Mike McDaniel: 'Very encouraged' about Dolphins, Tua Tagovailoa contract talks

INDIANAPOLIS — Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel is hopeful the team will reach a contract extension with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

"Absolutely," McDaniel said Tuesday at the NFL scouting combine. "One of the cool things in this organization is how communicative and how well I work with (general manager) Chris Grier. As well as how I can separate what my job is, and what his job is, and how we move forward. I'm very encouraged. Both Tua's representation and our organization are hard at work. Those timelines are impossible to predict."

Tua recently expressed confidence that a new deal with Miami will get done. The Dolphins' quarterback has led the NFL in passer rating as well as passing yards.

But Miami must weigh Tua's productivity in McDaniel's offense with injury history and the fact that he is neither a dynamic runner nor a powerful thrower. His strengths are timing and accuracy.

"My main concern this offseason has been communicating what Tua needs from his head coach and his offensive coaching staff, which is, what things can we identify to continue the progression of your game the same way that we have," McDaniel said.

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McDaniel said he has total belief in Tua.

"Since Day 1, my belief has always been strong," McDaniel said. "From day one. And it's stronger than it was the first day I met him. And that's because of that relationship, where I'm focused, which is continuing to provide the coaching so he can continue to evolve this game."

McDaniel was asked in which area Tua showed the most growth.

"Reps," McDaniel said. "He had more reps than he's ever had in his career, because he played the full season. Football, there's a lot of things that can happen. There's also a lot of things you can control. I think one of the best examples of taking control over your career is what Tua was able to do through training and being able to experience all the different things.

"I mean, shoot, experience a playoff game for the first time in his career. That was afforded to him because he was able to lead the team week in and week out. These are things that weren't necessarily assumed he was capable of doing. But like most things that Tua has done in his career, he's recognized that and proven doubters wrong."

Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel speaks at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel speaks at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

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The Dolphins were atop or near the top of almost all offensive categories in 2024 but struggled down the stretch.

Does McDaniel believe only tweaks are needed or are there philosophical changes to consider?

"It's an interesting question," McDaniel said. "I look at it every offseason. Every year the offense is a constant evolution to your players, and to what defenses are doing. So what we're doing, you know, I'm never going to copy-paste and be like, 'Well, we did this. This is what we did in 2023 and let's work off of that.' "

Joe Schad is a journalist covering the Miami Dolphins and the NFL at The Palm Beach Post. You can reach him at and follow him on Instagram and on X @schadjoe. Sign up for Joe's free weekly Dolphins Pulse Newsletter. Help support our work by subscribing today.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins on a long-term contract? Mike McDaniel weighs in.