Tua Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa Clears Concussion Protocol

Tua Tagovailoa will soon begin to transition into normal offseason activity. While the Dolphins will undoubtedly proceed cautiously with their quarterback moving forward, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (via Twitter) Tagovailoa cleared concussion protocol Wednesday.

Several days ago, Tagovailoa had still yet to clear the protocol — and was thus ruled out for the Pro Bowl Games — despite having suffered his most recent concussion on Christmas Day. Since that injury, Rapoport notes Tua has met with several doctors. The Dolphins remain confident their starter will be 100% for the 2023 season.

The 2022 season both included a breakthrough year for the third-year Dolphins QB and some troubling signs about his NFL career. Tagovailoa finished the season third in QBR and threw 25 touchdown passes despite only finishing 12 games. The absences overshadowed the Alabama product’s success, considering Tagovailoa’s injuries both caused him to miss the Dolphins’ playoff game and the NFL to overhaul its concussion protocol.

Tagovailoa, 24, either suffered two or three concussions this season. The uncertainty on the number stems from a Week 3 game against the Bills, when Tagovailoa briefly left the game after showing signs of a head injury. He was cleared to return, and while Tua finished the game — one that ended up becoming rather critical in the AFC’s grand scheme, considering the Bills’ loss led to them falling a half-game short of the AFC’s No. 1 seed — the process that led to his quick return prompted an NFLPA review and enhancements to the league’s concussion protocol.

The Dolphins lost their starter again four days later, after a scary hit led to Tagovailoa being stretchered off the field in Cincinnati, and played without him in the season’s final three games following his Christmas Day injury — one not discovered until the next day. The Dolphins went just 1-5 in games Tua did not finish. Then again, Teddy Bridgewater battled multiple injuries as well and was largely unavailable for the team this season as well. Bridgewater is set for free agency in March; Tagovailoa’s rookie deal has at least one season remaining.

Dolphins GM Chris Grier did not rule out an extension this offseason, and a January report affirmed Tagovailoa as the team’s 2023 starter. The Dolphins must decide on Tagovailoa’s fifth-year option by May. It would certainly make sense for the Dolphins to wait on a deal, given the inconsistency Tagovailoa has shown in three seasons. But he took major strides this year. The injuries sustained along the way, however, did affect the talented passer’s outlook.

QB Rumors: Packers, Carr, Burrow, Colts

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is expected to play in 2023, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (video link). Fowler cites the ~$60MM balloon payment that Rodgers is due between March and the start of the 2023 regular season as a motivating factor for the four-time MVP, and assuming he does want to suit up, Green Bay will have to decide if it wants him back or wants to seek a trade.

The club’s top power brokers, GM Brian Gutekunst and HC Matt LaFleur, have publicly indicated they want Rodgers back in Wisconsin, which could — in Fowler’s estimation — force Jordan Love to request a trade. The 2020 first-rounder believes he is ready to become a QB1, and as he is entering the final year of his rookie deal, now would be a good time for him to get that chance.

Here are more QB rumors from around the league:

