Dolphins reportedly working to 'protect themselves' with Tua Tagovailoa contract

The Miami Dolphins are prepared to give quarterback Tua Tagovailoa a lucrative long-term contract. But it could come with durability-based caveats.
AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Miami Dolphins v Kansas City Chiefs
AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Miami Dolphins v Kansas City Chiefs / David Eulitt/GettyImages

After the Detroit Lions made Jared Goff the second-highest-paid quarterback in the NFL by average annual value (AAV), Dallas Cowboys signal-caller Dak Prescott figures to be the next in line to receive a massive payday. But considering both sides are taking their sweet time to work out a deal, Miami Dolphins gunslinger Tua Tagovailoa could leapfrog him in the pecking order as someone who became extension-eligible this offseason.

On Thursday, Marcel Louis-Jacques of ESPN reported that Tagovailoa and the Dolphins have both "expressed interest" in getting a deal done. However, he adds that Miami is angling to "protect themselves" with his contract after seeing the 2020 No. 5 overall pick miss four games in two of his three seasons as the full-time starter.

Dolphins reportedly working to 'protect themselves' with Tua Tagovailoa contract

Durability is an apparent concern for the Phins, and reasonably so, especially considering the amount of money they will be investing in Tagovailoa. So, Louis-Jacques points out that Miami could find ways to mitigate the financial damage should their Pro Bowl quarterback's health (or lack thereof) be a recurring theme in the future while also recognizing his "continued durability."

"Signing bonus, base salary, workout bonus, per game roster bonuses -- that's something [the Dolphins are] going to want to put in the contract," a contract adviser told Louis-Jacques, adding that Tagovailoa's representation "will balk at it."

After guiding the Dolphins to their fourth consecutive winning season and second straight playoff appearance while leading the league in passing yards (4,624), Tagovailoa is seeking a lucrative contract that makes him one of the wealthiest quarterbacks in football, which is a fair and attainable request. But the Miami front office will try to make it as team-friendly as possible after seeing him struggle to stay on the field through his first four years as a pro.

The Dolphins exercised Tagovailoa's $23.17 fifth-year option for 2024. But it would be shocking if a new deal is not in place before the start of the upcoming season. But it will be intriguing to see what the two sides agree on and whether Miami successfully attaches bonuses to his deal.