The NFL Trade Deadline is Tuesday, Nov. 2. It’s not like the NBA or Major League Trade Deadline in terms of blockbuster deals, but they do happen. For example, the biggest one in recent years was the New England Patriots trading QB Jimmy Garoppolo right before the 2017 deadline to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a 2018 second-round draft pick. Jimmy G had been being groomed as Tom Brady’s eventual replacement.
NFL 2021 | Deshaun Watson Trade Coming Soon?
There could be a much bigger deal by next week’s Trade Deadline and in fact could happen any day in that the Houston Texans reportedly are poised to trade three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson, most likely to either the Miami Dolphins or Carolina Panthers. Watson of course hasn’t played yet this season because of off-field issues yet hasn’t been suspended by the NFL, either. Watson is facing 22 civil suits and 10 criminal complaints by women alleging sexual harassment or misconduct during massage appointments.
The NFL has the authority to place Watson on the commissioner’s exempt list without criminal charges. In past cases where Commissioner Roger Goodell has used the exempt list without criminal charges, there was a public release of evidence as when video surfaced of Kareem Hunt shoving and kicking a woman during an incident in 2018. There has been no public release of evidence against Watson.
Both the civil and criminal cases against him remain without a timetable for resolution, so the onus would fall on the NFL to make a decision about his playing status if a team trades for him. Watson’s uncertain availability gives teams pause as they discuss potential trades with the Texans’ front office.
Both the Dolphins and Panthers have QB needs because Tua Tagovailoa clearly isn’t a franchise guy for the Fins after being picked No. 5 overall in last year’s draft – Miami clearly should have taken Justin Herbert, who went No. 6 overall to the Chargers. Darnold, meanwhile, has regressed badly in the past four weeks for Carolina, which has lost all four games. Darnold was benched in last Sunday’s loss to the Giants, although Coach Matt Rhule said he would start this week in Atlanta.
Rhule turned to backup P.J. Walker with 12:41 remaining Sunday and Carolina trailing 15-3. Darnold had an intentional grounding penalty from the end zone in the first half that resulted in a safety. He also had an interception near the New York goal line on a poorly thrown ball. The Panthers would lose 25-3. They traded second-, fourth- and sixth-round draft picks to the New York Jets this past April for Darnold.
Watson, who has a no-trade clause in his contract, is willing to consider multiple options for a new team as the trade deadline looms. It is believed he would be OK going to Miami or Charlotte – Watson grew up in South Carolina and of course starred at Clemson not far from Charlotte.
It’s no secret that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wants Watson but he has declined any comment on it. NFL rules prohibit an owner, coach, G.M., etc. from expressing public interest in a player under contract with another team.
One apparent problem is that Houston is asking for a king’s ramson for Watson – three first-round picks and a few second-rounders – and the Texans have no interest in Tua. In fact, Houston prefers 2021 third-round rookie Davis Mills over Tagovailoa. According to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, the offer to beat at this point is three first-round picks and some level of other draft picks from the Dolphins.
There is talk of a three-team deal that would send Tagovailoa to Washington and the WFT would add picks to Miami’s bounty to ship to Houston. Sunday’s 30-28 loss to the Falcons was the 13th start of Tagovailoa’s NFL career. He was 32-of-40 for 291 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions in a game that head coach Brian Flores said shows that he’s improving as a player.
“I think he’s getting better every time he steps on the field,” Flores said. “I think he’s pushing the ball down the field more, he’s making better decisions. I think he’s making quicker decisions. I think he’s doing a lot of things. Look, it’s a small sample size, but every time he steps out there, I see progress. He’s a young player. Everyone develops at a little bit different pace, but I think he’s doing a lot of good things.”