  • In the same piece linked above, Fowler says that the Derek Carr sweepstakes will start to heat up as we get closer to the Super Bowl. Carr, whose contract with the Raiders includes a no-trade clause, is beginning to do his homework on possible landing spots, and Fowler hears (unsurprisingly) that the Jets, Saints, and Commanders are expected to have interest. Several clubs have already reached out to Las Vegas to lay the groundwork for trade talks.
  • Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow will be eligible for an extension when Cincinnati’s season comes to an end, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that the club wants to get a new deal done this offseason. A Burrow extension will be hugely expensive, and owner Mike Brown and Burrow himself acknowledged the challenges that such a deal creates for roster construction (via Ben Baby of ESPN.com). Of course, the Bengals will have to operate within the same salary cap confines as every other team in the league, but as Rapoport observes, the small-market franchise does have more cash on hand these days thanks in large part to the success that the team has enjoyed with Burrow under center.
  • In a comprehensive piece that is well-worth a read for Colts fans, a piece that details owner Jim Irsay‘s increasingly impulsive decision-making and the ensuing fallout, Zak Keefer of The Athletic (subscription required) says that Irsay wanted to draft and develop a rookie QB in the 2021 draft. However, then-head coach Frank Reich convinced Irsay that he could resuscitate Carson Wentz‘s career. When that experiment went awry, Irsay began to lose faith in Reich, who apologized to his boss for his misstep. The team again opted for an established passer last offseason when it engineered the Matt Ryan trade, and in light of that failure, Adam Jahns of The Athletic (subscription required) believes Indianapolis is finally going to eschew the veteran QB route. The Colts, armed with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2023 draft, are in prime position to select a top collegiate signal-caller and could trade up to land the player of their choice.
  • Dolphins GM Chris Grier recently confirmed reports that Tua Tagovailoa will be the team’s starting quarterback in 2023, as Daniel Oyefusi of the Miami Herald writes. Grier says the medical professionals he has consulted have told him that the concussions Tagovailoa suffered this season will not make him more prone to concussions going forward. He also said “everything’s on the table for us” when asked if the team would exercise Tagovailoa’s fifth-year option for 2024 and/or engage in extension talks.
  • The Jets may keep 2021 first-rounder Zach Wilson on the roster in 2023, but the team is widely expected to pursue a veteran like Carr or Rodgers to upgrade the quarterback position. Apparently, that will be a welcome development for some of Wilson’s teammates and coaches, who “rejoiced” when Wilson was benched in favor of Mike White in November and who were disappointed when Wilson was reinserted into the lineup following White’s rib injuries (via Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic (subscription required)). Regardless of whether Wilson’s apologies to his teammates in the wake of his failure to accept much blame for his poor performance in New York’s Week 11 loss to the Patriots helped him regain the respect of the locker room, the consensus seems to be that he is not the passer who will guide the Jets back to the playoffs.

Tua Tagovailoa Expected To Remain Dolphins’ QB1 In 2023

Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is expected to remain with Miami in 2023 and operate as the team’s starting quarterback, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.

In many ways, Schefter’s report should not come as a surprise. In his third professional season, Tagovailoa’s overall stats were tremendous, as he threw for 25 TDs against just eight interceptions and led the NFL in several key categories, including quarterback rating (105.5), TD% (6.3%), and yards per attempt (8.9). He clearly made great strides under rookie head coach Mike McDaniel, and for much of the year, it appeared as if his future in South Beach was no longer in doubt.

Unfortunately, Tagovailoa’s season was also marked by serious concussion issues. The Alabama product displayed concussion-like symptoms in Week 3 against the Bills, and while he returned to action shortly after that sequence, an NFLPA investigation into the Dolphins’ handling of the situation led to an overhaul of the NFL’s concussion protocol. Tagovailoa entered the protocol four days later, after being stretchered off the field in Cincinnati, and he was placed in the revised protocol a day after sustaining an unspotted concussion against Green Bay on Christmas Day. He has missed four full games this season, and the head injuries — to say nothing of the time he missed due to other maladies over the 2020-21 campaigns — have obviously created cause for concern.

Plus, after posting an 8-1 record in the first nine games he played this season, Tagovailoa lost his last four and put up QB ratings of 80.8 or lower in three of those contests. So while there will be fewer questions about this long-term viability as a franchise passer than there were at this time last year, the team still has plenty to consider.

As he has now accrued three years of service time, Tagovailoa will be extension-eligible this offseason. It is unclear whether the Dolphins will engage in contract discussions with the southpaw’s camp, or if they will exercise his fifth-year option for 2024. The deadline to pick up that option is May 3, and it would lock in a fully-guaranteed 2024 salary of roughly $22.5MM. Obviously, much could depend on whether Miami elects to renew its pursuit of Tom Brady in the coming months.

