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Tua Tagovailoa ‘expected’ to be Miami Dolphins QB in 2023

Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is inactive for the third consecutive week after entering the NFL’s concussion protocol for the third time this season. While Tagovailoa won’t be on the field Sunday, there is no longer uncertainty regarding his future.

Dolphins’ head coach Mike McDaniel ruled Tagovailoa out on Wednesday and later told reporters that Miami’s starting quarterback still wasn’t cleared for on-field football activity. It caused elevated concerns for Tagovailoa’s long-term health and sparked questions regarding his ability to remain an NFL player in the years to come.

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  • Tua Tagovailoa stats (2022): 105.5 QB rating, 25-8 TD-INT, 64.8% completion

While Tagovailoa won’t face the Buffalo Bills in Sunday’s Wild Card Game, there seems to be increasing optimism for his future outlook. Even if Miami is eliminated from the NFL playoffs by its division rival, Tagovailoa will be returning to football next season.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Tagovailoa is expected to return in 2023 as the Dolphins’ starting quarterback. It comes with full support from McDaniel, who wants the point guard of his offense running things next fall.

Related: Miami Dolphins vs Buffalo Bills preview

A clean bill of health for Tagovailoa would go a long way for the Dolphins’ organization. While Miami could still pursue a viable backup quarterback in free agency, finding someone McDaniel trusts to run his offense as a spot starter, the Dolphins now might not need to consider a more viable quarterback brought in as insurance if Tagovailoa couldn’t return.

Latest news on Tua Tagovailoa’s concussion

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Tagovailoa is in the league’s concussion protocol for the third time this season after suffering a head injury against the Green Bay Packers in Week 16. It came just months after he was hospitalized following a head injury on Thursday Night Football against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sep. 29.

Related: Tua Tagovailoa, Mike McDaniel take subtle shots at old Miami Dolphins coaches

Just days prior, on Sep. 25, the Dolphins’ quarterback hit his head on the ground playing Buffalo in Week 3, but he remained in the game. As a result of Tagovailoa’s blow to the head and the instability he showed, the NFL changes its protocols for pulling a player out of the game.

  • Tua Tagovailoa contract: $9.633 million salary (2023), 2024 fifth-year team option

Fortunately, per Schefter, medical professionals are confident that Tagovailoa should be able to resume his NFL career. The door is also open for Miami’s signal-caller to return later in the playoffs, depending on how far the Dolphins advance.

While the decision will ultimately be left up to the 24-year-old, his previous comments regarding the risks of head injuries and concussions from football suggest he will keep playing.

Related: Tua Tagovailoa hints parents might not have supported NFL return

It’s the best-case scenario for the Dolphins and Tagovailoa, especially with a full 2023 offseason to recover. If he suffers another concussion next season, though, conversations about his long-term health and football career will return.