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NFL executives suggest Tua Tagovailoa is the Miami Dolphins’ problem, should be traded

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa
Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa stayed healthy throughout the 2023 NFL season, erasing one of the biggest concerns many around the NFL had with him. However, Saturday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs also reminded NFL executives of why they wouldn’t want to be in the Dolphins’ shoes.

The Dolphins have maintained one of the best offenses in the NFL over the last two seasons with Tagovailoa at quarterback. At times, he’s posted MVP-caliber numbers and his overall play during the regular season sparked speculation about an eventual contract extension.

  • Tua Tagovailoa stats 2023: 101.1 QB rating, 69.3% completion rate, 4,624 passing yards, 29-14 TD-INT, 8.3 yards per attempt, 272 passing yards per game

Related: Why Miami Dolphins have hit their ceiling with Tua Tagovailoa

Unfortunately for Tagovailoa and head coach Mike McDaniel, a Wild Card Round loss to the Chiefs offered the latest evidence of the quarterback’s limitations. As the Dolphins now head into the offseason with Tagovailoa entering the final year of his rookie contract, many around the NFL wonder if Miami’s best path to a Super Bowl would require finding a better quarterback.

Speaking to Mike Sando of The Athletic, NFL executives were fairly critical of Tagovailoa and argued he puts a ceiling on the Dolphins’ offense. As far as alternatives to replace him, it was suggested Miami trade him and acquire someone like Kirk Cousins.

“Your upside with Tua certainly seems limited. So let’s say you can trade him. I would be exploring, ‘OK, Tua, we can win games with, probably not winning a championship with. Kirk Cousins, we can win games with, probably not winning a championship with. But our resources are better spent on Cousins plus draft picks than they are on just Tua.”

Anonymous NFL executive on Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa
  • Tua Tagovailoa contract: $23.171 million salary (fully guaranteed) in 2024, 2025 free agent

Related: Miami Dolphins draft picks 2024

One executive suggested Miami could trade Tagovailoa for a Day 2 pick and then sign Cousins in free agency. While it would be a risk, with Cousins coming off a torn Achilles, there’s a consensus belief that he would be a better quarterback for Miami than Tagovailoa.

“He is at the level of quarterback that is hard to commit to. But it becomes really tricky when you start betting against your quarterback like that

NFL executive in Tua Tagovailoa

Multiple executives who were polled agreed that Tagovailoa is still a quality starter. While some said there would be “no way” they extended Tagovailoa, it also came with the acknowledgment that he’s good enough as a starter that it becomes more difficult to move on from him.

Barring a franchise-caliber quarterback requesting a trade this offseason, Miami won’t have true alternatives. Ultimately, the Dolphins might have to let Tagovailoa play out his fifth-year option and then franchise tag him in 2025, with the hope he either improves or a superior quarterback becomes available.

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