MIAMI — The Miami Dolphins, unlucky to be the best team watching the playoffs on TV, now find themselves in the enviable position few NFL teams ever are: Win-win. No-lose.
It's this Deshaun Watson situation, "situation" meaning entirely the stuff of media speculation. At least for now.
The Dolphins understandably have zero reason to involve themselves publicly in the public drama involving another team: the dissatisfaction of Watson, the Houston Texans' superstar quarterback, and the reports he may want out and might favor a trade to Miami.
Here is how and why the Dolphins can look good no matter how this plays out:
— They're aggressive, go for the home run and declare to the entire NFL, "Look out. Miami is back. Win now, baby!"
They successfully pursue Watson in a blockbuster trade, one of the NFL's biggest in years. They give up a ton — Tua Tagovailoa, perhaps the Nos. 3 and 18 first-round draft picks, maybe even star cornerback Xavien Howard — but they get what franchises dream off. Youth and proven excellence in a QB. Only Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes has that right now in greater abundance.
— They're not aggressive. The Dolphins stand by last week's public recommitment to Tagovailoa as their guy moving forward.
They get to be the stable franchise with a bedrock plan. They affirm their belief in Tagovailoa by investing in him. They keep the No. 3 overall pick (one obtained via Houston, funny enough) and select Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith, who just lit up Ohio State in the national championship game. They keep their 18th pick and all their others. And they keep the Howard, the first Dolphin with a 10-interception season since 1967.
Both options are gambles.
Trade for Watson and you give up so, so much. Stick with Tagovailoa and you are rolling dice that he becomes what Watson already is.