Dolphins Not Moving In A Different Direction From Tua Tagovailoa, Sources Insist

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Last week was like many others for the Miami Dolphins since Mike McDaniels and Chris Grier joined forces as the team’s head coach and general manager in that they professed their unambiguous commitment to Tua Tagovailoa as the team’s quarterback.

McDaniel talked about the Dolphins and Tagovailoa both sharing a future.

And Grier told reporters Tagovailoa remains the team’s quarterback going forward and the club is “excited” about that.

That’s why multiple people within the organization were surprised by a CBS Sports report Friday, repeated on a national website Saturday, that the Dolphins are exploring all their options at quarterback “including moving in a different direction from Tua.”

Chris Grier commits to Tua Tagovailoa.
General manager Chris Grier of the Miami Dolphins looks on prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at Hard Rock Stadium on September 19, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Dolphins ‘Moving On’ From Tua Surprises Dolphins

So let’s be clear here: The Dolphins are telling OutKick they are planning for Tagovailoa to remain their starter in 2023 and one source called the idea the club is exploring going in a different direction “fundamentally not true.”

So there’s that.

Now let’s peel back some layers on this because the topic — a team looking to replace a three-year starting quarterback who just delivered his best, albeit injury plagued, season — is a huge story for any team.

It is true the Dolphins are doing much due diligence on the quarterback position now, including with Tagovailoa.

The Dolphins need and intend to add a veteran quarterback to be Tagovailoa’s backup for 2023.

Secondly, the Dolphins have work to do and decisions to make on Tagovailoa’s contract future.

Tua Tagovailoa remains Dolphins quarterback.
Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins walks off the field with the game ball after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 16-10 at Hard Rock Stadium on October 23, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Tua Tagovailoa Contract Needs Attention

As a former first-round pick entering his fourth season, Tagovailoa is eligible to get a contract extension. The club is also able to exercise a fifth-year option on him that would cost approximately $23 million for the 2024 season, thus giving the club two years of contract control over the player.

And because Tagovailoa suffered two concussions last season that forced him to miss five games, including a playoff start, the Dolphins have a lot to think about before making either commitment.

It’s much more likely the club opts to exercise the fifth-year option by the May 1 deadline than sign Tagovailoa to a extension. Indeed, a multi-year extension would be almost surprising at this stage.

But none of that suggests the Dolphins are going to be replacing Tagovailoa next season.

The truth is doing that only makes sense if Miami can land Aaron Rodgers.


Tua Tagovailoa contract issues must be addressed.
Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins signals at the line of scrimmage against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter at Highmark Stadium on December 17, 2022 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)

Dolphins Have Limited QB Options

Firstly, the Dolphins don’t have a first-round draft pick to invest on any of the rookie quarterback class. So they won’t find themselves high enough in the April draft to pick a QB to challenge Tagovailoa.

Secondly, there’s only a couple of veteran quarterbacks who may perhaps become available that could be an upgrade over Tagovailoa. Those two are Rodgers, if he even decides to play next season, and Derek Carr.

Jimmy Garoppolo is not an upgrade at this stage and comes with significant durability issues of his own.

The Dolphins have so far not dipped into the Rodgers market. And neither has anyone else because Rodgers remains a mystery.

Aaron Rodgers a long shot with the Miami Dolphins?
: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after a touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field on December 19, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Aaron Rodgers Is Only Longshot

One supposes there is a longshot, very unlikely at this stage, possibility Dolphins owner Stephen Ross might be hatching a quarterback plan none of Miami’s football people are privy to yet.

It’s happened before with Tom Brady and Ross meeting on yachts and hatching possible plans.

That didn’t go exactly as planned and cost the Dolphins picks in the next two draft. So one might imagine Ross has learned his lesson about NFL tampering.

If Rodgers becomes available, Ross might ask his football people to chase Rodgers. The club owner loves big name players and he really hates losing to the Jets so that might be wild idea in Miami.

But that’s not a plan. That’s a longshot purchase of a lottery ticket.

So barring that scenario, which the Dolphins currently have no plans for, Tagovailoa remains the Dolphins starter. Just as the football people insist.

“Both parties,” McDaniels said last week, “really want [Tagovailoa] to play at a very high level for a long time for the Miami Dolphins.”

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

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