Dolphins are fully sending mixed signals on QB Tua Tagovailoa and his contract

The Dolphins may not have the same opinion of the Tua they say they do
2024 NFL Pro Bowl Games
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If the recent report from Jeff Darlington on ESPN is accurate, the Miami Dolphins might have some explaining to do. According to Darlington, the Dolphins are not offering Tua Tagovailoa the same money given to Jared Goff and Trevor Lawrence.

Darlington said that he is "scaling back" on his optimism that a deal will get done, but if this report that Miami is not offering as much is true, we need to rethink what the Dolphins think about their franchise quarterback. In fact, should we consider No. 1 to be the unquestionable quarterback of the future?

Chris Grier has made it clear to the media that Tagovailoa is a priority and that they see him in Miami for the long-term future of the team. Now, we have to question that because if we look at this honestly, his negotiations are saying something completely different. His negotiations are saying, "We like you, just not that much."

The Dolphins are dropping the ball with their Tua Tagovailoa negotiations

Darlington won't say what is being offered to Tagovailoa, but he clarifies that by saying he simply doesn't know. The reality is if Miami is offering below what Goff and Lawrence received, maybe Grier should have been more direct with the situation and gotten a deal done before the other QBs did.

Grier has done this before. He has waited on extensions or stuck to his guns with a specific number and as a result, he lost players. He wouldn't budge on the Christian Wilkins contract and that led to Wilkins leaving. He did the same with Robert Hunt. This year he waited too long on Jaylen Waddle's extension and ended up paying more than he needed to.

Grier has done well with one-year contracts and overpaying guys like Byron Jones and Xavien Howard, but he needs to retain his roster and he needs more than one-year contracts on half of the team. Now we are hearing Tua's contract negotiations are less than the QB is asking for.

Tagovailoa said, "The market is the market" when asked about the Goff deal, that market has changed in the last two weeks. The Dolphins don't apparently see it that way, which surely isn't going to make Tagovailoa happy.

What do the negotiations tell us about the Dolphins opinion of Tua Tagovailoa?

It appeared that the Dolphins were all-in on Tagovailoa, but to some degree, we might need to question that. The framework of an extension is laid out in front of Grier and Brandon Shore. Five years, roughly $55 million per year, $178 million guaranteed or around there. If the Dolphins are haggling over $5 million, should we view that as a problem? Tagovailoa won't take less than $55 million at this point, so if the Dolphins were hoping for a deal of around $50 million, that's out the window.

Miami may want injury clauses. They may want clauses that protect them from an early retirement should he suffer more concussions. They could be looking for more incentives than guarantees as well here.

We really don't know what the Dolphins are thinking or hoping for, but honestly, the contract is going to land where Lawrence's and Goff's did and not less unless Tagovailoa decides to do Grier a favor. Frankly, I don't see that happening. Grier needs to realize that if he wants to pay less than market value, he needs to pony up before the market changes.