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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 26: Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross on the field before the NFL game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on September 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated the Dolphins 31-28 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Home » Blog » Dolphins see future in Tua Tagovailoa, but it’s risky

Dolphins see future in Tua Tagovailoa, but it’s risky

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered two official concussions and a likely third this season. Still, he’s the future in South Beach.

NFL teams love certainty. Certainty in salary cap, certainty in the coaching staff. Certainty in presumptive player behavior and performance.

Unfortunately, the Miami Dolphins have no such thing with Tua Tagovailoa.


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Tagovailoa, the Dolphins’ starting quarterback heading into his fourth season, is eligible for a contract extension. And while nobody expects a big-money deal to get done this offseason, it’s starting the clock on the rest of his rookie deal, which runs through the 2024 campaign.

Then there’s the on-field performance, which remains a mystery. When Tagovailoa was healthy this season, he played like a quality starter. The former No. 5 overall pick threw for 3,548 yards and 25 touchdowns against eight interceptions, but this season he suffered two documented concussions and what appeared to be a third.

On Friday at the Super Bowl’s radio row in Phoenix, Tagovailoa spoke about the recovery from his concussion sustained on Christmas against the Green Bay Packers, explaining the process. Per ESPN:

“For concussion protocol, I think the team did me the biggest service throughout that. They never allowed me to go through protocol normally until the season was done. So that’s why it might have seemed like it took forever, but they were just protecting me from myself. And me and my family are very thankful to the Dolphins.

“But it really entailed a lot of exertion, so like running, ocular and vestibular movements, so like balance, proprioception — things like that. Having went to see a doctor in Pittsburgh, got clear from him and then had to do written test, memorization.”


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Hopefully, Tagovailoa never needs to deal with a situation like this again. However, if he suffers another concussion next year, there’s going to be legitimate talk about whether he can be a long-term solution for the Dolphins (or any team) — even if Tagovailoa wants to keep playing.

This winter, Miami general manager Chris Grier likely stands pat unless something miraculous falls to him. The Dolphins don’t have a first-round pick and unless you believe Lamar Jackson is getting to free agency (he’s not), then there’s nobody worth signing as more than an upgrade at backup to Teddy Bridgewater.

For now, Tagovailoa remains the Dolphins’ man. But that’s tenuous, and all parties know it.

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