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Miami Dolphins exercise $23 million contract option on Tua Tagovailoa

The Miami Dolphins affirmed their commitment to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for the foreseeable future, exercising his fifth-year option to ensure he remains with the franchise for several years.

Tagovailoa, selected with the fifth pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, faced questions about his future at the start of the NFL offseason. After suffering three documented head injuries during the regular season, there were initially some concerns for his career.

Even after Tagovailoa cleared the concussion protocol in February, there were still reports that he wasn’t guaranteed to be Miami’s quarterback in 2023. Following the retirement of Tom Brady, there was recent speculation he could still return to replace Tagovailoa.

Related: Tua Tagovailoa’s parents address his future

The Baltimore Ravens’ decision to place the non-exclusive franchise tag on Lamar Jackson, who spends his offseasons in Miami, created further speculation that the Dolphins could make a quarterback change. However, all of that will likely now be put to rest.

According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the Dolphins are exercising the fifth-year option on Tagovailoa’s contract for the 2024 NFL season.

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

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While the Dolphins spent a few weeks evaluating the decision, it ultimately isn’t a surprising decision by the organization. Thanks to new contracts for Daniel Jones, Geno Smith and Derek Carr, the cost of quarterback salaries is skyrocketing.

Tagovailoa’s $1.01 million base salary in 2023 is tied for 36th amongst NFL quarterbacks, less than backups Will Grier ($1.08 million) and C.J. Beathard ($1.8 million). While his $23.171 million salary in 2024 is fully guaranteed under NFL rules, it would still make him just the 10th highest-paid quarterback in football even before Jackson, Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow sign extensions.

Related: Tua Tagovailoa, Mike McDaniel take a subtle shot at old Dolphis’ coaching staff

Miami is effectively making a two-year commitment to Tagovailoa in Mike McDaniel’s system. If he repeats the success the organization saw in 2022 and avoids further head injuries, the Dolphins will likely sign him to a multi-year extension before 2025.

As for the upcoming season, Miami is expected to pursue a veteran quarterback with starting experience to serve as its backup. While Tagovailoa will be the unquestioned starter this fall, the Dolphins want a reliable option behind the quarterback who has played in just 36 games over the last three seasons.