The Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans agreed to a trade on Sunday morning, swapping linebackers Benardick McKinney and Shaw Lawson. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the two franchises are also expected to trade late-round picks.
McKinney will head to the Dolphins after playing just four games in 2020 due to a shoulder injury. However, the 28-year-old made the Pro Bowl in 2018 with the Texans and will be able to slot in right away in Miami.
Lawson will make way for Houston after just one season with the Dolphins where he tallied 32 tackles, four sacks and a fumble return for a touchdown. He spent the first four years of his career in Buffalo, making 17 starts for the Bills.
Needless to say, this wasn’t the trade that NFL fans expected between the Dolphins and the Texans. Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson has been linked to Miami since the early stages of the offseason when he first expressed his frustration with his current organization. Although the Texans front office has remained adamant that they won’t be trading the 25-year-old, the Dolphins will be one of the first teams to line up if he does become available.
After the announcement about the McKinney-Lawson trade came out on Sunday, reactions came in from around the NFL world. Some viewed the deal between the Dolphins and the Texans as the “wrong one”, while others wondered if this was just the beginning of a communication line between the two teams.
👀 and it looks like communication is open between these two teams. Watson to Miami? Will see. https://t.co/cC1d3sXQGn
— Derek Sibley (@SibleyDerek) March 14, 2021
And yet, Deshaun Watson remains in Houston. https://t.co/Jb6mHEFDv6
— Matt Lombardo (@MattLombardoNFL) March 14, 2021
Wrong trade, Texans https://t.co/fZPCwXU2QF
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) March 14, 2021
the team on kirby is shedding those extensions o’brien signed. https://t.co/M4b0GJLUPR
— Brandon Caldwell (@_brandoc) March 14, 2021
I’m so sorry, Shaq. https://t.co/jyBIOicyVw
— Ryan Talbot (@RyanTalbotBills) March 14, 2021
Based on the reports out of Houston, it doesn’t look like Watson will be dealt anytime soon. The Dolphins will need to play the long game if they want to land the three-time Pro Bowler.
After the trade on Sunday morning, the NFL will turn its focus mostly towards free agency. The new league year and the official start of the free agency period will start on Wednesday.