Tua Tagovailoa may need to put his ego aside to get Dolphins mega-deal done

Can Tua swallow a little of pride for the good of everybody?
Miami Dolphins Mandatory Minicamp
Miami Dolphins Mandatory Minicamp / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

All we wanted was to have a nice little relaxing week and then Jeff Darlington had to come along and put a wrench in our spokes by saying that the Miami Dolphins are not offering a "market value" contract to Tua Tagovailoa. Seriously, what is going on?

The rest of the conversation was an interesting one between Ryan Clark, Dan Orlovski, Marcus Spears, and Laura Rutledge which centered around whether or not Tua deserves to be paid that "market value" price.

Contract drama appears to be on the way between the Dolphins and Tua Tagovailoa

The argument is basically that just because Jared Goff and Trevor Lawrence got paid massively huge contracts, does that mean that Tagovailoa will get the same or even more than them because he's the next guy in line? In the NFL, that is how it usually goes. Like dominos, once one top player gets paid, the next guy gets slightly more than that and then the next guy near that level gets a little more than that and around it goes.

Tagovailoa, who led the league in passing yards and who was legitimately in the MVP conversation until mid-December, feels that he 100 percent is on the level of Goff and Lawrence and should be paid just like them - possibly even more.

I don't think you can fault him for wanting to get that kind of money. If any of us were in a position to get around $55 million a year with about $200 million guaranteed, we'd do what we could to get it. However, there's more to be discussed here with Tagovailoa. We'd like to think that only completing one full season since becoming a pro would have something to do with things. Tagovailoa was a rock star in 2023, but things have been far from perfect in the past. Should one dynamite year lead to a record-breaking contract? This is something the front office is keeping in mind.

For now, it's the smart move for the Dolphins. We're about a month away from when training camp starts. There's plenty of time to get a deal done, which should still happen. However, that doesn't mean that everyone isn't going to feel a bit uncomfortable until it does. If things aren't finalized by camp, though, it's hard to imagine Tagovailoa showing up for the start of things. Why risk an injury? Why play on the fifth-year option? Who actually has the leverage in this negotiation?

A big overarching question is should Tua put his ego on the back-burner a little bit and accept a contract that is less than Goff and Lawrence? From all accounts, the Miami QB is beloved all over the community, as he's known as a standup guy and a model citizen. At the same time, he's also had to deal with the Dolphins trying to replace him a few times, with one of the instances leading them to a tampering charge that cost a first-round pick. He handled all that with grace, which is something important for a franchise QB.

So, you can understand why he would want to get every last dollar out of Miami. But as fans, we would like it if instead of being the top-paid QB, maybe he can go and be like No. 6 on the list. That still gets him around $50 million a year with about $180 million guaranteed. Along with the endorsements he gets, that's not a bad chunk of change.

This would allow the organization to be more flexible when it comes to trading and signing other players to help the team win. You'd like to think that Tagovailoa can live with taking a little less. You'd also like to think he can see the forest through the trees a little bit and be able to live with some people saying he should take less because he's not as good as the guys ahead of him on the pay scale.

Just because the market is the market doesn't mean the player who is next to get paid should make history. Tagovailoa is a tremendous player, but does he really deserve to be the highest-paid signal-caller in the NFL? Not a chance. Keep in mind that Jordan Love and Dak Prescott are also looking for new contracts, so this Tagovailoa negotiation won't be the last big one for a QB in the near future.

With all of that said, it still feels like a contract will get finalized this summer. So does Darlington, who is an analyst/reporter that plenty of people trust the most. Darlington believes that eventually a compromise will be reached. In order for that to happen, however, Tagovailoa indeed may need to put his ego aside and lower his number a little bit.