NFL Host Warns Dolphins About Tua Tagovailoa Extension

Getty How much should the Miami Dolphins be willing to pay quarterback Tua Tagovailoa?

The Miami Dolphins received another Tua Tagovailoa warning on April 9.

“If you pay Tua like he’s a star [quarterback], you are putting a massive hard ceiling on the team,” Fox Sports 1 NFL host Nick Wright voiced on his show, First Things First.

Wright said this after placing Tagovailoa in a fourth QB tier below the “stars” of the position, as well as the “star trajectory” signal-callers and the “potential stars” of the future. He referred to this fourth tier as the “solid starters” of the league.

And while this appeared to be a bit of a knock by Wright, Tagovailoa had several talented quarterbacks in this group alongside him, including 2023 MVP runner-up Dak Prescott, recent Super Bowl challengers Jalen Hurts and Brock Purdy, consistent veterans Jared Goff and Kirk Cousins, former No. 1 overall talent Kyler Murray and NFL journeymen Baker Mayfield and Geno Smith.

Not bad company to be in, but how many of these players can beat Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow or Lamar Jackson when it counts?

Dolphins Could Attempt to Pay Tua Tagovailoa Like Second-Tier QB

There is a clear difference in quarterback salaries around the league from tier one to tier two. Wright’s rankings are not exact when you look at the financial side, but here are the “stars” of the position according to contract value.

  • Burrow: $55 million per year.
  • Justin Herbert: $52.5 million per year.
  • Jackson: $52 million per year.
  • Hurts: $51 million per year.

Then you have a few former paydays hovering around $46 million per year that topped the charts at the time of their extension — like Murray, Deshaun Watson and Mahomes. Followed by the new second tier.

Recent extensions for Cousins, Mayfield, Daniel Jones and Derek Carr have paid anywhere from $33.33 million per year to $45 million per year.

If Tagovailoa was willing to sign a deal that was somewhere within that salary range, the Dolphins would likely hand him the contract tomorrow. Having said that, it’s quite possible Tagovailoa’s agents are pushing for top of the market money.

That would mean $50 million per year, or higher, if that’s the case.

Nick Wright’s Co-Host Agrees Dolphins Cannot Overpay Tua Tagovailoa in 2024

This First Things First discussion had one Tagovailoa supporter and two analysts that were more wary of the Dolphins signal-caller long-term. Chris Broussard begrudgingly joined Wright on the wary side.

“No,” Broussard responded when asked if Tagovailoa deserves a monster payday.

“First of all, you’ve been healthy — and I like Tua — but you’ve been healthy one out of four seasons,” Broussard reasoned. “I need to see you be healthy again. That’s the first thing. So, I need 16, 17 games this year.”

“Secondly… [the Dolphins] couldn’t beat anybody that wasn’t a tomato can,” he continued. “They were 1-6 against playoff teams and Tua’s performance was noticeably, markedly bad against playoff teams.”

Broussard cited a significantly lower yardage total per game, passer rating and a worse TD-to-INT ratio against playoff teams in 2023. Finally, he discussed weather concerns.

“And then on top of that, when it’s cold outside — which it often is in the playoffs… they’re 0-6 and again, look at his performance: six touchdowns, eight interceptions, [69.8 passer rating],” the co-host concluded.

As Broussard reiterated to finish his point, it is typically very cold during the NFL postseason, and that last concern could be a problem for Miami going forward.

The Dolphins have a very tricky decision to make when it comes to extending Tagovailoa. Especially when you consider which QBs might become available in 2025.