Tua Tagovailoa

Dolphins Activate QB Tua Tagovailoa Off IR

Tua Tagovailoa is officially back. The Dolphins have activated the quarterback off injured reserve. While Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com observes that Tagovailoa is listed as questionable, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that the QB will start tomorrow in London.

Tua hasn’t played since suffering a rib injury during Miami’s Week 2 loss to the Bills. He was placed on IR in late September, and he was designated to return from IR earlier this week. While the QB got a week of practice under his belt, it was still uncertain if the organization would fly the former first-round pick across the Atlantic Ocean in order to play the winless Jaguars in London tomorrow. Ultimately, it sounds like Tagovailoa will be under center for his squad at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The former fifth-overall pick started nine of his 10 games last season, completing 64.1-percent of his passes for 1,814 yards, 11 touchdowns, and only five interceptions. He also added another 109 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. He threw a touchdown and rushed for another during the Dolphins’ Week 1 victory over the Patriots, and he completed one of his four pass attempts in Week 2 before exiting.

Jacoby Brissett has been filling in as the starting QB in Tua’s absence, throwing four touchdowns in three starts.

The Dolphins made two additional moves this morning, promoting wideouts Isaiah Ford and Kirk Merritt from the practice squad.

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Dolphins Designate QB Tua Tagovailoa For Return

Tua Tagovailoa is another step closer to returning. The Dolphins QB was designated for return from IR today, according to ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter).

Tagovailoa suffered a rib injury during Miami’s Week 2 loss to the Bills, and he was placed on injured reserve in late September. This meant the QB would be eligible to return in time for the Dolphins game against the Jaguars on Sunday morning.

Of course, just because Tua returned to practice, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be on the field this weekend. It remains to be seen if Tagovailoa will travel to London with his squad, and even then, he’d need the team to trust that he’s healthy enough to start. We heard earlier this week that the QB would be “ready” to play, so we’ll see if he gets his way.

The former fifth-overall pick started nine of his 10 games last season, completing 64.1-percent of his passes for 1,814 yards, 11 touchdowns, and only five interceptions. He also added another 109 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. He threw a touchdown and rushed for another during the Dolphins’ Week 1 victory over the Patriots, and he completed one of his four pass attempts in Week 2 before exiting.

As long as Tagovailoa is out of the lineup, Jacoby Brissett will continue under center for the Dolphins.

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AFC East Notes: Bills, Mims, Tua

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has made it clear that the Bills need to address their stadium situation in the near future to keep the club in western New York, and Bills ownership remains committed to that goal. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports hears from team and league sources that owners Terry and Kim Pegula have not even investigated the possibility of moving the team to a different city. Instead, the Pegulas continue to work towards building a new stadium near the current one.

The Pegulas will push for the issue to become a top priority for state and local government, and they are optimistic that the recent change in New York leadership will help their pursuit. New governor Kathy Hochul has strong ties to western NY and good relationships with many members of the Buffalo organization who would be working on the project, and as of now, the sense is that the Bills will be staying put.

Now for more from the AFC East:

  • Much has been made of Denzel Mims‘ future with the Jets and whether the second-year wideout could be a trade candidate, but Rich Cimini of ESPN.com hears that Mims is not going anywhere, which jibes with a recent report from the NFL Network. Indeed, as Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv writes, Mims is going to get a real opportunity to shine when Gang Green takes on the Titans this afternoon. Head coach Robert Saleh said Mims “is going to get some opportunities. Hopefully he takes advantage of them. We’re expecting him to.”
  • Cimini adds that, at this point, WR Jamison Crowder is the most likely player on the Jets‘ roster to be traded in the coming weeks. Although safety Marcus Maye could theoretically be on the move — his agent recently tweeted that Maye will be recovered from his ankle injury by the trade deadline, a clear attempt to drum up interest — his salary could be prohibitive for many clubs. Maye will still be owed another ~$6MM for 2021 by the time the trade deadline rolls around.
  • Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa is eligible to come off IR for the team’s October 17 matchup with the Jaguars, and he will be ready to return to action by that date, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Of course, it remains to be seen if Tagovailoa — who is dealing with multiple fractured ribs — will be reinserted into the starting lineup at that time, or if Miami will continue to roll with Jacoby Brissett. Meanwhile, Deshaun Watson trade rumors continue to swirl.

