Four 2020 NFL Draft class quarterbacks are eligible for contract extensions this offseason. All four have shown potential for MVP-level performances: Joe Burrow is already considered one of the best with the Bengals, Justin Herbert has had exceptional production with the Chargers, Jalen Hurts recently led the Eagles to a Super Bowl bid, and Tua Tagovailoa had a strong start with the Dolphins in 2022. However, Tagovailoa is the biggest unknown among the group.
While the Bengals and Chargers may face difficulties in paying market value for their franchise quarterbacks, there is no doubt that Burrow and Herbert deserve lucrative new contracts. Hurts has already earned the approval of Eagles ownership and is on track for a significant raise. On the other hand, Tua had a promising season under new coach Mike McDaniel until he suffered at least two concussions, ending his season on injured reserve.
Technically, Tagovailoa is entering a contract year, but the Dolphins have until May 1 to exercise his fifth-year option, which would keep him with the team until 2024. However, whether the Dolphins plan to negotiate a long-term deal remains unclear. At the scouting combine, team executives shared their thoughts, and here is our interpretation of their comments.
“Like any other player, you factor in every variable. I think it’s important to recognize we have a congruence of interests by the Dolphins and the player, Tua, that we both want him to play at a very high level for a long time for the Miami Dolphins.” Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel.
“I think all options [are on the table] … And that’s a good thing, [because] we’re not rushed to make any [decision] right now. And so we’ll be in touch with Tua’s representatives, and Mike [McDaniel] and I and [executive] Brandon [Shore] will sit — and [owner] Steve [Ross] — and we’ll make a push for things, and we’ll talk, and we’ll see where they stand.” Team general manager Chris Grier
The Miami Dolphins are optimistic about Tua Tagovailoa’s future and willing to invest in the quarterback down the road. Before his repeat head injuries, Tagovailoa had made visible improvements as a passer and had a productive start to the 2022 season with the addition of Tyreek Hill to his receiving corps and the guidance of offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel. Despite some struggles later in the season, Tagovailoa showed glimpses of franchise-caliber potential previously overshadowed by his conservative approach.
However, there is a difference between the Dolphins’ enthusiasm and other teams like the Bengals, Chargers, and Eagles in their respective quarterback contract negotiations. The Bengals and Eagles appear eager to secure long-term job security for their franchise quarterbacks. The Dolphins are taking a more cautious approach and exploring all options with Tagovailoa.
Although Dolphins general manager Chris Grier has stated that he is not afraid to think long-term with Tagovailoa’s contract, it does not necessarily mean the team will make tangible offers this offseason. Miami will likely exercise Tagovailoa’s fifth-year option to avoid a potential quarterback reset. However, discussions about a long-term deal will probably be put on hold until he returns to the field, stays healthy, and meets expectations in 2023.
Overall, Miami’s decision-makers are considering all variables regarding Tagovailoa, as there are many factors to consider, including his recent injuries and his ability to prove himself as a sustainable option.