After Making His Point, Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa Shows Up for OTAs

Miami Dolphins OTAs began Monday, and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was there -- even though work remains on his contract extension.

When news leaked last week that Tua Tagovailoa was a sporadic attendee at Miami Dolphins voluntary workouts, we cautioned against reading too much into it.

Yes, Tagovailoa wants a new contract. No, the talks — as of last week at least — had not progressed as much as wished.

But Tua insisted last month that he would participate in Phase 3 of the league’s voluntary offseason program, known as Organized Team Activities. And he apparently meant what he said. Tagovailoa was present Monday when the first of two weeks of Dolphins OTAs began, The Athletic first reported.

Tua Tagovailoa Reports to Miami Dolphins Camp

From the Dolphins’ perspective, it was a welcome development after Tagovailoa skipped much of the team’s spring sessions, presumably in protest of stalled contract extension talks.

Tagovailoa’s decision to return to the team also suggests he will participate in the mandatory minicamps in June. Boycotting those would subject him to fines.

“Just letting my agent deal with that and talk to the team about that,” Tagovailoa said last month. “For me, my focus is when OTAs come like, hey, you know, go to OTAs, show up, and be the best teammate that I can be.”

The Dolphins are determined not to negotiate what is expected to be a massive extension — which would make Tagovailoa one of the highest-paid players in the sport’s history — in the media.

But when Dolphins general manager Chris Grier last addressed the matter before the NFL Draft, he seemed to suggest the team wouldn’t force a timeline to get a deal done.

“I think it’s something that when it happens, it happens,” Grier said. “We’ve had communication with him and I’ll just leave those between the organization and his representation, and it’s been good so we’ll just keep working towards it. Him and his agent are very understanding that this is now the draft, so he’s letting us focus on that and then we’ll turn our attention to that after the draft finishes.”

The draft was nearly four weeks ago, and in the time since, Tagovailoa’s leverage has only grown.

It’s hard to envision Tua taking anything less than the $212 million over four years (including $170 million guaranteed) that the Detroit Lions just pledged to Jared Goff.

In Goff’s three years with the Lions, he’s completed 66.5% of his passes with 78 touchdowns, 27 interceptions, 7.3 yards per attempt, and a 96.5 passer rating.

In Tagovailoa’s two seasons with Mike McDaniel as his coach, he’s completed 67.4% of his passes with 54 touchdowns, 22 interceptions, 8.5 yards per attempt, and a 102.9 rating.

Tua led the NFL in passing yards in 2023 (4,624). Goff was second with 4,575.

Goff was in the final year of his contract when the Lions decided to extend him. Tagovailoa, likewise, will be a free agent in March if the Dolphins don’t extend or franchise him.

KEEP READING: Who Are the Highest-Paid QBs in the NFL?

Tagovailoa’s teammates seemingly have his back.

After a round of golf with Tagovailoa last week, Jalen Ramsey posted a photo of the scorecards to social media. Beneath the scores, a message scrawled in pencil:

“PAY TUA!!!!!”

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