Friday's NFL: As trade deadline looms, Dolphins say Tua is 'our QB'

Associated Press

Miami Gardens, Fla. — The story line has not changed over the last couple of months, nor did Miami coach Brian Flores’ answer on Friday from when he was first asked about the future of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa months ago.

“Tua’s our quarterback,” Flores said.

That’s not in dispute — for now, at least.

Miami Dolphins co-offensive coordinator George Godsey talks with Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) during NFL football practice in Miami Gardens, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Atlanta Falcons play at Miami on Sunday.

The NFL trade deadline is about a week and a half away. And the calendar getting closer to Nov. 2 combined with Miami on a five-game losing streak means it was inevitable that the buzz suggesting that the Dolphins may be looking to acquire embattled Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson — who has been accused of sexual assault and harassment in lawsuits filed by 22 women, but not charged — would get louder.

The Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday, citing unnamed sources, that the Texans and Dolphins “have intensified their efforts to consummate” a deal for Watson, who has been seeking a trade since at least January. The lawsuits prompted investigations from the NFL and, according to an attorney representing the women suing Watson, the FBI, among others.

“We’re happy with the quarterback, our quarterback situation, and I’ll leave it at that,” Flores said. “Which is what I’ve said multiple times.”

Tagovailoa — who missed nearly four full games this season with fractured ribs, a problem he’s still playing through — is 7-5 as a starter in parts of two seasons in Miami, completing 64% of his passes with 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Among all quarterbacks since the start of last season, with at least five starts, Tagovailoa ranks 31st in passer rating (87.0) and 39th in yards per game (181.4).

“I think his preparation, the way he practices and the way he performs has been good,” Flores said. “I thought he played very well last week. He was out for a couple of games, for a few games, and he came back and played, I thought, very well last week. I think his psyche is in a good place. He’s a confident kid. He’s a tough kid.”

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Watson, who signed a $156 million, four-year extension that is scheduled to begin next season, averaged 301.4 yards per game last season with a 112.4 rating and led the NFL with 4,823 yards passing. He has not played this season following the trade demand and the unresolved legal issues.

Flores said the ongoing trade chatter, on top of a five-game slide, isn’t affecting the Dolphins at practice or meetings. The Dolphins (1-5) host Atlanta (2-3) on Sunday.

“Our focus is on Atlanta,” Flores said. “And that’s really where our focus should be.”

Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins invests in Premier League club

Three-time Pro Bowl safety Malcolm Jenkins spent his bye week building his portfolio.

Jenkins, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Saints and Eagles, became a minority investor in the Premier League’s Burnley Football Club this week after touring historic Turf Moor stadium in England and watching the Clarets play Manchester City last Saturday.

“We’re really excited, especially because the Burnley Football Club has a long history of being a blue-collar, tough, well-run organization, and it has a great manager and a new leadership,” Jenkins said on the AP Pro Football Podcast. “And (Burnley chairman) Alan Pace is coming in and ALK Capital, and they are really conscious about not only just what’s happening on the pitch, but also what’s happening in society. Their team captains have been very vocal, their players taking a knee before every match,and they’ve made it a point to be inclusive. And to have the opportunity to join a club with that kind of history, that kind of pedigree, was something that was exciting for me and my team.”

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Jenkins’ investment comes through his holding company, Malcolm Inc, and the new Disrupt Sports Partners, which focuses on business ventures in sports and leagues. Jenkins joins Patrick Mahomes, LeBron James and Kevin Durant as active players who’ve invested in soccer teams.

“One of my purposes in doing this investment is I want athletes to see that we don’t have to just be athletes and laborers,” Jenkins said. “We can actually be in the ownership seat and we need to begin to think of ourselves in that mindset. ... The more we see that, then the people, the kids who look up to us because we’re athletes and what we can do can also look at us as examples of being in ownership and being business people and doing investments outside of our sport. I think that’s important for us not only as athletes but role models to show those examples that you don’t have to just be on the field in order to engage in sports, that we can have a stake in ownership and what we’re doing.”

Jenkins is also helping young people learn how to invest through his foundation. This year, his foundation has adopted high schools in Philadelphia and Newark, New Jersey so far, providing them with savings accounts with $40 to start, and a financial literacy app through Goalsetter, which provides games to learn the basics of investing, debt and stocks, among other resources.

“The lessons that I’m learning, I’m sharing with my peers, other athletes and entertainers to be able to join me or to learn how to do it themselves and build their own generational wealth. But then also you have to build up the next generation,” Jenkins said.

Extra points

... Atlanta Falcons defensive end Dante Fowler was placed on injured reserve Friday and will miss at least three games.

Fowler was initially ruled out of Sunday's game at Miami with a knee injury. The team then said he was going on IR.

... Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan will not play against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday as he recovers from a concussion.

The Titans also declared Friday that wide receiver Chester Rogers, who ranks second in the NFL averaging 13.3 yards per punt return, and linebacker Monty Rice won't play.

... While the New York Giants will again be without star running back Saquon Barkley and playmaking receivers Kenny Golladay and exciting rookie Kadarius Toney, the offense is expected to get back wideout Darius Slayton.

Slayton, who led the team in yards receiving in his first two NFL seasons, has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury. He warmed up on Sunday for a game against the Rams but he didn't get a jersey for the 38-11 loss that dropped New York to 1-5.

Barring a setback, Slayton is looking forward to playing against the Carolina Panthers (3-3) at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.