NFL Trade Rumors: Miami Dolphins Want to Pay Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa 'Fair Market Value'

The Miami Dolphins are experiencing a bit of sticker shock. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Dolphins want to hold onto quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, but the two parties are struggling to agree on what is "fair market value."

Schefter notes that he expects the Dolphins to sign Tagovailoa, but shifts in the quarterback market have complicated negotiations. 

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence recently signed a five-year, $275 million extension that tied him with Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow for the highest annual average in the league ($55 million). Tagovailoa's volume, efficiency, and record as a starter easily outpace Lawrence, and he's less than two years older. 

After two underwhelming years to start his career, Tagovailoa's production has exploded since head coach Mike McDaniel arrived in Miami: Tagovailoa led the league in passer rating in 2022 and passing yards in 2023. The Dolphins even scored 29.3 points per game last season, second most in the league. In his young career, Tagovailoa has already compiled a surprising 32-19 record and four straight winning seasons.

That success doesn't necessarily mean extending Tagovailoa is an easy decision. He suffered a series of frightening head and neck injuries in 2022 that cost him four games, and he fell on his face in his first playoff appearance, a 26-7 first-round loss to the Kansas City Chiefs earlier this year. It's still unclear if Tagovailoa is an elite quarterback or merely the beneficiary of McDaniel's system and the otherworldly talents of All-Pro wide receiver Tyreek Hill (106.3 receiving yards per game since 2022).

As shocking as it may sound, Tagovailoa could realistically become the league's highest-paid player in the coming months. Despite a perceived lack of elite traits, there's a real case to be made that his production and effectiveness are among the very best in the league. Unless the Dolphins are confident enough in their system to slide a younger, cheaper quarterback into it sometime in the next couple of years, they'll have no choice but to make Tagovailoa a very, very rich man.

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