If seventh-round rookie Skylar Thompson should somehow pilot the ‘Fins to a victory in today’s wildcard contest against the Bills — veteran Teddy Bridgewater, who is dealing with a dislocated finger, will serve as Thompson’s backup — Tagovailoa could have a chance to play in the divisional round, per Schefter. The ESPN scribe adds that medical professionals are confident Tagovailoa will be able to resume his playing career in spite of the concussions.

Tua Tagovailoa To Miss Wild-Card Game

JANUARY 13: McDaniel confirmed it will again be Thompson at the controls. The seventh-round pick will make his third start of the season. Tagovailoa remains in concussion protocol, with McDaniel indicating (via NFL.com’s Cameron Wolfe, on Twitter) he has not advanced to the on-field activity stage of the protocol. The Dolphins have not ruled out Bridgewater as a backup option for Sunday’s Bills matchup.

JANUARY 11: The Dolphins will not have their starting quarterback in their wild-card matchup with the Bills, Mike McDaniel said Wednesday. Tua Tagovailoa has not been cleared for football activities yet.

This obviously represents a tough blow for the AFC’s No. 7 seed, but it was viewed as an uphill battle for Tagovailoa — who has suffered two confirmed concussions this season — to be cleared for Miami’s first-round game. Tua has not suffered any setbacks, per McDaniel, who said (via the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson) “compounding variables” are in play here. This likely refers to the third-year QB’s prior injuries this season. This will be the third straight game in which the Dolphins will not have their starter available, and it will be Tagovailoa’s fifth absence this season.

As of Wednesday, the Dolphins are preparing to give third-stringer Skylar Thompson another start. But McDaniel said (via Jackson, on Twitter) Teddy Bridgewater is working toward a return. A seventh-round rookie, Thompson has struggled — as could be expected — when called upon this season. Bridgewater, who suffered a dislocated pinkie in Week 17, has not finished either of the two games he started during his first Dolphins slate. It is unlikely Bridgewater will be able to practice much this week, McDaniel said.

The Dolphins qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2016. That team’s ensuing playoff game — a loss to the Steelers — involved a backup quarterback (Matt Moore). This will bring some familiar territory for Miami, which has not won a playoff game since the 2000 season. McDaniel’s Wednesday announcement, however, likely will allow Tua extensive time to recover before his fourth NFL campaign. His third presented his highest heights as a pro but also brought concerning injury developments.

Restoring some confidence after two uneven years to start his career, Tagovailoa finished the regular season third in QBR and led the Dolphins to eight of their nine wins. He also fared well in the Dolphins’ narrow loss to the Bills in Buffalo. But head injuries interrupted the Alabama product, who had aimed to return in time for a wild-card outing.

Tagovailoa displayed concussion-like symptoms in Week 3 against the Bills, and while the young southpaw returned to action shortly after that sequence, an NFLPA investigation into the Dolphins’ handling of that situation led to an overhaul of the NFL’s concussion protocol. Tagovailoa entered the protocol four days later, after being stretchered off the field in Cincinnati, and was again placed in the revised protocol a day after sustaining an unspotted concussion against Green Bay on Christmas Day.

Bridgewater, 30, would be the Dolphins’ best bet against the heavily favored Bills, but the veteran almost certainly will not be at 100% even if he does see action Sunday. Thompson completed 20 of 31 passes against the Jets’ tough pass defense, averaging just 4.9 yards per attempt. The Kansas State product has completed 57% of his throws this season.

Dolphins A Potential Suitor For Tom Brady?

Tom Brady-to-Miami is back on the table. A source “with general knowledge of the various dynamics regarding all things Brady” told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com that a move to the Dolphins is “definitely on the table.”

This obviously isn’t the first time that Brady has been connected to the organization. Miami’s previous pursuit of the quarterback led to a tampering scandal that resulted in significant penalties for the organization and their owner, Stephen Ross. Either way, the Dolphins clearly had Brady’s ear as they looked to team the future Hall of Famer with head coach Sean Payton. Thanks in part to Brian Flores’ discrimination lawsuit against the Dolphins, that plan was scrapped, and following a brief retirement, Brady ended back in Tampa Bay.

