Can Tua Tagovailoa lead the Miami Dolphins to the Super Bowl?

The past few days have been about free agency, but one question in all minds of Miami Dolphins fans is still left unanswered - do they have a starting quarterback that can actually win a Super Bowl?

adidas Debuts Brand Campaign in Vegas with Star-Studded Roster of Athletes
adidas Debuts Brand Campaign in Vegas with Star-Studded Roster of Athletes / Joe Scarnici/GettyImages

You can’t help but notice that the Miami Dolphins will be a different team heading into the 2024 season.  Gone are the longest-tenured Dolphins and members of their respective draft class that many fans believed would be the core moving forward. 

Christian Wilkins, Jermone Baker, Andrew Van Ginkel, Xavien Howard, and Robert Hunt were all drafted by the Dolphins and are no longer going to be dawning the aqua and teal.  There were drastic decisions that needed to be made by the front office.  The underlying principle is due to the salary cap constraints.   Allocating 28 MM to Christian Wilkins sounds fair, but not when you already have 31 committed to one wide receiver, 25 to a defensive end, and a rookie quarterback coming off his rookie salary.

Reviewing Tua's draft class you can see the following quarterbacks and their associated cap hits:


2020 Drat Selection


Joe Burrow



Justin Herbert



Jalean Hurts



Jordan Love



Removing Justin Herbert, all other quarterbacks have led their team to a playoff win.  Two out of the three have led their team to a Super Bowl and multiple Divisional championship games. 

Taking that into consideration, those players, Joe Burrow and Jalen Hurts earned those $50 million cap hits.  As they have justified winning for their franchise and doing it with constraints, weather injuries, and everything that goes along in an NFL season.

Based on the facts, can or should the Miami Dolphins commit that amount of salary allocation to a player who doesn’t have the same resume as the candidates listed above? Tua has led the Miami Dolphins to back-to-back playoffs - and that is an amazing trait.  Especially, since the Dolphins haven’t won a playoff game in over 20 years or even played in a championship game in over 40 years.  In the two years under Mike McDaniel, yes Tua had his best statistical year to date - the same could be said for Christian Wilkins.

The question that everyone needs to think about is - what would other teams offer Tua if he becomes a free agent?  Tua has an injury-prone label assigned to him, not on his performance this past season, but due to the concussion history that all fans saw in his first season under McDaniel.

Paying Tua or letting him play out his 5th-year option is a debate that will not get ironed out until the end of this upcoming season or if the front office makes a substantial commitment to Tua.   There is plenty of risk in resigning Tua.  In my eyes, Tua is not worth $ 50 million or even $25 million.  This is a player who has benefitted from this environment and hasn’t had a game that proved he could lead this team by himself.   Tua has had the opportunity to show that, but losing to Baltimore, Buffalo and even the Titans at the end of the season showed a team is needed around him to succeed.

Patrick Mahomes
Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

Looking at this first playoff experience, all fans saw what a $50 million quarterback looks like in Patrick Mahomes.  A player that deserves that cap hit and has proven to win a playoff game and multiple Super Bowls.

My definition of a franchise quarterback is a player who can take his team to the next level.  Independent of all outside or internal factors, with the game on the line, can take over the huddle and impose his force on the other team and scoreboard.   Based on what we have seen from Tua in the last two years, and comparing that to other quarterbacks that have been in his draft class or have won a playoff game - do you see Tua falling under that definition; I don't.