Miami Dolphins are sabotaging Tua, this season with misguided infatuation over Watson | Opinion

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Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, in 2011, surreptitiously flew into San Francisco on his private jet to meet with and woo coach Jim Harbaugh. One problem: Ross already had a coach, Tony Sparano, under contract. Word got out, as secrets often do.

The Fins got shafted by Harbaugh, who signed with the 49ers. An embarrassed, bitterly angry Sparano stayed. Ross, then a fairly new NFL owner, had to apologize.

Ten years later, Ross’ Dolphins are engaging in the same kind of secretive-but-not-really display of classlessness — only this is far worse.

Then, the targeted prize, Harbaugh, was a coveted free agent coach who had just led Stanford to an Orange Bowl win. All it took to get him was money.

Now, the “prize” is Deshaun Watson. All it will take to get him is a ton of money, a future-crippling three first-round draft picks and more, and the hope he doesn’t end up in jail or serving a lengthy league suspension.

Then, the victim of Ross’ dubious ethic was Sparano, a journeyman coach who’d had two straight losing seasons.

Now, the victim is Tua Tagovailoa, the young quarterback of great, budding promise. The No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 Draft. A guy who in the past two games has completed 65 f 87 passes for 620 yards and six touchdowns — despite the surrounding megadistraction of his team’s blatant pursuit of Watson.

What a [bleep]ing mess. A debacle. A national embarrassment.

The once-proud franchise of Don Shula and Dan Marino is being talked about for all the wrong reasons. Again.

This is a franchise giving up way too soon on a guy they just drafted.

And preparing to mortgage its future for Watson, a man of low moral character based on the 22 accusations against him, and a man engulfed in civil suits, a possible grand jury indictment on criminal chargers and a possible-dare say-likely NFL suspension.

While poor Dolphins coach Brian Flores is forced to deal with all the questions, with nothing to say except,

“Tua is a our quarterback” — for now the unspoken but accurate ending to the statement.

This is the choice, Dolfans. Do you want:

Tagovailoa and all the promise he has shown, especially lately, plus the three first round draft picks you would save?

Or Watson, three years older, and all of his problems, minus three future first-round picks and more?

For me the choice is clear.

All of this is monumentally unfair to Tagovailoa, but also to Flores and the team for having this distraction in their faces every day. If you don’t think this is a factor in Miami being 1-6 off six consecutive losses, well, then we will disagree on that. Miami is sabotaging its own season with all the discordant noise.

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday that The Texans and Dolphins have agreed on terms of a trade, meaning compensation, and that Ross has signed off — but wants assurances first that Watson’s legal issues are resolved, as well as intel on what commissioner Roger Goodell’s intentions may be in terms of a possible suspension.

That strongly suggests this deal likely won’t happen before the league’s Tuesday trade deadline, and in time for Watson to face his old team when the Dolphins host Houston on Nov. 7.

But the agreement on terms also suggests a deal is in place, and just waiting. Waiting for the 22 civil suits over alleged sexual misconduct during massage sessions to be tried or settled. Waiting on whether there will be criminal charges. Waiting on a league suspension.

One can imagine this deal perhaps being consummated during the offseason, likely before the 2022 Draft, if Miami continues on this hell-bent path. Meanwhile there would be a market for Tagovailoa, whether or not Houston took him in the deal.

CBS Sports says Washington, Denver, Detroit and New Orleans are possibly landing spots. I might add Carolina, which also had interest in Watson (though not with Miami’s fervor), before reportedly pulling out on Wednesday.

It ain’t easy begin a Dolphins fans and the club seems continually to make it tougher.

Richie Incognito and the 2013-14 Bullygate embarrassment.

Assistant coach Chris Foerster snorting cocaine off his desk in 2017.

And now your team is giving up on its quarterback of the future — as he has just had the two best starts of his 13 as a pro — to give up three first-round draft picks for a shamed quarterback with a siege of problems.

Tua Tagovailoa deserves so much better than this.

So do Miami Dolphins fans.