Dolphins fans have long been waiting for a savior. After a year of “Tanking for Tua” and some mixed results I understand this well as I am a long suffering Dolphins fan. Since Dan Marino’s retirement there have been many forgettable names who tried to fill the large shoes left behind by the Hall of Famer. Ryan Tanehill was one that didn’t pan out and despite seeing much more success in Tennessee, Tannehill wasn’t even one of the worst to wear the Teal and Orange.
For 7 years the, then young, quarterback had us all asking “Is he good?” There were moments of obvious talent on display but those moments were soon clouded by injury and a revolving door at head coaching and offensive coordinator positions. Prior to that the Dolphins tried their luck with the husk of Dante Culpepper and Joey Harrington, tried for some non-conventional talents such as the forgettable Cleo Lemon and Pat White, and even tried to get the best they could out of second round picks like Chad Henne and John Beck. This is far from a comprehensive list. I do recommend checking it out because it’s impressively terrible:
So, there’s a reason to be optimistic if you’re a Dolphins fan. The team was one win away from a playoff berth and Tua Tagovialoa played well. I know he was replaced on two occasions by the intriguing veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. Sure, the Harvard beard needed to come in and disguise the rookie’s flaws now and again but overall considering Tua only started 9 games, the team seems to be in good hands. In those games he looked limited but played well. He also came off a severe injury and that effected his development in his rookie season as well.
So the optimism is warranted. There are some concerns however, the last game of the season didn’t go well and Fins fans acknowledged that the young lefty held on to the ball for too long in many circumstances and rarely took shots downfield. However, armed with a bit of perspective, I would like to remind folks that the Dolphins were a roster fairly devoid of talent in the latter half of the season. Moreover, even when their top talent was there, there’s an argument to be made that no team had worse skill position help than Miami (in my estimation, there’s not a team with a worse grouping than Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed, Davante Parker, and Jakeem Grant).
Now, the rumor mill has been churning with the news that Deshaun Watson may be interested in waving his no-trade clause if the Texans can move him to Miami. Chris Mortensen of ESPN was the first to report it and it has had media pundits scrambling ever since. I understand the fun that this team was while it was over-performing. I also understand the FOMO nature of trading a player with promise. However, the key word is promise. While I understand what Tua CAN be I know what Deshaun Watson IS. Watson led the league in passing yards, he was tied for 7th in passing touchdowns and had an almost 5:1 touchdown to turnover ratio. I think if ever you have to make the decision between trading what you think for what you know, you need to pull the trigger.
Watson had a very good season despite the team terminating Head Coach and GM Bill O’Brien after four games and after an offseason where they traded legitimate superstar DeAndre Hopkins (a trade that was universally mocked and panned). This wasn’t a season set up for success and while the team struggled greatly, Watson proved his worth. The season even ended with JJ Watt (ever aware of when the camera is on him consoling his quarterback.
ESPN’ Sarah Barshop has also reported that Watson’s annoyance with the team was related to several incidents off the football field as well. Deshaun Watson was dissatisfied with the Texans approach to hiring when it came to choosing the next general manager (the Texans hired Nick Caserio), as they did not consider the candidates offered by Watson before hiring Caserio. Deshaun Watson has also been vocal on his support of social and racial justice causes and has felt as though the team hasn’t been supportive (as reported by Shalise Manza Young of Yahoo sports). This is the team where owner Bob McNair was quoted about “inmates running the asylum” (a comment he would later apologize for and then back track on his apology). Since the Bob McNair’s passing, his son, Cal McNair has taken over dealing with the organization’s day to day activities. In that time it appears as though the McNair family has done little to improve their relationship with their superstar quarterback.
I know, the same people who hate that they don’t have more of a say in life will attack this article because how dare a player think he should have a say in player operations. I’m sure that you enjoy playing Madden where players have no personalities and fall in line. However, players are real people and just like in any other business, players who are the most talented have the loudest voices and this is becoming more and more apparent in professional sports. I guess I would feel that my viewpoint wasn’t as accurate if it wasn’t shared by former Texans legend Andre Johnson:
Enter the Miami Dolphins. For a period of nearly two decades they were a symbol for instability. Even early in the Stephen Ross era of Dolphins ownership it looked to be more of the same. However, the team appears to be in a spot to have a head coach that gets a lot out of his players (Brian Flores) and the a general manager who is aggressive and is skilled at managing complex negotiations and cap issues (Chris Grier). Both gentlemen are black and team owner Stephen Ross has long since been one of the most supportive when it comes to social issues (Kenny Stills was kneeling before games until his last game as a Dolphin) and Ross has started the RISE foundation which promotes equality in sports. Ross has also been criticized by some of his players for his support of President Donald Trump but, on the whole, the team has had a solid reputation when it comes to promoting equality and causes for social change.
Deshaun Watson is a valuable asset. Sure, many may squawk about how unfair it is that he feels as though he should have a say but this is the case when it comes to people of talent. It seems as though the situation in Houston may not suit his personal and professional goals. In the end, it may be the Dolphins who stand to benefit.