The 45-year-old will hit free agency this offseason, providing no barriers to him joining the Dolphins. As opposed to his last trip to free agency, Brady should have more than a couple of teams competing for his services. It remains to be seen if Brady would still be interested in moving to Miami, but among the hypothetical suitors, they’d make sense from a roster standpoint.

Another major part of this story revolves around current Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. If the Dolphins do land Brady, Florio said it’s uncertain if the Dolphins would move on from Tua or if they’d keep him as a backup. If the organization can find another team that would “assume the concussion risks,” then the incumbent QB would be a natural trade candidate. His $4.7MM financial commitment in 2023 certainly isn’t a concern for the Dolphins or any trade suitors, so either route wouldn’t be overly surprising.

Brady’s third season in Tampa Bay saw him complete 66.8 percent of his passes for 4,694 yards, 25 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Despite an 8-9 record, the Buccaneers qualified for the postseason. Tagovailoa, meanwhile, guided the Dolphins to an 8-5 record in 13 starts, tossing a career-high 25 touchdowns vs. only eight interceptions. He won’t start their Wild Card matchup against the Bills as he continues to sit in concussion protocol.

Dolphins Rumors: QB Situation, Mostert

One of the biggest questions heading into the Dolphins’ wild card matchup in Buffalo this Sunday is behind center. Starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa blazed to an 8-1 start in games he played this year before floundering in a four-game slide to end his regular season. Tagovailoa missed the season’s final two games due to concussion issues after missing two games earlier in the year, as well, while dealing with a concussion. Head coach Mike McDaniel told reporters today that Tagovailoa has not yet been cleared for football activity, according to ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques. The team hopes to get more clarity on Wednesday.

McDaniel also gave updates on the team’s other two quarterbacks, according to Louis-Jacques. Rookie seventh-round pick Skylar Thompson filled in for primary backup Teddy Bridgewater as Bridgewater dealt with a combination of a knee injury and an injured finger on his throwing hand last week. In his second start of the season, Thompson reportedly sustained “some bumps and bruises,” potentially making him the third quarterback on the team’s injury report this week.

McDaniel provided some solace on Thompson’s situation, stating that, should Thompson have needed to leave the game this past weekend, he believed Bridgewater was able to come in. Clarity on Wednesday is much needed for a franchise that can’t guarantee any of the three quarterbacks will be able to start this Sunday in Buffalo. The team signed and elevated practice squad quarterback Mike Glennon last week as a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency option.

In an unrelated injury note, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network confirmed today that starting running back Raheem Mostert broke his thumb in the team’s victory over the Jets yesterday. McDaniel spoke on Mostert’s injury, as well, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, telling the media that “it’s a serious injury.” Mostert will require surgery, putting his status for Sunday in question. If Mostert is unable to go, Miami will lean on Jeff Wilson and Salvon Ahmed to lead its running attack.

Dolphins To Start QB Skylar Thompson In Week 18

The Jets-Dolphins matchup will feature a meeting of third-string quarterbacks. While the eliminated Jets will start Joe Flacco, a Dolphins team playing for a wild-card spot will go with Skylar Thompson.

Mike McDaniel confirmed Friday the rookie will go in Week 18. Tua Tagovailoa is out for a second straight week, while Teddy Bridgewater is battling back from a dislocated pinkie. This will be Thompson’s second start this season, but the seventh-round pick has also made off-the-bench appearances — including last week in New England. This will be a rather pivotal outing for Thompson, given the stakes.

If the Dolphins beat the Jets and the Patriots lose to the favored Bills, Miami will secure its first playoff spot in six years. The team has used all three of its quarterbacks extensively this season, and the instability here has overshadowed the rest of the team for the most part. A Kansas City-area native, Thompson played five seasons at Kansas State and has attempted 74 passes this season. The 25-year-old passer will join Brock Purdy as seventh-round rookie QBs starting in Week 18, though the latter — chosen 15 spots after Thompson — has fared better and been given (by default) a steadier role.

