It’s safe to say this hasn’t been Tua Tagovailoa’s favorite week of the year.
Over the past several days, trade rumors surrounding Deshaun Watson and the Dolphins have reached a fever pitch. Miami and the Texans reportedly have a deal in place pending the resolution of his legal troubles (which is still a big hurdle, as 22 women have accused him of sexual assault and misconduct). It leaves Tua — whom the Dolphins drafted with the No. 5 overall pick just 18 months ago — in an awkward position.
The Alabama product has started 14 games in his career. That’s less than a full season, and head coach Brian Flores, GM Chris Grier and owner Stephen Ross seem ready to give up on him for an accused sexual predator.
So far, Tagovailoa has maintained a straight face in public.
“I have utmost confidence and trust I am the quarterback of this team,” Tagovailoa said Wednesday. “Off conversations I’ve had with [Flores], those will stay private, I feel very confident I’m the person.”
He hasn’t shown any signs of discord on the field, either. In the two games since he returned from a rib injury, he has thrown for 620 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions, while completing 74 percent of his passes. Since his return, he is PFF’s fourth-ranked QB in the NFL.
It’s a small sample size, but he’s playing like he could be the guy. It’s clear at least one major figure in the Dolphins’ organization, however, doesn’t agree. The trade deadline is Nov. 2, and the next six days are likely to be an uncomfortable limbo for the 23-year-old.
“I don’t not feel wanted,” Tagovailoa said Wednesday.
If they trade for Watson, it’s possible he could face a suspension or he could be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list. But the league has yet to do suspend him, and it doesn’t seem like the move is imminent.
“We don’t have all the access to that information and pride ourselves on not interfering with it,” Roger Goodell said. “That process is ongoing.”