As much as it may seem in bad taste to discuss Deshaun Watson's football career at all until his legal troubles are sorted out, the NFL has elected not to place him on the exempt list. That's left open the possibility of the disgruntled quarterback being traded and playing in the 2021 season, even as a cloud of sexual misconduct allegations loom over the 25-year-old.
With that in mind, Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports reported this past weekend that the Miami Dolphins "have emerged as the front-runner" for Watson. Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio added Tuesday that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross "really wants" Watson, to which the Dolphins issued a non-denial, denial later on.
There doesn't appear to be any evidence that a trade between the Dolphins and Texas is imminent, though, which means other suitors shouldn't be ruled out. Robinson added in his report over the weekend that the Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos have also had varying levels of involvement in the Watson talks. What all potential suitors have been told is that the Texans aren't interested in taking back any of their young quarterbacks as part of a deal for Watson.
"No, he wouldn't," Robinson said on the Rich Eisen Show Tuesday when asked if Tagovailoa would go to the Texans if the Dolphins acquired Watson. "From my discussions with my sources in Houston, Tua would not be included in part of that deal. They weren't interested in Tua ... they weren't interested in Jalen Hurts ... Sam Darnold -- all these different things."
Does this mean that Nick Caserio and the Texans don't think especially highly of the trio of Hurts, Tagovailoa and Darnold, or is it just an indication that they just want a bounty of picks in return for Watson? Well, Robinson reported this past weekend that the Texans are asking for three first-round picks and two second-round picks in return for Watson. But clearly, if, say, the Los Angeles Chargers called the Texans and offered Justin Herbert for Watson, they'd have interest in such a deal.
"I think part of it is the evaluation of other quarterbacks. How did they feel about these other quarterbacks? That plays into it as well," Robinson added.
For the time being, Watson -- facing 22 civil lawsuits for sexual assault and a grand jury investigation in Harris County -- is on the 53-man roster for the Texans. Aaron Wilson reported Monday that the indefinite plan is that Watson will be inactive every week for the Texans.
In a world that made sense, any idea of Watson being traded would be put on hold until Watson's legal situation -- and standing with the NFL -- is sorted out. Apparently, we don't live in a world that makes much sense, meaning this story will likely be a talking point all season.