Tua Tagovailoa has been having something of a rough few months. His year essentially peaked between Weeks 6 and 7 of the 2020-21 NFL season, when the Miami Dolphins named him starting quarterback.
Since then, it has been one issue after another. Tagovailoa went 6-3 with a 64.1 percent completion rate, 11 passing touchdowns and five interceptions in his rookie campaign. By the numbers, that’s an okay effort. Nobody would confuse it for a Justin Herbert-like showing, but it wasn’t terrible either. But once you dig a bit beneath the surface, there are plenty of causes for concern.
First and foremost, Tagovailoa’s teammates don’t respect him as a credible starter at all. And they are not shy about admitting it. It got so bad that head coach Brian Flores had to come out and publicly defend the youngster from his own guys criticizing him.
Beyond just not inspiring confidence in the locker, however, the larger problem is that Tagoavailoa’s teammates are right to be concerned. On two separate occasions this year the former Alabama standout had to be replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick in an effort to somehow get the ball downfield. Tagovailoa 6.3 yards per pass attempt didn’t do much to scare opposing defenses.
In Miami’s last game of the year, a loss to the Buffalo Bills, Tagovailoa went 35 of 58 for 361 yards and three interceptions. The Dolphins ended up getting blown out 56-26.
As a result of his uneven play, Tagovailoa suddenly found his name being mentioned in potential trade scenarios involving Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. It got so serious, in fact, that Watson reportedly cited the Dolphins as one of his two preferred trade destinations.
This week, Tagovailoa appeared on the Dan Patrick Show and offered his honest response to the trade rumors that have been surrounding him over the past few weeks.
“Honestly, I’m not too sure,” he said, when pressed on what the future held. “Like I said, I can’t control things that I can’t control. What I can do is continue to work hard.”
Up to this point, Miami has said all the right things about building around Tagovailoa. He is the 2021 starter at the moment. That said, the reality of the situation is becoming increasingly hard to ignore.
Patrick Mahomes’ lame brother tried to steal someone’s girlfriend and learned a valuable lesson in the process.https://t.co/OK7Nh5SMdR
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 28, 2021
If Watson wants out, and the Dolphins can put together a tantalizing enough package, it would be malpractice to ride with Tagovailoa just because a first-round pick was spent on him last year.
One way or another, a final decision regarding Watson will be made in the coming weeks. So regardless of whether the Dolphins land him or not, a resolution will be reached sooner rather than later.
Jennifer Withers Hoey is a former Business Development Manager who transitioned to writing about sports. With valuable connections all over the West Coast, she has used those contacts to break some of the most interesting stories pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Ducks, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Seattle Supersonics (RIP), and more.