First, and perhaps most crucially, the team must eschew a long-term contract with incumbent starter Dak Prescott, who appears bound for the franchise tag. Dallas would conclude that Prescott is not the QB of the future — Tua is.
Second, owner Jerry Jones, who’s reportedly eyeing a “big splash,” would have to come to terms with the capital necessary to secure Tagovailoa’s services: a smattering of first- and second-round picks, current and future, and perhaps a notable player. It’ll take the farm to move from No. 17 overall to the top-five, Tua’s projected range.
Third, Jones would be forced to jump the Miami Dolphins, who own the fifth pick and are widely regarded as Tagovailoa’s ideal landing spot. This means cutting a deal with the New York Giants at No. 4 — a 13-spot trade-up that’d forever alter the course of the organization.
If these requisites are met, Tagovailoa’s wish would come true and he’d join his “favorite team” from his formative years.
The scenario, as you might imagine, is highly unlikely to materialize. But, hey, a boy can dream, can’t he?
“If you’re saying to me if I could choose what team I want to play on as far as my favorite team growing up, then I’d probably tell you the Cowboys, but I mean they’re so far down,” Tagovailoa recently said, per Bleacher Report.
Tua clarified he meant no ill will toward Prescott, who’s negotiating a massive contract with the Cowboys which, if agreed to, could make him the highest-paid signal-caller in league history. To that extent, the former Crimson Tide star, rehabbing a severe hip injury, claims he wouldn’t mind beginning his professional career as a backup.
“I’d handle it the way that the coaches there want to handle it,” Tagovailoa said, per Bleacher Report. “I just want to be able to play again. I wouldn’t mind learning under whatever guy that’s the starter, give me a whole year to rest up, and then go back out there and compete. But I just want to go out there and play.”
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Dolphins Mulling Herbert to Tua?
According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, the Dolphins may prefer to nab Oregon QB Justin Herbert with the No. 5 choice. The club, Salguero reported, isn’t “fully sold” on Tagovailoa due to durability concerns stemming from his November hip dislocation and posterior wall fracture, which initially muddied his stock.
“Tua is a great player. I just worry about his health,” Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has admitted.
It’s extremely early in the pre-draft process and much will change prior to April, after the Scouting Combine and Pro Days are complete. There remains a better-than-good chance that Tua assuages Miami’s apprehension in the next few months, locking himself into the five slot.
But even if he slips past the Fish, there are a host of QB-hungry teams (Chargers, Panthers, Raiders, Colts) stationed ahead of Dallas, and others (Titans, Saints, Patriots) who might scale the board to acquire the 21-year-old passer.
In other words, neither Cowboys fans nor Tua should hold their breath about a potential marriage this spring.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL