Could former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson soon be playing in a state where he had great success during his college career?
According to ESPN NFL reporter Chris Mortensen's sources, it's become more than just pure speculation. Mortensen said Sunday morning that Watson, who's unhappy with the direction of the Houston Texans, has a no-trade clause in his new mega-contract, but he could play hardball so he can play for the Miami Dolphins in a trade that would involve quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
Watson won an Orange Bowl for the Tigers in their first-ever College Football Playoff appearance in 2015 inside the stadium where the Dolphins play. He also captured Clemson's first national championship in 35 years in Tampa, Fla., in 2016.
The four-year veteran is coming off a career season for the Texans in which led the NFL in passing yards (4,823) in the regular season, but the team started 0-4, fired head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien and sputtered to a 4-12 finish.
The Texans traded his top weapon in former Clemson receiver DeAndre Hopkins last offseason and have been on shaky ground as a franchise. Rumors began to swirl earlier in the week about Watson potentially wanting out.
Watson was reportedly displeased that owner Cal McNair didn't let players have a say before the hiring of new GM Nick Caserio. The star QB also had a great interest in the team hiring Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy for the head coaching position, but Houston brass didn't interview the minority candidate.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, are coming off a 10-6 season, their best since 2016, and just narrowly missed the NFL playoffs. Tagovailoa was their first-round pick in 2020 but there's already been debate about his future as the starter, even though he only played half the season.
The Texans would likely demand a king's ransom for Watson, who's a three-time Pro Bowl selection. Tagovailoa and multiple draft picks, which Miami has for 2021, could spark Houston's attention as it looks to rebuild the franchise in nearly every way.
The defense was one of the worst in the league, as was the running game on offense. The Texans struggled to protect Watson in the pocket, and if he's as disgruntled as reports say, a fresh start in a city like Miami could be just what he needs.
Staying in Houston, despite the fact he agreed to sign a contract worth more than $150 million, could prove detrimental to his promising career and legacy as a pro.