Monday’s news of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa entering the NFL concussion protocol for the second time this season brings a cloud of uncertainty over the franchise. The latest addition to Tagovailoa’s now well-documented injury history dating back to his college days at Alabama comes near the end of his third season.
First-round picks are given four-year contracts with a fifth-year option. For the first-rounders from the 2020 draft, Tagovailoa’s class, teams have until May 2, 2023, to decide whether or not to pick up that fifth year.
All this brings up fascinating potential storylines and what-ifs. What if the Dolphins decide to move on from Tagovailoa? What if Tagovailoa decides to sit out an extended period to recover? Or what if he retires for good? Wild speculation is abundant right now and nothing is being reported here, so consider this a hypothetical exercise.
The Dolphins do not have the draft picks to move up in the draft to get a quarterback. Their own 2023 first-round pick was forfeited after the NFL’s investigation into Dolphins owner Stephen Ross last August, while the pick they owned via a trade with the San Francisco 49ers was used to acquire Bradley Chubb from the Denver Broncos. In all likelihood, any quarterback acquisitions would come through low-level trades or free agency.
Let’s pretend that Tagovailoa is not on the Dolphins next season, either because the team decided to go in a different direction or he chose to retire on his own. What quarterbacks would be available in the trade or free-agent market? We’ll go over all the potential candidates and whether or not it’s a good fit and if a trade is possible.