Report Suggests Tua Absent from Most Dolphins Offseason Work

QB Tua Tagovailoa is looking for a contract extension as he prepares to enter his fifth NFL season
Tua Tagovailoa
Tua Tagovailoa / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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While Miami Dolphins GM Chris Grier has declared his support for Tua Tagovailoa and indicated he wants him around for the long term, he did suggest that a contract extension might take some time to work out.

And now comes a report from Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports suggesting, through sources close to the situation, that Tagovailoa has stayed away from a good portion of the voluntary offseason program to this point.

The Dolphins wrapped up Phase Two of the offseason program this week, with two weeks of OTAs to follow before the three-day June minicamp to close things out before the break that will precede the start of training camp in late July.

That June minicamp, from June 4-6, is the only part of the offseason program that is mandatory, where an absence could lead to players getting fined.

The media's only viewing opportunity so far this offseason has been the rookie minicamp, but video put out by the Dolphins' social media team showed Tua reporting on the first day of the program April 15 and then Tua throwing the ball on subsequent days. So he has attended at least some of the workout days.

At his third annual Luau with Tua in mid-April, Tagovailoa said he wasn't stressed out about the contract negotiations and pledged to be around for OTAs (though he didn't say anything about the offseason program as a whole).

“Just letting my agent deal with that and talk to the team about that,” Tagovailoa said then. “For me, my focus is when OTAs come, go to OTAs, show up and be the best teammate I can be.”

TUA'S CONTRACT SITUATION

Tua is headed into fifth NFL season and is under contract after the Dolphins picked up the fifth-year option on the rookie contract he signed after being the fifth overall pick in the 2020 draft.

That option calls for Tua to make $23.2 million in 2024.

But Tagovailoa clearly is looking for a long-term extension and he no doubt paid a lot of attention to the contract the Detroit Lions gave Jared Goff this week. That contract is for four years and $212 million, with $171 million guaranteed, according to overthecap.com.

The annual average put Goff second among all NFL quarterbacks behind only Joe Burrow ($55 million) and the guarantee is the sixth-highest behind those of Deshaun Watson, Burrow, Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts.

Tagovailoa's representatives no doubt will point to Goff's contract as a starting point for negotiations, considering Tua's career passer rating of 97.1 compared to Goff's 93.6.

“I think it’s something that when it happens, it happens," Grier said before the draft. "We’ve had communication with him and I’ll just leave those between the organization and his representation, and it’s been good so we’ll just keep working towards it. Him and his agent are very understanding that this is now the draft, so he’s letting us focus on that and then we’ll turn our attention to that after the draft finishes.”

"He’s trying to do everything he can to do what he can to be great. And that’s been from Day 1 when Mike (McDaniel) and him connected here, working through the first season and then making the changes offseason, working through last year, staying healthy, leading the league in passing and now this is his next evolution. As Mike has told you guys, we feel like there is a whole other step that he can take, so we’re excited about his future.”

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Alain Poupart

ALAIN POUPART

Alain Poupart is the publisher/editor of AllDolphins.com and co-host of the All Dolphins Podcast. Alain has covered the Miami Dolphins on a full-time basis since 1989 for various publications and media outlets, including Dolphin Digest, The Associated Press, the Dolphins team website, and the Fan Nation Network (part of Sports Illustrated). In addition to being a credentialed member of the Miami Dolphins press corps, Alain has covered three Super Bowls (for NFL.com, Football News and the Montreal Gazette), the annual NFL draft, the Senior Bowl, and the NFL Scouting Combine. During his almost 40 years in journalism, which began at the now-defunct Miami News, Alain has covered practically every sport at one time or another, from tennis to golf, baseball, basketball and everything in between. The career also included time as a copy editor, including work on several books such as "Still Perfect," an inside look at the Miami Dolphins' 1972 perfect season. A native of Montreal, Canada, whose first language is French, Alain grew up a huge hockey fan but soon developed a love for all sports, including NFL football. He has lived in South Florida since the 1980s.