Assuming that the Texans and Dolphins find a way to land the plane on a Deshaun Watson trade, what happens with Tua Tagovailoa?
Some believe the fifth overall pick in the 2020 draft would be part of the package of players and picks that would go to Houston. That seems unlikely. Others believe that Tua would be traded to a separate team. While possible, that doesn’t seem likely either.
Thanks to the rookie wage scale, his base salary for 2021 is a mere $780,000. The Dolphins could easily keep him for the rest of the year, especially since there’s a risk that the NFL would place Watson on paid leave. While many believe that won’t happen, a grand-jury indictment of Watson on felony charges would make it far more likely. The Dolphins would need insurance against Watson not being able to play.
Also, the Dolphins could perhaps get a better return on Tua in the offseason, when more teams have decided to look for new quarterbacks. He has total compensation of roughly $3.2 million in 2022 and $4.7 million in 2023; that makes his contract attractive, and it could make a team more willing to give up more to get him.
Some of you (including the card-carrying members of the Tua mafia) may read this and say, “Didn’t coach Brian Flores make it clear that Tua will be the quarterback for the rest of the season?” However, those comments were made as reporters tried to get Flores to make a Mike Tomlin-style denial of a potential trade, and Flores most definitely did not.
The Dolphins want Watson. Watson wants the Dolphins. The Texans want to trade Watson. The only question that remains is whether a couple of teams that have shown plenty of signs of dysfunction in recent years can become sufficiently functional to not function up a potentially complicated trade.