Now that the trade deadline has come and gone and the Dolphins did… let me check my notes here… absolutely nothing, we can all breathe a sigh of relief for a few months. There are a few months before the rumor mill is going to start up again as soon as the offseason starts. I see a few different options about where this Dolphins team could be at the end of the season and what it might mean for the future of the franchise, especially in relation to the most important position on the field, quarterback.
Option 1: Tua balls out
This is the best case scenario for the Dolphins no matter what the future of the quarterback position is. If Tua Tagovailoa plays at an elite level for the rest of the season, it benefits the team even if he isn’t in the team’s future plans. Ideally, Tua would prove that he is the guy and the Dolphins would be able to hang on to him and build around him. Even if they’ve already decided that he isn’t their guy, Tua playing well could convince another team that he is their guy and then the Dolphins can get a decent return for him to help build around whoever the next guy is. Either way you look at it, now that the trade deadline has passed and this is the team we’re stuck with for the rest of the season, Dolphins fans should be rooting for Tua to ball out.
Likelihood of this happening: Not Likely
Option 2: Tua fails miserably
I can’t imagine the mental toll the last few months must have taken on Tua. Imagine getting picked fifth overall and in just a year you’re already surrounded by trade rumors and speculation and it’s pretty obvious that your team is looking elsewhere to replace you. Who knows what those private conversations with Flores entailed but they probably haven’t done much to make Tua feel better about the media nightmare this season has been. All of that adding up could throw Tua off his game. Or there’s another possibility that could lead to this option, Tua could just not be that good. We haven’t seen enough of him to know whether or not he will put it all together or if he just doesn’t have what it takes to thrive in the NFL. Either way, if Tua fails miserably I would expect Deshaun Watson trade rumors to keep heating up (depending on what happens with his legal situation) or at the very least the Dolphins are going to be looking at trading Tua for whatever value they can get and then drafting another prospect. Either way this is a pretty dark timeline for the franchise. Not to mention if the team keeps losing and the Eagles get to draft first overall with the Dolphins’ pick, it’s going to be even more painful for the fans.
Likelihood of this happening: I wouldn’t be surprised.
Option 3: The team is mediocre
This, in my professional opinion, is the most likely option out of the three. Unfortunately it’s also the murkiest. The Dolphins might win a few games and will definitely lose a few. Tua will show flashes of the guy he was supposed to be but he will also continue to make boneheaded decisions that cost the team games. The defense will play well for a few quarters and then fall apart towards the end of games. The Dolphins end with a losing record and miss the playoffs again but play well enough to not be considered the worst team in the league. This, I think, is the worst possible outcome. At least if Tua is great or Tua is terrible we’d have a clear path forward. If Tua is what he has been all season, that is to say: he looks great sometimes and terrible others, it’s going to be a much harder decision. Some have already written him off and are ready to embrace yet another rebuild. Some still believe Tua is the second coming of Marino and will save the franchise if the Dolphins could just give him some help. This argument will only get further divided if Tua is just fine through the rest of the season.
Likelihood of this happening: I would be surprised if this wasn’t exactly how the rest of the season goes.
Regardless of which outcome prevails, Dolphins fans are once again already looking towards the offseason halfway through the current season. If this franchise is going to turn it around something needs to change. The question is whether that change is a new quarterback or a new front office.