The Miami Dolphins clearly had plans well before the 2019 season to tank for Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. While the tank didn't work out as fully as it could have thanks to some wins orchestrated by Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Fins still managed to select Tagovailoa with the fifth overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. Now, the dream of Tua donning a Dolphins uniform has become an official reality.
On Monday, the Dolphins agreed to terms with the Crimson Tide superstar on a four-year, $30.28 million contract that comes fully guaranteed. The deal includes a fifth-year option and a $19.6 million signing bonus.
That's a lot of money for Tagovailoa to begin his pro career, but considering what even middle-of-the-road veteran starting QBs make in this league, the contract isn't going to be a burden on Miami's books. This allows the Dolphins to build Tagovailoa ambitiously with the hopes of reaching AFC East supremacy before he's due for a rich extension.
We may not see Tagovailoa start under center for the Dolphins right away, however. He's coming off a devastating hip injury suffered last November that initially left many wondering if he'd ever be able to play football again. Even though he received clearance from his personal doctors, there were still questions about whether he'd be a top-10 draft selection.
Miami was obviously convinced, but they need to protect their investment. Tagovailoa poses general durability questions, including with his ankle. Head coach Brian Flores would be wise to sit the rookie behind Fitzpatrick for at least the first half of the season instead of throwing him to the wolves at the very start of the 2020 campaign.
No matter the case, the Dolphins believe they have the new face of the franchise. Let's just hope he pans out like Dan Marino did for them over 20 years ago.