Dolphins To Place Tua Tagovailoa On IR

The Dolphins’ stretch without their starting quarterback will last at least three games. Tua Tagovailoa will land on IR, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).

With Brian Flores indicating earlier this week additional testing revealed Tagovailoa suffered multiple fractured ribs, this is not especially surprising. Offseason addition Jacoby Brissett will now have an extended opportunity, which has become familiar for the veteran backup.

Brissett was needed as a rookie in New England, with Tom Brady‘s Deflategate suspension and a subsequent Jimmy Garoppolo injury moving Brissett into the Patriots’ lineup early in 2016. Andrew Luck‘s troublesome shoulder injury thrust Brissett into a full-time starting role, after a late-summer trade, in 2017. After Luck’s return the following year sent Brissett back to the bench, the Indianapolis franchise QB’s sudden 2019 retirement brought on another year of full-time QB1 duty for the former third-round pick. Philip Rivers kept Brissett on the Colts’ bench throughout 2020, but he will now have three more games to use as a potential audition for a 2022 gig. Brissett, 28, signed a one-year, $5MM deal in March.

For Tagovailoa, this continues a less-than-ideal start to his NFL career. The former Alabama superstar became the Dolphins’ starting quarterback last season but saw Flores yank him for Ryan Fitzpatrick in multiple games. As Tagovailoa was believed to be progressing on multiple fronts this offseason, Deshaun Watson trade rumors persisted. They have not exactly died down. And this latest Tua setback may intensify rumblings the Dolphins will look to bring in the embattled Texans QB.

Tua will miss Dolphins games against the Raiders, Colts and Buccaneers. A Week 6 Jaguars matchup stands as the second-year passer’s next opportunity, though it is not certain he will be ready to return by then.

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Dolphins Rule Out Tua Tagovailoa For Week 3

Tua Tagovailoa‘s rib injury will keep him out of the Dolphins’ Week 3 game in Las Vegas, Brian Flores said Wednesday. Flores said additional testing revealed fractured ribs, Jeff Darlington of ESPN.com tweets. This marks a bit of a step up from Tua’s “day to day” assessment.

While the third-year Dolphins HC stopped short of indicating Tagovailoa would need to be placed on IR, such a scenario would not be surprising. This represents another setback for the former top-five pick, who has yet to find his NFL footing.

Jacoby Brissett replaced Tagovailoa in the Dolphins’ 35-0 loss to the Bills and will start against the Raiders. The Dolphins signed Brissett to a one-year, $5MM deal this offseason. Should this situation morph into a Tagovailoa IR stay, Brissett would have a reunion game in Week 4, when the Dolphins face the Colts. The Dolphins will match up against the Buccaneers in Week 5.

Entering the NFL after a severe hip injury ended his junior season early, Tagovailoa also missed a game due to a thumb injury as a rookie. The former Alabama superstar threw four passes before going down in Week 2.

This setback may intensify Deshaun Watson rumors, with the Dolphins being the team most closely connected to the Pro Bowl passer. Despite owner Stephen Ross‘ potential interest in acquiring the embattled Texans quarterback, the Dolphins have balked at the Texans’ steep asking price. Houston is believed to have turned down an offer including three first-round picks, seeking a haul including other high picks and/or established players as well. The Texans have made Watson a healthy scratch for their first two games.

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Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa Considered Day-To-Day

Tua Tagovailoa was carted into the locker room during yesterday’s loss to the Bills, but it sounds like the Dolphins quarterback avoided a serious injury. Tagovailoa is considered day-to-day, reports Omar Kelly of South Florida Sun-Sentinel (via Twitter).

[RELATED: Dolphins WR Will Fuller Returns To Team]

The former first-round pick was sidelined during the second drive of yesterday’s game. While X-rays on Tagovailoa’s ribs came back negative, head coach Brian Flores said his quarterback is still in a “good deal of pain.” The head coach also revealed that his starting quarterback tried to return to yesterday’s game, and Tagovailoa’s chances of playing this weekend will depend on his pain tolerance.

“Tua is very tough. It’s not a question with him,” Flores said (via ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques). “He’s a tough kid, for sure … If Tua can go, he’s gonna go. That’s just the type of kid he is.”

