Guaranteed Money A “Sticking Point” In Tagovailoa Extension Talks?

As the Dolphins and Tua Tagovailoa continue their staring contest, we’ve getting some clarity on the main obstacle during extension talks. As Adam H. Beasley of writes, guaranteed money is “what most believe is the sticking point” in the ongoing contract negotiations.

A report from last month indicated Miami has yet to submit a market-value offer, but as Beasley notes, it would be “foolish” for the Dolphins to offer Tagovailoa “anything substantially less” than the $53MM average annual value set by Jared Goff (and recently surpassed by Trevor Lawrence). Assuming the two sides are around the same range for AAV, the extension’s guaranteed money would be the next major hurdle.

Deshaun Watson, Joe Burrow, Lawrence, Lamar Jackson, and Justin Herbert all earned at least $130MM fully guaranteed at signing on their respective extensions. While Tagovailoa’s camp may not necessarily be looking to top that list (Watson leads the way with $230MM, followed by Burrow at $146MM), Beasley believes the QB is pushing for at least a nine-figure guarantee…and the writer also believes the Dolphins will be reluctant to reach that mark.

While the win-now Dolphins aren’t necessarily in position to play hard ball with their franchise quarterback, Beasley doesn’t blame the organization for being wary of Tagovailoa’s impending guarantees. The former first-round pick has dealt with his fair share of injuries and concussions, and while 2023 represented a clear step forward for the 26-year-old, he still failed to guide his squad to any playoff success.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald previously noted that both parties “seem determined” to work out an extension agreement, and it doesn’t sound like negotiations have been contentious. Still, until the two sides agree to a new deal, Tagovailoa can still threaten a holdout. While the QB could face more than $5MM in fines by skipping training camp and the regular season, that still may be in the player’s interest if he’s able to recoup that lost value via additional guarantees, per Beasley.

Tagovailoa’s extension will continue to hang over the Dolphins with training camp rapidly approaching. At the start of the offseason, both sides wished for speedy negotiations as they looked to avoid the drama. With veterans set to report on July 23, we’ll see if the organization feels any pressure to finalize a deal.

View Comments (7)