The Dolphins are 1-5 and very much not the team pundits and oddsmakers thought they would be (they need to go 9-2 the rest of the way to hit that 9.5 O/U win total). A large part of that is that second-year QB and alleged franchise savior Tua Tagovailoa hasn’t lived up to expectations.
Whether it’s chronic injury, a higher skill floor, or poor coaching, Tua just hasn’t popped. I don’t know if it’s scheme or what, but through 13 games, the longest completed pass of his career is 36 yards. As a reference point, that’s good for 36th best (worst?) this season, between Geno Smith (41) and Mike Glennon (35).
When you consider they traded a first-round pick to draft Tua’s college teammate/deep threat Jaylen Waddle, that’s more than a little alarming. I thought it was a smart move, in the same vein as pairing Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, and I think it still could be that. But it looks disastrous right now, considering that pick would retrospectively be among the top 5 of the draft if the season ended today. Congrats, Philly! Maybe you can use that to draft a QB, because Jalen Hurts ain’t it.
However, for as bad as the Tua pick looks, giving up on him when he hasn’t even played a full season’s worth of games is premature. What’s even worse is the report that the Fins are close to trading for Deshaun Watson.
Watson is an objectively good QB and an objectively awful person. Innocent until proven guilty, sure, but he would need to be found innocent 22 times. This begs the question, what are Dolphins GM Chris Grier and owner Stephen Ross thinking?
Now in his sixth year running Miami’s front office, Grier has had some success. The Dolphins barely missed the playoffs last year at 10-6, and you could argue head coach Brian Flores has turned out the best of Bill Belichick’s coordinators-turned-head coaches. That’s not saying much, but one of these guys has to be good, right?
Trading for Watson screams “panic move” and risks alienating Miami’s prized QB and worsening his confidence, which is clearly faltering already. But, also, Deshaun Watson? What the fuck?
Watson’s troubles aren’t going away anytime soon, and who knows whether he’ll even be eligible to play in a worst-case legal scenario. Desperate times call for desperate measures, but this isn’t the Giants drafting Kadarius Toney when they clearly need offensive line help. It’s beyond desperate; it’s malpractice.
Ownership across sports needs some kind of “frozen asset” policy when a GM is on the hot seat and heaving Hail Marys to turn things around. Like, yo, we know things aren’t going great, and you definitely can’t do your job with us cutting you off at the knees, but let’s see how the season plays out before you make things worse.
The thing is, Miami owner Stephen Ross has reportedly coveted Watson since he asked for a trade. So did every other team with a lackluster QB — at least until the sexual assault and misconduct allegations came flooding in. Can someone in Miami please read the room? Who else is currently lining up to acquire Watson? Giving up any asset for him is a joke. The Texans were asking for three firsts and two seconds before all this darkness came to light, but now they’d be lucky to get a seventh for him.
The odds Watson ends up out of league are probably greater than him ever playing another down in the NFL. The same franchise that cut bait on Ryan Tannehill should take note that a quarterback’s early years aren’t always indicative of how their career will play out.
Give Tua time, because he’s the best — and only — option.