Tagovailoa helped guide the Dolphins to a Week 1 win, tossing a touchdown and rushing for another. Jacoby Brissett filled in on Sunday and completed 20 of his 40 pass attempts for 169 yards and one interception. Brissett would presumably get the starting nod if Tagovailoa is sidelined on Sunday in Las Vegas.

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Dolphins HC Brian Flores Endorses QB Tua Tagovailoa

With rumors persisting regarding a potential Deshaun Watson-to-Miami trade, Dolphins coach Brian Flores has made it clear where he stands on the matter. In a “brief but poignant” address to the team, Flores acknowledged the trade rumors and reiterated that Tua Tagovailoa is “our quarterback,” per ESPN’s Jeff Darlington (on Twitter).

As the reporter notes, this information “isn’t intended to dispute recent reporting” regarding the Watson trade rumors. Rather, “it is a reflection of the moment,” with the head coach making it clear that Tagovailoa is the team’s intended starter moving forward. Darlington also speculates that Flores will continue “to echo a similar sentiment in the weeks to come.”

It was only earlier today that we heard Dolphins owner Stephen Ross “really wants” Watson in Miami. However, the Dolphins front office continues to balk at the trade price, and some pundits believe the organization may be angling to acquire the QB while his value is low amid legal uncertainty. On the flip side, other reporters noted that Ross believes in Tagovailoa and “doesn’t force football decisions.”

Flores said on Monday that the team wanted “high character throughout the building,” which many interpreted as him throwing cold water on the Watson speculation. Today’s private endorsement of Tagovailoa only reinforces that the head coach is a proponent of moving forward with the former Alabama star.

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Latest On Deshaun Watson Market

The Deshaun Watson market, as muddled as it may be, reclaimed its place atop the NFL news cycle Saturday. Texans GM Nick Caserio has discussed the Pro Bowl quarterback on more than one occasion with the Dolphins and Panthers, Armando Salguero of outkick.com reports.

Watson would prefer a trade to Miami but would not veto a deal that sends him to Charlotte, Salguero adds. The soon-to-be 26-year-old QB has a no-trade clause. The Panthers are not believed to be making a hard push for the Clemson product at this point, but they were monitoring him recently and showed considerable interest this offseason — before the sexual assault and misconduct allegations emerged.

As of now, however, the Dolphins are not meeting the first part of the Texans’ lofty asking price. Miami is not ready to part with three first-round picks for Watson, per Salguero, who adds no trade is imminent. The Texans are believed to want three first-rounders and two second-rounders for Watson, who requested a trade this past winter and has not factored into the team’s practices this summer. Houston is not expected to fetch such a haul for Watson, Adam Beasley of ProFootballNetwork.com notes, if a deal is made soon.

Miami remains interested at the right price, and if that is the case, Houston may not be able to keep its lofty price tag where it presently is. The Panthers’ interest having dwindled, and the Broncos and Eagles potentially bowing out — as Aaron Wilson of Sports Talk 790 reports, Watson will not waive his no-trade clause for Philly — may leave just one serious suitor. That would obviously benefit the Dolphins.

Additionally, the Texans are not believed to be interested in a deal that includes Tua Tagovailoa, per Salguero. That could change, but any deal for Watson not including Tagovailoa would leave the former No. 5 overall pick in a strange situation. The Dolphins were linked to Tagovailoa a year before they actually selected him, but Beasley notes the some concern about his development exists within the organization. Not everyone in the Dolphins’ organization is concerned about Tua, with the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson noting the team has been pleased with the second-year QB’s improvement. GM Chris Grier has committed to Tagovailoa as his 2021 starter on multiple occasions during the offseason.

Tagovailoa would have no path to a starting job on a team with Watson, assuming his legal trouble does not result in prison time. While Tagovailoa could serve as the Dolphins’ starter during a Watson suspension, the team would almost certainly need to unload the younger quarterback in a separate trade at some point.

It would certainly be strange for a team to acquire Watson at this point. Twenty-two women have filed civil suit against him, and at least 10 are involved in the Houston Police Department’s investigation. A grand jury is set to be empaneled soon, and the NFL is not planning to interview Watson until it has spoken with all 22 accusers. The Pro Bowl passer is not set to be deposed in the civil case until February 2022. While this would create a window for Watson to play this season, though a grand jury indictment would seemingly prompt the NFL to place him on the commissioner’s exempt list, a team that acquires the QB under these circumstances would face backlash.

