Why Record-Breaking Contract for Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa Isn’t So Far-Fetched

Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier will probably have to pony up more than he originally thought with the massive growth in the NFL's salary cap.

INDIANAPOLIS — Two new small developments on the Tua Tagovailoa contract extension front Wednesday:

General manager Chris Grier reiterated that the Miami Dolphins “are hopeful” that a deal will get done this offseason but cautioned that it will likely won’t happen any time soon.

And Spotrac made roughly half of all Dolphins fans lose their minds by dropping a new projection on what that contract will ultimately be: Four years, $220 million, with $165 million in total guarantees.

What Will Miami Dolphins Offer Tua Tagovailoa?

That means the NFL contract database’s algorithm believes Tua’s AAV will be $55 million — which would tie Joe Burrow for the most by any player in the sport’s history.

And don’t be surprised if Tagovailoa’s agent, Ryan Williams of Athletes First, does whatever he can to beat that record, even by only a dollar.

Even a week ago, that figure would have been a bad deal for the Dolphins, given Tagovailoa’s career resume and injury history.

But that was before the league announced the 2024 salary cap: A whopping $255.4 million, which is a year-over-year increase of 13.6%.

So, the pie has grown significantly for every player, including quarterbacks. And a player who would have been worth $48 million in 2023 — which is right in the range of what would have been fair for Tagovailoa under last year’s cap — is now worth $55 million.

Not surprisingly, Chris Grier wouldn’t concede that point when meeting with reporters here Wednesday.

“I don’t know,” Grier said. “You’d have to ask him that or his agent that. I think at the end of the day, when those things happen, obviously people get excited. You just try and work through it. You have rational discussions with people, and his representation are really good people, and we’re having great conversations.

“At the end of the day, what he’s looking for in terms of the money going up, does that drive the salary up? I don’t know. You’d have to ask him.”

We could, but we already know the answer: Almost certainly yes.

Which is why Tagovailoa’s contract, should it get done, could break records.

“I think we’re hopeful,” Grier said when asked if he thinks a deal gets done this offseason. “When you go through these things – you guys have all been around, and you see other teams go through that – these are deals that very rarely come together quickly. There are a lot of pieces and moving parts. We’ve had positive discussions so far, and we’ll keep working here throughout the offseason.”

Grier added that Tagovailoa’s concussion history will not be a factor in what the Dolphins decide to offer. What’s more, he thinks the NFL’s leader in passing yards in 2024 still has another level he can reach.

KEEP READING: Why Dolphins’ Chris Grier Shut Down Jaylen Waddle Trade Rumors

“We’re strong believers in him,” he said. “And you guys all feel [Mike McDaniel’s] passion about him when he talks about him. Just in the two years of what he’s done, he’s grown in areas to where he led the league in passing and did some great things this year. And we all feel there’s still another level he can take it. I think if you asked Tua that, he’d tell you that, too.

“And so just his growth on and off the field, being voted captain last year, and then seeing how he is behind the scenes with guys and holding people accountable, it’s huge. I think the way he’s attacked this and wants to be great and the combination of Mike and working with that and that trust and belief in each other, we do think there’s still another level which he could go.”

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