The Miami Dolphins are going to need to free up a lot of money if they are going to retain Tua Tagovailoa after 2024 thanks to Jalen Hurts.
It has been announced that the Philadelphia Eagles are giving their young QB the largest contract in NFL history (which should really tick off Lamar Jackson), with a 5-year, $255 million deal. The guaranteed portions have not been revealed yet.
Hurts was drafted in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, 53rd overall, and the 5th quarterback taken in that class. The Dolphins, of course, drafted Tua Tagovailoa 5th overall.
Now the Dolphins have an idea of what it is going to cost them to keep Tua around beyond the 5th year option next year, making that $24 million guarantee seem like couch cushion change.
Of the five quarterbacks taken between number one overall, Joe Burrow, and Hurts, both Burrow and Hurts have taken their teams to the Super Bowl. Herbert led his Chargers to the playoffs last year as did Tua who was not able to play due to concussion protocols. Only Jordan Love has yet to see significant opportunities given his position behind Aaron Rodgers, something that is expected to change this year.
Should Tua get paid more than Hurts? Well, the answer right now is no. Tua still has some questions that he needs to answer, specifically about his health. On the other hand, you will absolutely hear the massive “Tua can do no wrong” crowd scream that he does.
If we are being completely honest, and it may not be a bad thing, Tua could easily be the 2nd least-paid quarterback from that class, ahead of only Love out of the top five. Burrow will likely get more than Hurts and it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see that happen sooner rather than later.
Despite the hiccups displayed by Justin Herbert, there is a case to pay him big as well but not as high as Burrow. Will he come in higher than Hurts? He could use the draft status as a reason to get more money but he still has yet to take the team to the Super Bowl, unlike Hurts.
That leaves Tua and what kind of money the Dolphins will eventually throw at him. Most of that will depend on what happens in the next season, 2023, and the 2024 season. If the Dolphins are satisfied with Tua’s health after 2023, I would expect a new contract prior to the start of the 2024 season and that will be a significant deal. If they are not satisfied 100%, Tua will play under the 5th-year option and again be evaluated.
Compared to Burrow, Tua should get less money unless he takes the Dolphins to the AFC Championship, leads the league again in stats, wins MVP, etc… He should at the very least get paid as much as Justin Herbert barring a regression in 2023 or 2024.
Hurts’ contract is interesting but not completely surprising, but it is opening the door for a lot more money to be poured into the young quarterbacks from the 2020 draft.