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Tua Tagovailoa: Hip Feels ’10 Times Better’ Than In 2020

Had Tua Tagovailoa‘s November 2019 hip injury not occurred, the 2020 draft may have played out differently. But the Dolphins still selected the prized Alabama prospect fifth overall. Tagovailoa battled inconsistency as a rookie, however.

The young southpaw quarterback acknowledged Wednesday he dealt with hip pain during his rookie season. Tagovailoa added (via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Safid Deen, on Twitter) his hip feels “10 times better” than it did last season.

Tua is now 18 months removed from the right hip dislocation that ended his Crimson Tide career. The 23-year-old passer said he has been able to go through an extensive full-body strength regimen this offseason, via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, whereas his 2020 offseason consisted largely of medical exams and rehab. The Dolphins passed Tua on a physical last February, and he continued to trend in the right direction ahead of the season. Despite owner Stephen Ross being concerned about Tagovailoa’s health, Brian Flores promoted him to the starting role in mid-October — less than 11 months after the hip injury.

Tagovailoa ranked 26th in Total QBR as a rookie — behind No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow and well behind No. 6 choice Justin Herbert — and was benched for Ryan Fitzpatrick on multiple occasions. The second-year QB now admits his playbook comprehension left a bit to be desired.

Last year, for me, I wasn’t as comfortable just in general. I wasn’t comfortable calling plays,” Tagovailoa said, via ESPN.com’s Cameron Wolfe. “I just didn’t have the comfortability of checking plays, alerting plays. I just rode with the play, even if I knew it wasn’t going to work. I was going to try to make it work.

I didn’t actually know the playbook, necessarily, really, really good, and that’s no one else’s fault but my fault. Our play calls were simple when I was in. I didn’t have alerts and checks. Where now, I feel comfortable and I can maneuver my way through these things.”

Though they were loosely connected to Deshaun Watson, the Dolphins equipped Tagovailoa with new wideouts Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle. With Fitzpatrick now in Washington, Tagovailoa will have the chance to start 17 games. Though the Dolphins are expected to push for the playoffs, inviting more scrutiny on their quarterback, he will almost certainly be in better position to succeed in 2021.

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Pats, Bears, Washington Pursued Deshaun Watson; Dolphins Prepared Big Offer

Prior to Aaron Rodgers taking his turn as the centerpiece of 2021’s complex quarterback saga, Deshaun Watson resided there. However, the Texans quarterback’s legal issues ground trade rumors to a halt. Prior to that happening, however, a fourth of the league pursued him.

While several of Watson’s suitors have been known, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports (via the Sporting News) the Patriots, Bears and Washington were among the eight teams to express interest in three-time Pro Bowler. The others were previously known suitors — the Broncos, Dolphins, Jets, Panthers and 49ers. The 49ers have kept tabs on Watson this offseason, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. San Francisco also has inquired about Rodgers’ availability.

It certainly is not surprising the Bears and Washington reached out. Both teams have sought QB answers for a bit. Each moved on, but the Andy Dalton and Ryan Fitzpatrick deals are stopgaps. The Patriots join as a clear connection, having employed Texans honchos Nick Caserio and Jack Easterby previously. The Pats re-signed Cam Newton but are on the radar to trade up for a quarterback tonight.

In addition to this octet of teams interested in a quarterback the Texans had previously refused to discuss in trades, McClain adds the Dolphins were preparing a big offer for the passer. Tua Tagovailoa was to be included in the proposal. As was the No. 3 overall pick. A future Dolphins offer would be different, with the team having traded that pick to the 49ers.

Dolphins GM Chris Grier has backed Tagovailoa on multiple occasions this offseason but has not been shy about making seismic deals — as the trade with the 49ers or the 2019 Laremy Tunsil deal showed. Tagovailoa was mentioned in Watson rumors at one point.

This market could heat up again at some point, but a few of these teams will have moved on to long-term QBs by Thursday’s end. The Jets and 49ers are prepared to select quarterbacks tonight. The Broncos and Patriots may do so as well, with Washington and Chicago looming as trade-up candidates. The Watson market has been on pause for several weeks now. More than 20 women have accused the 25-year-old passer of sexual misconduct or sexual assault.

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