The Miami Dolphins’ Real Contract Question: What To Do With Tua Tagovailoa?

The Miami Dolphins cannot pay everyone. Christian Wilkins is seemingly next in line for a raise, but the biggest unknown is how and when to pay Tua Tagovailoa.

Where will the Miami Dolphins be in two years? Defending Super Bowl champions? Treading water? Embarking on another teardown?

Certainly, Chris Grier and Mike McDaniel plan to open Door No. 1. But the key to unlock that door has already been pricey — and could get even pricier.

Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa Decision

The Dolphins already have $460 million in salary cap liabilities between 2023 and 2024 — despite a salary cap total over that time of roughly $480 million.

And that figure doesn’t include new or extended contracts for Christian Wilkins, Robert Hunt, Raekwon Davis, Jaelan Phillips, and Jevon Holland.

Of course, this is a first-world problem. Credit Grier for putting together a roster that’s so good the Dolphins won’t be able to keep everyone.

But who are we kidding? This is a quarterback league, and Miami’s decision on Tua Tagovailoa — if to extend him after this offseason, and at what salary — is the domino that will impact everything else.

Obviously, the more money a team spends on the quarterback position, the less it can spend elsewhere. So there’s a world in which Tagovailoa and his representation believe he’s worth far more than the Dolphins are prepared (or able) to pay.

Spotrac’s market estimate for Tagovailoa is $45 million AAV — and that’s after just three-quarters of a season of high-level play. That number would surely go up if he balls out in 2023.

MORE: The Noah Igbinoghene Trade Explained and What the Miami Dolphins are Getting in Return

Fortunately for the Dolphins, it’s not a decision they have to make today. And it’s not even one they have to make in six months.

But they can only delay the inevitable for so long.

As we discuss in S1E4 of the PFN Miami Dolphins Podcast, the easiest way for a team to be sustainable is to find a quarterback who is so good that the rest of the roster takes care of itself.

What the Dolphins must decide between now and March 2025: Is Tagovailoa that guy?

Grier, asked about where things stand with a Tagovailoa extension Wednesday, replied:

“Oh, I just think the thing for him is just letting Tua play. Those things can be a big distraction. You have family, friends, you guys, everyone constantly asking him about it.
“His agents and I have had discussions. Just general, but not really about that. It’s just agreed. let’s just let him play out the season and we’ll attack that in the offseason.”

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