Report: Many NFL execs say they wouldn’t exercise Tua Tagovailoa’s 5th-year option because of health concerns

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Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has a fifth-year option on his current contract that the team will have to decide on by May 1.

According to a recent report, many NFL executives around the league have said that they wouldn’t exercise Tagovailoa’s fifth-year option because of the health concerns surrounding the talented passer.

“If we’re taking the Dolphins at their word, Tua Tagovailoa is the unquestioned starting quarterback in 2023,” Jeremy Fowler of ESPN wrote. “That makes the first objective of the offseason a simple yet relatively helpless one: Hope he stays healthy. Many league execs say they would not exercise Tagovailoa’s fifth-year option because of the health concerns (not his play), but Miami has backed him at every step. Tagovailoa finished third in QBR last season (68.8) but was limited to 13 games and missed the Dolphins’ playoff appearance.”

It may be somewhat surprising to hear that “many” executives share this sentiment, but it is not shocking. After all, availability is the best ability in the NFL, and Tagovailoa has yet to play more than 13 games in a single season in his first three years in the NFL.

To make matters more precarious, the primary concerns regarding his health now stem from the two confirmed concussions he suffered during the 2022 NFL season.

It’s also worth noting that the price tag that would come with picking up the quarterback’s fifth-year option would be a lot higher than what the Dolphins are currently paying him.

In the 2023 season — the final season before his fifth-year option would kick in — Tagovailoa is scheduled to make a base salary of about $1 million and carry a cap hit of about $9.6 million. If the Dolphins were to pick up his option, Tagovailoa would make nearly $23.2 million in the 2024 campaign.

At the end of the day, the decision will likely come down to whether or not the team has confidence that he’ll be able to stay healthy not only for the next two seasons, but for many seasons after that.

The Dolphins clearly want Tagovailoa to be their franchise star, and in 2022, he showed his ability to be that guy on the field. Now, it’s going to come down to whether he can play at a high level and stay on the field for an entire season.

Unfortunately for the Dolphins, they’re going to have to make a bet on that well before the 2023 season gets underway.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NFL. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Dolphin Nation.