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    How Disruptive Would a Tua Tagovailoa Training Camp Holdout Be for Miami Dolphins?

    If Tua Tagovailoa becomes the first Miami Dolphins quarterback to hold out in decades, the ripple effects on the team's 2024 chances would be significant.

    Miami Dolphins fans want Tua Tagovailoa to become their next Dan Marino.

    They should be careful for what they wish. The fan base might not like it if Tagovailoa emulates Dan the Man in one utterly disruptive way.

    Camp Holdout for Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa?

    The last time the Dolphins had quarterback contract drama this major, Marino was a mere 24 years old. He held out for some six weeks of Miami’s 1985 training camp, returning to the team just a week before the Dolphins’ season opener (which they lost).

    Could the Dolphins have a reboot of a bad ’80s drama four decades later? Veterans are set to report to camp in less than two weeks, and Tagovailoa — set to play under the fifth-year option of his rookie contract — still doesn’t have a new deal.

    That has led to heightened speculation that Tagovailoa will take the dramatic step of holding out of camp, which no Dolphins veteran has done since the league and union modified the CBA to make camp boycotts largely cost-prohibitive.

    The Dolphins would have no choice but to fine Tagovailoa $50,000 for each day of camp and $1.3 million for each preseason game he misses. If Tagovailoa in 2024 would hold out as long as Marino did in 1985, he would incur fines in excess of $5 million.

    The damage to the Dolphins’ Super Bowl hopes could be even costlier.

    Dolphins Disruption?

    A month-long (if not longer) holdout by a QB1 just doesn’t happen, particularly in today’s NFL.

    Teams have great incentive to keep their quarterbacks happy, and quarterbacks (even playing under the franchise tag) understand the havoc an extended absence can wreak on a team’s chances.

    So we’re all largely making informed guesses about how a Tagovailoa holdout would work — the Dolphins included.

    “I would’ve had an ulcer and a panic attack if I tried to forecast anything that comes to my plate on a daily basis,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said last month when asked about Tagovailoa hypotheticals. “I haven’t extrapolated in that way. What we’ve been focused on is communicating with each other.

    “The knowns are that Tua’s representation and our front office are negotiating a contract. As a player, Tua, and myself as a coach, what should our focus be on? Right, wrong, or indifferent, we’re going to be held accountable for the ultimate product.

    “Whatever way you want to see it, the piper has to be paid, so to speak, so how can we make sure that we are delivering on what we’re bound and determined is non-negotiable of developing this offseason.”

    While NFL distractions are largely overrated, Tua’s absence would be THE storyline of camp, overshadowing a roster built to win now.

    Tagovailoa has yet to get a single rep of practice with Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Odell Beckham Jr., and Jonnu Smith on the field at the same time. Practice is important for chemistry, and without it, the first month of the season would be ragged as the Dolphins fine-tune timing on the fly.

    During the holdout, Mike White and Skylar Thompson would presumably rotate as QB1 since they’re competing to be QB2. Both would get the opportunity to prove they can operate the offense after seeing the field for a combined 53 snaps in 2023.

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    What’s more, camp starting without a signed contract extension would further alienate Tagovailoa, a prideful man who has admitted he struggles to compartmentalize. It might harden his negotiating position, making it harder for the Dolphins to eventually get a deal done.

    “For people that talk about business is different than personal, sure, I can agree to some extent,” Tagovailoa said last month. “But who you are as a person, for what you do business and personal, is who you are with how you do everything. That’s how I see it.

    “That’s just how I look at it. And if not, if you can be two different people at once, hey by all means you can do that. But to me, that’s just not how I am.”

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