Dolphins say they were doing ‘due diligence’ on Watson | Sports News

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By TIM REYNOLDS, AP Sports Writer

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) – The Miami Dolphins have not asked Deshaun Watson’s accusers to sign nondisclosure agreements in hopes of resolving the sexual assault and misconduct cases against the quarterback. Houston back struggling ahead of the NFL trade deadline, general manager Chris Grier said Wednesday.

Grier spoke a day after the deadline for a trade had expired this season and, never saying Watson’s name – concerned about tampering rules – said the Dolphins were just doing their due diligence when they were considering making a deal.

This process, Grier said, did not include contacting the accusers or their attorney.

“Any suggestion that this organization deals behind the scenes and tries to influence decisions is absolutely ludicrous and categorically false,” Grier said. “So to say that we would be involved in this is just plain wrong. “

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Watson has not been charged with a crime and has denied any wrongdoing. His request for a swap out of Houston became known towards the end of last season, about two months before the accusers began to raise their allegations of his misconduct.

Assuming business progresses, Watson is expected to be filed on February 22, or roughly three weeks before the start of the NFL league’s new year – which is the next opportunity for him to be officially traded, although a deal is made. can be concluded in principle before then.

“I guess now that the fire is out, I probably won’t get any calls from the other side wanting to settle the case,” attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents Watson’s accusers, told the Channel. Houston Fox TV 26 KRIV after the trade deadline. past Tuesday. “Obviously there have been efforts, quite difficult efforts, to try to settle the matter and it has not happened.”

That effort, Grier said, did not come from the Dolphins (1-7), who host Houston (1-7) on Sunday.

Buzbee told the station he never spoke directly with the Dolphins about the settlement of the cases, but rather with attorneys “who acted as mediators” and Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin.

A major problem for Buzbee clients, he said, was to insist that they sign nondisclosure agreements as part of the settlements.

“It was a deal breaker,” Buzbee said.

Grier said the Dolphins never felt pressured to discuss the idea of ​​acquiring Watson with any employees on the team because, he said, no deal was ever made. Grier said it was Miami’s decision to stop pursuing a business – for now, anyway – but didn’t explain why.

“It never reached a point where something was so close to happening,” Grier said. “Of course, if that had happened, we certainly would have thought about it and done something.”

The Dolphins’ interest in Watson has been no secret for months, which has raised a series of questions about whether the team thinks Tua Tagovailoa – the No.5 pick in the 2020 Draft – is the answer to long term at quarterback.

Critics of Tagovailoa can point to many numbers. The longest achievement of his NFL career is 40 yards; There are 64 other quarterbacks, including Dolphins replacement Jacoby Brissett, who has had at least one longer throw since the start of last season.

And of the 32 quarterbacks with at least 10 starts since the start of 2020, Tagovailoa’s 86.7 odds rank 26th. That said, Dolphins coach Brian Flores has said repeatedly in recent weeks that Tagovailoa is Miami’s quarterback.

“He got better. He’s improved a lot and he’s had a good performance this season, ”said Flores. “He just needs to take it one day at a time and keep getting better and better. This is where he should be focusing, not on anything outside of that.

Watson has a no-trade clause, although players can modify it to allow any move they choose. The Texans paid Watson not to play, putting him on the inactive list every week.

Grier has not ruled out the idea of ​​resuming the pursuit of Watson in the offseason.

“If there is a player available in the league who is considered to be one of the best players in the league in any position, you look at him and try to go,” Grier said.

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