[RELATED: Dolphins Add QB Mike Glennon To Practice Squad]

Thompson’s first NFL action came against the Jets in October, when Bridgewater was removed from the game with concussion-like symptoms. Bridgewater cleared concussion protocol and was available the following week, when he replaced an injured Thompson. McDaniel said the Dolphins need both QBs available this week, and the first-year HC expressed confidence (via CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones, on Twitter) Bridgewater will suit up as an emergency backup this week.

Bridgewater has exited both of his Dolphins starts. Given his draft status, Thompson (54.1% completion rate, 5.2 yards per attempt) has not exactly thrived when under center this season. Topping out at 12 touchdown passes in a college season, Thompson threw his first TD as a pro against the Patriots — in a 12-for-21, 104-yard showing.

Although the personnel is different, this regular-season-ending assignment reminds of the Dolphins’ previous playoff bid. Ryan Tannehill‘s late-season ACL tear brought in longtime backup Matt Moore, who quarterbacked the team into the postseason. The Dolphins lost to the Steelers in Round 1 that year. While the owners will vote on what happens at other sectors of the AFC playoff bracket Friday, it is of little concern to the Dolphins, who are aiming to avoid going from 8-3 to 8-9. Only three teams in the past 15 seasons — the 2021 Ravens, 2014 Eagles, 2012 Bears — have started 8-3 and missed the playoffs.

Tagovailoa remains in the top five in QBR, and his growth in McDaniel’s offense represents the main reason the Dolphins are in position to salvage this season with a playoff bid. But the former No. 5 overall pick has suffered two confirmed concussions, with concussion-like symptoms in a separate instance prompting a slew of scrutiny and leading the NFL to change its protocol. A recent report indicated Tagovailoa was targeting a potential wild-card game for a return, but McDaniel is staunchly refusing to allow timetables to be part of the latest Tua-return equation.

Dolphins DC Josh Boyer On Hot Seat?

The Dolphins have dropped five straight and find themselves out of the postseason picture, a major disappointment for an organization that was looking to take a step forward this season. Heads will surely roll if Miami fails to qualify for the playoffs, and a source told Armando Salguero of Outkick.com that defensive coordinator Josh Boyer could be a casualty.

Boyer’s job status could somewhat be connected to that of Mike McDaniel, with Salguero noting that if the head coach survives the offseason, then there’s no guarantee Boyer sticks in his position. Boyer was a holdover from Brian Flores’ staff, so it wouldn’t be surprising if McDaniel looks to shake things up with his own defensive coordinator. Even then, if McDaniel is canned following the season, there’s little chance Boyer would manage to stick around with a third head coach.

Boyer joined the NFL coaching ranks with the Patriots, where he worked his way up from defensive assistant to cornerbacks coach. He joined Flores in Miami in 2019 and earned the title of defensive pass game coordinator, and he was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2020. After ranking top-1o in points allowed during his first season at the helm, the Dolphins dropped to 16th in 2021 and 27th this season. The defense has been especially bad during the team’s current streak; after allowing around 23 points per game during their 8-3 start, opponents have averaged more than 30 points per game during the active five-game losing streak.

The defensive coordinator’s fate will be one of many decisions for Dolphins executives to make in anticipation of the offseason. Salguero explored the job security of McDaniel in particular, with the writer wondering if the coach has done enough to prevent the organization from pursuing someone like Sean Payton. The Dolphins will also have to make a decision on Tua Tagovailoa, with Salguero noting that owner Stephen Ross would be interested in Aaron Rodgers if the veteran QB was willing to play in Miami.

Dolphins Preparing To Use Teddy Bridgewater, Skylar Thompson In Week 18

The Dolphins have plummeted from 8-3 to 8-8 and are again navigating a Tua Tagovailoa concussion. The team still has a manageable path to the playoffs — a win over the Jets and a Patriots loss to the Bills — but it will probably have to complete part one of that scenario without its starting quarterback.

