Tua Tagovailoa's stats alone prove he's superior to Trevor Lawrence and Jared Goff

Tua has all the leverage in his contract talks.
AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Miami Dolphins v Kansas City Chiefs
AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Miami Dolphins v Kansas City Chiefs / David Eulitt/GettyImages

If the 2023 statistics were to determine the order of how quarterbacks are to be paid, Miami Dolphins signal-caller Tua Tagovailoa would be at the top of the list. And this is something he's surely going to bring to the table for contract talks.

Tagovailoa, who is entering his option year of the rookie deal that he signed in 2020, is currently in negotiations with Chris Grier and Brandon Shore for a contract extension that Tagovailoa hopes will pay him in line with what the better quarterbacks in the league are making.

The line just got longer with the Jacksonville Jaguars signing Trevor Lawrence to an inflated $275 million deal with just over $200 in guaranteed funds. He will average $55 million per season for the next five years, once his extension kicks in. Lawrence will share the title of highest annual average value with Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals who will also earn $55 million a season. Lawrence will have more guaranteed money, so his contract could be technically worth more.

How much will the Miami Dolphins end up paying Tua Tagovailoa?

Tagovailoa is looking to get into that neighborhood and by virtue of his statistics, he should be the highest paid quarterback in the league. Tagovailoa threw for a league leading 4,624 yards last season and had a better than 2-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio. He also led the Dolphins to the playoffs for the second consecutive season. His passer rating of 101.1 was the best of the three candidates and he took less sacks than both Goff and Lawrence.

Lawrence is also injury prone, as he showed at the end of the last season when nagging injuries kept him out of games late in the year when the Jaguars were making a push for the playoffs. Lawrence still threw for over 4,000 yards, but threw for zero when it counted the most. Jacksonville, winners of their division in 2022, did not make the playoffs last season.

The Jaguars quarterback also threw for only 21 touchdowns versus 14 interceptions. Tagovailoa threw for 29 touchdowns and despite the December meltdown that Miami suffered with injuries to other players, Tagovailoa showed up every day with his lunch pail and was ready to go to work. He was also sacked less often than the other two, by comparison, with a patchwork offensive line at times.

Goff finished second to Tagovailoa in total yards and had one more touchdown, but he did lead the Lions on an improbable journey to the NFC Championship Game. He signed a contract earlier this offseason that is worth $53 million per season and was good for second behind Burrow in average annual value. Lawrence then equaled Burrow and I expect Tagovailoa to beat both of them with his extension, which could be coming soon, per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.

Tagovailoa should sign for somewhere in the neighborhood of $60 million per season and his total deal should be worth approximately $300 million, with over $250 million in guaranteed money. Tagovailoa deserves, at least statistically, to be the highest paid quarterback in the game. Where he ranks all-time is an argument for another day, but Grier and Shore better back up the Brinks truck to the Baptist Health Practice Facility so that they have a happy quarterback who is paid like the best in the game.

They do not want to be like the Dallas Cowboys, who will more than likely not offer a long-term extension to Dak Prescott. Prescott will play with a giant chip on his shoulder in 2024 and will be looking for a new team in 2025, barring a late surprise.