is if you can land a proven QB this early in his career it’s a no-brainer.
No it won’t please all the Alabama fans that have become Dolphins fans just because of Tua. But this is about what’s best for the Miami Dolphins moving forward. What gives them the best chance to become a winning franchise.
And this is why I believe the Dolphins are quiet. Too quiet. And why Tua is “not really sure”. Because if the Dolphins are not seriously kicking the tires on a Deshaun Watson trade, this will be the biggest mistake this franchise has made since Drew Brees left the building unsigned.
Does that mean they will sign him? Absolutely not.
But if they are happy with the price, Deshaun Watson will be the next Miami Dolphins starting QB.
Should Miami Dolphins fans be concerned if the teams sticks with Tua Tagovailoa? Not at all. Because that’s the process. Evaluation and building the best team you can. If they believe the price is too high for Deshaun Watson, or they believe Tua is the better prospect this is the right call.
But to say they shouldn’t consider it, or should lowball the offer is silly. Deshaun Watson is elite. The only questions to be asked are is the price too high, and do the staff still believe Tua can be great.
Because that is the process.