Many Miami Dolphins fans were planning for an exciting ride on the NFL quarterback carousel. Their bags were packed and the list of potential replacements, however unrealistic they were, included such names as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Derek Carr.
But just as soon as the Dolphins fanbase was gearing up for a carousel ride through the land of reckless speculation, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier put an end to the journey before it even began. Or at least that’s what he wants you to think.
When Grier addressed the media at Monday’s press conference, he gave a definitive-sounding retort to a question about the future of starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and if the team plans to pick up his fifth-year option.
“[Tua Tagovailoa] is our starting quarterback,” said Dolphins general manager Chris Grier on Tuesday. “I don’t know if I can say that any more clearly.”
Interesting. There’s a lot to unpack here.
First, when asked directly multiple times if he was picking up Tagovailoa’s option, there wasn’t a direct answer to be found.
“I think everything is on the table for us,” Grier said.
If the team and front office are so sure that Tagovailoa is going to be back to 100 percent next year, why the vagueness? Because they aren’t actually sure, that’s why. Of course, they aren’t, and why would they be? Tagovailoa is a small quarterback with an injury history that now includes three concussions in less than a season. That is a tough situation to hitch your wagon to.
Second, Grier has to give those quotes. The more newsworthy story would be if he came out and gave any kind of evidence to the contrary. Say Grier is on the phone with the Raiders about making a deal for Carr, and the Raiders know the Dolphins are moving on from Tagovailoa. Suddenly, the Raiders have more leverage. With Grier publicly putting his name on wanting to move forward with Tagovailoa, he now has deniability.
And then there’s you know who.
Third, don’t forget about that Brady-sized shadow lurking in the shadows. After the Buccaneers lost 31-14 to the Dallas Cowboys in the wildcard round Monday, Brady is a free agent once again, and Miami is one of the teams he’s rumored to have his sights set on.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross’ has been enamored with Brady for years, and was found to have been tampering with both the future hall-of-fame quarterback and former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton on several occasions. Ross was suspended from team activities and fined $1.5 million, while the team was docked a first-round pick in 2023 and a third-round pick in 2024. Do people expect Ross’ years-long fascination with Brady to just be over because he was put in owner timeout? Doubtful.
Fourth, and this may be the most important piece of all, this team is built for right now. Grier went all-in with trades for wide receiver Tyreek Hill and pass rusher Bradley Chubb. The offense, when the first-string quarterback was healthy, was one of the best in the league. Does the front office really want to potentially go through this all again next year?
Sooner or later, the bill will come due. Key players on rookie deals like defensive tackle Christian Wilkins will soon command a larger piece of the salary cap, and veterans on big contracts will begin to age. Does Grier really want to have another promising season fall apart? Again, it’s doubtful.
So don’t give up your seat on the quarterback carousel just yet, Dolphins fans. It could still be a fun ride.