Dolphins signing former Jets QB Mike White, adding backup for Tua Tagovailoa

Cheyenne Boone/Cheyenne Boone/The News Tribune

The Dolphins have agreed to terms with quarterback Mike White, a league source told the Miami Herald, bringing in a backup for Tua Tagovailoa in the 2023 season.

According to multiple reports, the deal for White is a two-year contract worth $8 million and includes up to $4 million in incentives each season. White receives a $3.42 million signing bonus and $4.5 million in total guarantees. It’s the first reported deal for Miami since the legal negotiating window opened at noon Monday. Contracts cannot be finalized until the start of the new league year at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

White, a Pembroke Pines native who played at Davie University School, has spent the last four seasons with the New York Jets, appearing in eight games with seven starts. In 2022, he made four starts with a 1-3 record, completing 58.9 percent of his passes for 1,192 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions (75.7 quarterback rating).

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A fifth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in the 2018 Draft, White spent his first three seasons on the practice squad before making his first career start in 2021, throwing for 405 yards — the most by a first-time starter since 2011 — and three touchdowns in a 34-31 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. During his career, White, 27, has completed 62.2 percent of his passes 2,145 yards, eight touchdowns and 12 interceptions with a 2-5 record.

With the Dolphins continuing to commit to Tagovailoa — the team picked up his fifth-year option last week — and Teddy Bridgewater an unrestricted free agent, Miami was in search of a quarterback to compete for the backup spot with Skylar Thompson, who made three starts as a rookie. But White comes to Miami as a veteran addition with starting experience and knowledge of head coach Mike McDaniel’s scheme from his time with the Jets.

Thompson, a seventh-round pick in the 2022 Draft, appeared in seven games and started the final two games of the year, including the Dolphins’ season-ending loss to the Buffalo Bills in the wild-card round. He completed 52 percent of his passes with four touchdowns to five interceptions.

“I think really when you assess Skylar’s play as a rookie, he did a lot of things to deserve to be in competition and to have an open mind to him being — to winning the backup quarterback role,” McDaniel said at the NFL Scouting Combine last month. “I don’t foresee that being unchallenged by any stretch.”


Tagovailoa had a breakout season in 2022, throwing a career-high 25 touchdown passes and leading the NFL in passer rating. But a pair of diagnosed concussions sidelined him for five games, once again prompting questions about his durability.

Dolphins’ decision-makers have said medical professionals told them Tagovailoa’s spate of head injuries this past season do not make him more prone to concussions going forward. But the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 Draft has missed 10 games since entering the NFL and Miami’s offense struggled in his absence this past season, emphasizing the team’s need for a capable backup quarterback. In the five games Tagovailoa missed because of injury, the Dolphins averaged 19.2 points.

White was Broward County Player of the Year and a first-team all-Broward pick by the Miami Herald, leading University School to its first state title as a senior. He committed to the University of South Florida before transferring to Western Kentucky after two seasons.

In an interview with WQAM’s Joe Rose Show in early March, White said he would be interested in returning to play for his hometown team.

“One hundred percent. Selfishly, from a personal standpoint, obviously growing up down there, I would love to go back home,” he said. “But from a football standpoint, it’s a very talented offense. Really good, young group of guys. You can tell that they’re starting to build something special and I would love to be a part of it.”