The Miami Dolphins are having themselves quite the offseason. They’ve spent over $300 million building up their roster between free-agent contracts and in-house extensions. They’ve acquired elite talents in Tyreek Hill and Terron Armstead, while simultaneously adding crucial depth pieces in Cedrick Wilson, Connor Williams, Chase Edmunds, and Raheem Mostert.
They also worked out new extensions for Emmanuel Ogbah and Xavien Howard, making sure to keep their best players in town for another several seasons.
On the surface, this type of offseason is a big win for third-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. This will be the first time he plays alongside a good roster, setting him up for a breakout 2022 season. However, there’s an alternate angle worth considering here, one where the Dolphins’ new “all-in” mentality spells trouble for Tagovailoa.
The Miami Dolphins are officially all-in
Before diving into Tagovailoa’s status with the team, it’s crucial to acknowledge that Miami is 100% all the way in moving forward. Not only did the Dolphins commit over a quarter of a billion dollars to their roster, but they also happily traded away premium draft capital for a proven talent in Tyreek Hill.
These are not the actions of a franchise still looking to rebuild and retool. These are the actions of a franchise looking to end their playoff drought sooner rather than later. As the AFC continues to get more competitive with the addition of quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson, the Dolphins figured they needed to keep spending to keep up with the rest of the conference.
From an elementary point of view, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is trying to buy his way back into the postseason. This type of strategy comes with expectations.
The pressure is on Tua Tagovailoa to perform, and win
Tagovailoa has had an up-and-down first two years in the NFL. He spent most of his rookie season battling for snaps with veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick and injured his hand just a few quarters into his sophomore season.
His second season in the NFL was also consumed with constant Deshaun Watson trade rumors. Plus, the Dolphins rostered one of the worst offensive lines in the league in 2021. There are several reasons why Tagovailoa hasn’t played at the level of draftmates Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert.
However, 2022 is when all those excuses get thrown out the window. Not only did Ross commit $300-plus million to surround Tagovailoa with a good roster, but he also wholly overhauled his team’s coaching staff to better suit Tagovailoa. Mike McDaniel is an offense-only coach who was hired to help Tua blossom into an elite passer.
Rumors are already popping up about the Dolphins being interested in other QBs
In the same breath, some quiet rumors have already begun popping up about Miami being interested in other quarterbacks after the 2022 season.
Tom Brady has been the most notable name connected to the Dolphins, should he decide to leave the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the offseason.
If Tagovailoa cannot take this very expensive roster to the playoffs this season, one can reasonably assume the Dolphins will jump at the opportunity to replace him with someone better, just like the Cleveland Browns did with Watson and Baker Mayfield.
Tagovailoa getting a juiced-up offense this offseason is a good thing. However, expectations and pressure are both through the roof now. He needs to perform or risk being replaced altogether.