Tua Tagovailoa and the 5th year option: Miami Dolphins waiting game
By Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins have not announced a 5th-year option for Tua Tagovailoa and that has many fans, and media personalities scratching their heads. Why?
Many are calling for the Dolphins to make a decision on Tua Tagovailoa and the 5th year option that teams can hand out to players drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft. This year, starting on January 9th, teams were allowed to start picking up the option for players drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft.
That is where Tua Tagovailoa, Austin Jackson, and Noah Igbinoghene were drafted and the Dolphins have to make a decision on three. For the latter two, it is a safe bet the team will not pick up that option. They should not pick it up.
For Tua, 5th overall selection. It has now become a waiting game. The question is why?
Miami doesn’t have to make a move on Tua until May 1st. Picking up his option will put a price tag of $23 million on the cap for 2024. Hardly a big amount of money considering Tua is the starting quarterback. Teams can also negotiate an extension that would render that option moot.
So why haven’t they done it? Timing of course is one of the reasons. They simply don’t need to right now. Grier and McDaniel have both said that Tua is the starting quarterback but we have to also believe that they are weighing their options, as they should be.
Two and maybe a third concussion was sustained this past season. If the Dolphins have concerns maybe they believe in waiting until mid-season to sign him to an extension in which case they don’t need to do the 5th-year option.
Unlike years past, the 5th year option is now fully guaranteed based on performance with 4 levels that include two or more Pro Bowls, one Pro Bowl, a percentage of playing time, and a basic level. Tua falls into the third category. Alternate Pro Bowl recognition does not count for tier one or two.
If the Dolphins are planning to make a change at the position, highly unlikely, they would not address the 5th-year option until closer to May. If they were planning to draft a QB to groom behind him, they wouldn’t likely address the 5th until closer to May.
Another reason is simply the fact they may not want to right now and don’t need to. That is the pure fact in all of this. Miami does not have to make a decision until then. It is not keeping Tua from making more money right now and in reality, doesn’t give him security for the future beyond next season.
It does, however, allow the Dolphins to maintain leverage and some control over the situation in case anything should change.
The truth is the Dolphins can afford to wait. It doesn’t hurt Tua by waiting, and if there is for some reason any concerns, the Dolphins have time to work through them. Waiting may not be popular, but it is smart, whether we as fans like it or not.