Advertisement

What do Jaylen Waddle, Tyreek Hill contracts mean for Tua Tagovailoa?

The Dolphins have paid receiver Jaylen Waddle. They inevitably will pay receiver Tyreek Hill, again. Presumably, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will get a second contract, too.

Or will he?

Tua is due to make $23.1 million in the option year of his rookie first-round deal. If player and team were on the same page about the value of his next contract, the contract would already be done. So what does Tua want? What is the team willing to pay?

Bottom line? At some point before Week 1 of the regular season, the Dolphins will make their best offer. Tua will take it, or he won't.

The most important person in this entire exercise is team owner Stephen Ross. Is he willing to give Tua $50 million or more per year when the jury remains out on how far he can take the team? Or will Ross trust a coach who has a reputation for designing and implementing high-end offense to do as well or better with someone else?

Dak Prescott might be available next year. Kirk Cousins could be available, at only $27.5 million in 2025 salary. Deshaun Watson, depending on how this season goes in Cleveland, could be available. What could other quarterbacks do with a revolving door of potent running backs and a receiving corps led by Hill and Waddle?

Let's play out how it could go. The Dolphins have the franchise tag available for 2025. If he takes the team beyond the first round of the playoffs, they could use that to hold him in place while they try to work out a long-term deal. Or, regardless of how 2024 goes, they could let him hit the open market and find out what else is, or isn't, out there.

When the Lions recently gave Jared Goff a deal with $53 million per year in new money, many asked who were the Lions bidding against? Really, who would have given that kind of contract to Goff? Who would give $50 million or more per year to Tua, if he was available to anyone and everyone?

However it goes, it's fair to ask whether the Dolphins could go as far or farther with another quarterback who would cost significantly less than Tua wants. It's also fair to wonder whether Ross will draw a line in the sand that falls short of what Tua will take.