Predicting Tua Tagovailoa's Dolphins deal after Trevor Lawrence got $275 million

Tua Tagovailoa is going to get paid soon now that the Jaguars have paid Trevor Lawrence.
2024 NFL Pro Bowl Games
2024 NFL Pro Bowl Games / James Gilbert/GettyImages

Trevor Lawrence's new contract with the Jaguars will pay him as much as Joe Burrow received from the Bengals and the Miami Dolphins will now have to pay Tua Tagovailoa at least that much on his next contract.

If Dolphins fans were hoping the Dolphins would find a way to keep Tagovailoa on a lower contract number than Burrow, that is now out the window and his new deal will be at least that much. While Burrow has led the Bengals to the Super Bowl, both him and Tagovailoa share a similar amount of games played. Tua has started 53 games to Burrow's 52. Health has been an issue for both of them.

With his new contract, Lawrence becomes the highest-paid quarterback in NFL history. His five-year $275 million deal, with $200 million guaranteed, ties him with Burrow. Here is where it will get interesting for Tagovailoa. Burrow's guaranteed money was $219 million, Deshaun Watson's guarantee was $230 million, and Justin Herbert received $218 million guaranteed. Burrow and Lawrence will both make $55 million per season.

What will Tua Tagovailoa's contract look like with the Dolphins?

Looking at the new deals being signed by Jared Goff and now Lawrence, we can expect Tagovailoa to make more. Chris Grier's hesitation on getting a deal done will now cost Stephen Ross more money and will hit the cap harder. Here's how we think things will go down:

Salary cap - Tua's extension will likely be a lower cap hit than the $55 million and I expect that to come in closer to $52-53 million instead. The Dolphins will likely offset this by giving him more money in the deal or added incentives that won't initially count in the cap figures.

Guarantees - With $200 million going to Lawrence and Watson getting $230 million guaranteed, the number for Tagovailoa should fall closer to the $218/219 million - numbers that the other two 2020 early-drafted quarterbacks received. Tua should likely come in closer to Burrow's number of $219 million. That being said, the Dolphins could offer him more guaranteed money if it reduces the cap hits.

Length - The Dolphins will probably push for a five-year deal, and the contract signed by Lawrence will help them get that number done. Miami will likely front-load the guarantees and provide themselves with potential outs in Year 4-5. That would be the smart move by Brandon Shore. Tua will get his $200 million-plus in guarantees, and the Dolphins get their outs.

Incentives and clauses - Forget about the Dolphins getting any help with injury clauses. That is no longer going to be a possibility. Tagovailoa knows he is more valuable to the Dolphins than Miami is to him. His 17 games last season put to rest the concussion issues of the 2022 campaign and while the Dolphins may still want protection, they are not getting it now. That is something they should have opted for last offseason instead of waiting for the year to unfold. Yes, it was smart to wait, but it came with a larger sticker price.

Final prediction - Five years, $280 million and $219 million guaranteed. Tagovailoa will be the highest-paid quarterback when his contract finally gets over the line.