The Dolphins are in a bit of pickle here.
For the second year in a row, the Dolphins postseason’s hopes were dashed with a blowout loss at the hands of a playoff-bound team. More worrisome is the fact that the quarterback they took with the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft doesn’t look anything like the transcendent star they thought they were getting.
Tua Tagovailoa was just plain bad on Sunday against the Titans. He looked like a quarterback that was still a bit overwhelmed by the speed of the NFL and never really gave the Dolphins a chance to get into the game. He didn’t always get the best help from his teammates, but at some point a highly drafted quarterback needs to show some ability to carry a team against a difficult opponent.
Right now, Tagovailoa looks like a quarterback that needs to be carried. Which is bad news for a shaky offensive supporting cast in Miami that needs several additions along the offensive line this offseason.
By keeping the cupboard somewhat bare for Tagovailoa the Dolphins haven’t given him the best chance to succeed, but they’ve also seen that he’s simply a quarterback that needs the deck to be stacked for him to succeed.
That has put the Dolphins in an interesting place and they’re kind of right back where they started in terms of their quarterback search. Do you run it back with Tagovailoa and use offseason assets to strengthen his surroundings or do you go elsewhere?
Prior to the season and during the season the Dolphins reportedly heavily discussed a trade for Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson who is currently dealing with over 20 allegations of sexual harassment. That’s how absurdly hungry this franchise is for a star quarterback — and Tagovailoa hasn’t done anything to quell those desires from the people who are in charge of the team.
Fans of Tagovailoa’s play can point to the seven-game winning streak the team recently had and the fact that he’s only started 20 games in the NFL. Perhaps he does deserve more time as a starter, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be in Miami. There just hasn’t been enough production or standout moments that shows he is capable of being the long term franchise quarterback of the Dolphins.
If the Dolphins do decide to move on from Tagovailoa this offseason with a trade, it is fair to ask what’s next for a team that hasn’t been able to get consistent quarterback production in a very, very long time. Trade for Russell Wilson? Sell a bit of your soul and get back in the Watson hunt? See if you can pry Matt Ryan from Atlanta?
The 2022 quarterback market isn’t very robust and doesn’t provide a whole lot of surefire decisions, but the Dolphins are already at the point where they should seriously consider trying something new at the quarterback position.
General manager Chris Grier and Brian Flores have a lot of tough decisions ahead of them, but none more pressing than how to get more production out of the quarterback position.