Mike McDaniel said Monday he is not thinking about Tagovailoa, who remains in concussion protocol, suiting up for Week 18 at this point. The concussion Tua suffered against the Packers was either his second or third of the season, and the first-year HC said he is preparing for either Teddy Bridgewater or Skylar Thompson to start against the Jets.

I feel compelled every conversation to reiterate, ‘There is no such thing as a timeline. It’s about today.’ … If he’s thinking about going there, I snuff that out,” McDaniel said of Tagovailoa’s timetable (via the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson). “I have no idea about any sort of when, if, why or how.”

[RELATED: Dolphins Cleared In Concussion Protocol Review]

A report Sunday indicated Tagovailoa is targeting a potential Dolphins wild-card game for a return. Tua missed two full games because of his Week 4 concussion, and while a first-round return would mirror that timeline, McDaniel reiterated he has not discussed a return window with his starter because he believes such conversations make “his recovery worse as a human being.” The rookie Dolphins HC did say Tagoavailoa told him he felt good Monday.

For the second time this season, Bridgewater left a start due to injury. Bridgewater started against the Jets but left with concussion-like symptoms. Against the Patriots on Sunday, the ninth-year quarterback exited because of a dislocated pinkie finger on his throwing hand. The Dolphins need both Bridgewater and Thompson to be available against the Jets, McDaniel said, adding the team will explore adding another quarterback this week. Miami does not have a QB on its practice squad.

Miami used the Bridgewater-Thompson setup in Week 5 — a 40-17 Jets romp — and considering Tagovailoa’s status, it sounds like it will be necessary for this matchup. The QBs combined to go 24-for-40 for 265 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in Foxborough. McDaniel said he would like to have his starter known Wednesday. Adding to the Dolphins’ QB predicament: neither Bridgewater nor Thompson has finished a start this season. Bridgewater, who suffered two concussions last season, has not made it through a start since Week 14 of last season. FiveThirtyEight gives the Dolphins a 42% chance to make the playoffs.

Dolphins QB Teddy Bridgewater Suffers Finger Injury; Latest On Tua Tagovailoa

The Dolphins’ late-season collapse continued today, and the team is now facing even more uncertainty at the quarterback position. Veteran backup Teddy Bridgewater exited Miami’s loss to New England and was unable to return.

The 30-year-old is believed to have suffered a broken finger in his throwing hand, as reported by Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper. The injury likely occurred on a throw in which Bridgewater’s hand hit a helmet while tossing an interception. His attempted tackle during the return from Patriots safety Kyle Dugger is suspected to be the cause, as head coach Mike McDaniel said after the game.

This marks the second straight time in which Bridgewater suffered an injury while starting for Miami this season. He played just one snap in Week 5 after being held out due to the NFL’s revised concussion protocols. His only other action in 2022 has come in relief appearances, and he has attempted only 79 passes this year. As was the case in October, seventh-round rookie Skylar Thompson finished the game under center for the Dolphins.

Of course, Bridgewater was in action because starter Tua Tagovailoa was sidelined with at least his second concussion of the season. The latter’s issues with head injuries has been a central storyline throughout the campaign, and played a significant role in the Dolphins’ ongoing struggles. Miami now sits at 8-8 with one week remaining and a Wild Card spot not the near-certainty it seemed to be until recently.

Tagovailoa’s status remains very much in question entering the final contest of the season. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported before today’s game that the 24-year-old is not expected to suit up for Week 18, with any hypothetical playoff contest targeted as a return date. Alper’s colleague Mike Florio corroborates that timeline, with NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport adding that Tagovailoa is currently considered day-to-day (video link).

With Bridgewater unlikely to be available, attention will increasingly turn to whether or not Tagovailoa is cleared to return – and, given his injury issues this year, whether the Dolphins show the same urgency in bringing him back that they did in the fall. If he remains sidelined, Thompson will likely get the nod for Sunday’s crucial game against the Jets.