Dolphins Duck Watson Trade in Final Hours, Legal Issues Likely Too Risky

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Miami Dolphins will not make a trade for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. 

The Miami Dolphins owner, Stephen Ross, reportedly made the final decision to keep Tua Tagovailoa as their quarterback despite their 7 game losing streak. 

The news regarding Deshaun Watson’s trade broke on Twitter a couple of hours before the trade deadline at 4:00pm. The Texans wanted to maximize Watson’s trade value and the Miami Dolphins were strong contenders to do so, according to ESPN

Deshaun Watson is facing 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct. He will likely remain on the sidelines with the Texans while the NFL waits to see the outcome of the current criminal investigations allegedly against him at the local and federal level. The criminal investigations have reportedly been ongoing since August and Watson has not played any minutes this season thus far. 

The fate of Deshaun Watson’s football career could rely on the outcome of the criminal investigations; if there is sufficient evidence to formally charge Watson with sexual assault or a serious felony the NFL has no choice put to place him on the “Commissioner’s Exempt List,” per its discipline policy. If placed on the list, Watson will receive paid leave until the completion of the NFL investigation or disposition of a criminal charge.

The Dolphins seem to agree with many other teams that “investing” in Watson is likely too risky due to his legal issues off the field. Sources say, that Dolphins Owner, Ross asked NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell if he planned on suspending Watson under the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Last week, Roger Goodell mentioned at the NFL Owners meeting in New York, that the NFL did not have enough information to place Watson on the exempt list. 
Criminal investigations can take months if not years to complete before gaining sufficient evidence to formally charge someone with a crime. With the magnitude of allegations against Watson, there’s no telling when or if he will be formally charged. Deshaun Watson will remain with the Texans until at least March 16, 2022, which is the first day of the next trading period. He has a no trade clause in his contract and Miami was a reported preference of his. It is unclear whether he would agree to another trade.

A more detailed explanation regarding the “Commissioner’s Exempt List” is provided here.