INDIANAPOLIS — Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier is open to not only picking up Tua Tagovailoa’s fifth-year option but even extending him this offseason, Grier told a select group of reporters, including PFN at the NFL Scouting Combine here Wednesday.
Miami Dolphins GM Chris Grier on Tua Tagovailoa
Grier’s comments came a day after Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel told reporters that the Dolphins are not going to rush a decision on Tagovailoa’s fifth-year option, which would guarantee a $23.2 million base salary in 2024.
The deadline for such a decision is still two months off.
“I think all options [are on the table]. We’ll go through it here, and we’re going to spend a lot of time here,” Grier said. “And that’s a good thing. We’re not rushed to make any [decision] right now. We’ll be in touch with Tua’s representatives, and Mike and I and Brandon [Shore] will sit, and Steve [Ross] will make a push for things, and we’ll talk and see where they stand.
“Like I said, we’re very excited for him, the strides that he made this year with Mike and the offense. You guys have been here and seen it. It was really exciting. To see the work that he puts in that you don’t see at the facility is really incredible. The dialogue between he and Mike, just talking football. I’ve never heard as much football as he talks with Mike with things he sees, even from other games. It’s pretty cool to see.”
Tagovailoa’s production in 2022 warrants a big-time raise over the $1 million he’s due in 2023. He led the NFL in passer rating (105.5), touchdown rate (6.3%), yards per attempt (8.9), adjusted yards per attempt (9.2), net yards per attempt (8.0), adjusted net yards per attempt (8.4), and yards per completion (13.7).
But he’s also missed 10 games due to injury in his first three years and suffered at least two concussions in 2022. Grier acknowledged Wednesday that Tagovailoa’s durability will be a consideration.
“I can’t lie and say no, but it’s not something that’s going to make us afraid to do something long-term, no,” Grier said. “The one thing he’s had is he’s been banged up but always comes back and bounces back and plays hard and performs. Excited for his future, excited to watch him do all the work he’s been doing in the offseason here right now to prepare for 2023. He’s very excited to get back on the field with his teammates.”
Any Tagovailoa contract extension would have to deal with the reality that the Dolphins are roughly $15 million over the cap. The Dolphins need to cut enough players or restructure enough contracts to get under that cap by March 15.
“This is nothing that’s unexpected for us,” Grier said. “We’ve done a good job communicating that. Mr. Ross, we’ve talked to him, knows as well. Brandon Shore and Max Napolitano do a good job of looking at all scenarios for us. When we make moves, even when we make trades like we did with [Bradley] Chubb midseason, it’s always with an eye on what things are going to look like.
“We’ll be fine, and it’s always working from that position of flexibility that we like. We’ll continue to do that, which provides us opportunities to continue to make moves.”
Chris Grier on Byron Jones Situation
Grier on Wednesday would not commit to cornerback Byron Jones being on the Dolphins’ roster in 2023 — and even seemingly has questions about whether Jones, who missed the entire 2022 season after offseason Achilles surgery, will play again.
“He’s under contract with us,” Jones said. “Vic [Fangio] is back in Florida looking over the team, so obviously, he’s going to have some say in this with his scheme and what we’re doing. We’ll also talk with Byron too. A lot of moving parts right now. Not running around the answer, but that’s just kind of where we are right now.”
When asked if he has confidence that Jones — who said in a tweet last weekend that he “can’t run or jump because of my injuries sustained playing this game” — will ever play football again, Grier said:
“I’m not a doctor. I don’t want to speak. We’ve seen him. When I last saw him, he was working out, doing everything he can to try to get back.”
Grier also was asked about Jones’ assertion that pills and injections have impacted his long-term health.
“Talked to his agent [Alan Herman], we had a good conversation,” Grier said. “With Byron, we’ve always had great communication in terms of, he has a very good relationship with our training staff and doctors. From our end, we’ve been very transparent, a lot of really good communication between him, his agent, and our trainers and doctors. I think we’re in a good spot. He’s working hard trying to get back and play, and he’s been in communication with us through the process.
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