Nick Wright implies Miami Dolphins would be shooting themselves in foot by paying Tua Tagovailoa like star

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Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins are facing a major decision on what kind of contract they are willing to offer quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, and NFL observer Nick Wright implied the team would be making a mistake by paying the quarterback like one of the best in the game.

Tagovailoa is under contract through the 2024 NFL season after the Dolphins picked up his fifth-year option more than a year ago. He has been eligible for a contract extension, but the sides did not come to an agreement on a long-term deal prior to last season.

In February, a report emerged indicating that Tagovailoa will ultimately land a new deal worth more than $50 million per season. The 26-year-old and Miami general manager Chris Grier in the past have expressed optimism that the quarterback will be with the Dolphins for the long term.

NFL teams that have a franchise quarterback usually try to extend that player before he enters his fifth NFL season, as Tagovailoa will be doing this year. The University of Alabama product was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Two other quarterbacks taken with high picks in that draft – Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 1 overall and Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 6 overall – have already signed lucrative new contracts. Last offseason, Burrow secured a five-year, $275 million deal after Herbert got a five-year, $262.5 million extension from the Chargers.

In part, Wright’s point is likely that paying a quarterback such a significant sum can create problems constructing the rest of the roster because of salary cap allocation.

One NFL agent said the Dolphins should have prioritized a contract for Christian Wilkins before getting to one for Tagovailoa. The standout defensive tackle wound up signing with the Las Vegas Raiders as a free agent this offseason.

The Dolphins conceivably could roll the dice, let Tagovailoa play out the season and become a free agent and decide whether to sign him after that. But that could wind up being more costly – on many levels – than taking care of it sooner rather than later.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NFL for almost three decades. He has been an avid follower of the AFC East since the days of Bob Griese and is looking forward to an exciting new era in the division.