Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa Ranked Below QB Who Has Been Traded & Released

Dolphins' Tua Tagovailoa ranked below Baker Mayfield in QB ranking.

Getty Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was ranked bottom 16 by NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is coming off a career season in 2023, and yet some around the NFL community are still hesitant when it comes to recognizing the former No. 5 overall pick.

NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms would fit that description. The former NFL quarterback turned media personality dropped the final segment of his annual top 40 QB ranking on June 10 and overall, Tagovailoa was placed outside the top 15.

In fact, if you consider that there are only 32 starters at the position at one time, the Dolphins signal-caller was actually ranked in the bottom half of the league according to Simms, who put him 18th overall.

And that’s after a 4,624-yard campaign that included a playoff berth and 29 passing touchdowns. For reference, that performance led the NFL in yardage and bested a two-time MVP like Patrick Mahomes II by more than 400 passing yards and two passing touchdowns.

Even more baffling than Tagovailoa’s No. 18 ranking was who he was placed behind. Simms listed the Dolphins passer lower than the following players: Jared Goff, Trevor Lawrence, Kirk Cousins, Jordan Love, Aaron Rodgers, Kyler Murray and Brock Purdy (in that order).

But squeezed in between Rodgers and Murray was the real surprise. At No. 15 overall, Simms ranked Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield three spots higher than Tagovailoa.

The same Mayfield that has already been traded and released before the age of 30. Tagovailoa is also only listed slightly higher than Geno Smith — who Simms placed 19th — another failed draft pick that has revived his career later on.

Chris Simms Explains Tua Tagovailoa Ranking

On May 30, Simms explained why he has Tagovailoa at 18 on an episode of the “Chris Simms Unbuttoned” podcast.

“Tua can do it all, as far as a lot of the nuanced things you need for a quarterback,” the QB analyst began. Referring to him as the “ultimate NFL point guard.”

Simms also noted that there is a lot about Tagovailoa’s game that he likes, including his swift decision-making, “lightning-quick” release, accuracy on short and intermediate throws, field vision and more.

“I’m certainly not going to hate on him in [those] departments,” the analyst went on. Calling his throwing motion “natural” and “fluid.”

After laying it on pretty thick with praise, Simms finally got to the reasons that Tagovailoa isn’t higher on his list.

“Can he make the required big-time throws in big-time football games or elements when it gets tough?” He questioned, hinting that Tagovailoa sometimes unravels when the pocket or plan collapses.

“As soon as the game gets tough, gritty, ugly — my [head coach] is playing a really good defensive coordinator, and they’re throwing some wrinkles at us and he’s not all over this defensive gameplan like he was for the first 10 weeks of the year — all of a sudden you start to see those kind of flaws [with Tagovailoa],” Simms argued.

The analyst added that because his arm strength and arm talent both rely on anticipation, that sometimes turns into a weakness when a defense has Miami’s number. We saw that at the end of the 2023 campaign against the Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs.

Will a Dolphins Payday Earn Tua Tagovailoa Some Respect Around the NFL?

The Dolphins and Tagovailoa have been discussing a long-term extension all offseason, and a May 15 report from NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe indicated “optimism” that a deal will be agreed upon sooner rather than later. Obviously, there are still details to iron out, but assuming Tagovailoa gets a contract comparable to Goff’s recent extension ($53 million per year), will he start to get some respect?

Not necessarily. Remember, Daniel Jones was paid $40 million per year by the New York Giants in 2023 — which was a decent amount at the time — and fans, analysts and players around the sport criticized the Giants for it.

Going one step further, those critiques have been proven right so far.

The only way Tagovailoa can earn more recognition is by disproving the narrative that Simms and many others have laid out. He must not only stay healthy, win and put up big numbers but do so in clutch spots against top teams.

If he can do that, maybe Tagovailoa will finally get the respect that he seems to feel he deserves.