Tyreek Hill Trade: What It Means for Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa

In what’s turned out to be one of the busiest offseasons in NFL history, another massive domino just toppled over. The Miami Dolphins traded for six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Tyreek Hill, surrendering a first- and second-round pick (along with some Day 3 selections) in the process.

It’s a blockbuster deal for Miami, one that firmly shows their trust in quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to be the franchise quarterback moving forward. After a full calendar year of Deshaun Watson rumors, the Dolphins pulled a complete 180, and now have Tagovailoa surrounded with weapons and a good offensive line for the first time in his young NFL career.

Tyreek HIll completes the Dolphins new-look offense

Before diving into the implications this move has on Tagovailoa, it’s essential to acknowledge the lengths the Dolphins have gone to improve their offense this offseason.

They hired Mike McDaniel as their new head coach, a former offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. They franchise-tagged starting tight end Mike Gesicki. They snagged two starting offensive linemen in free agency; Terron Armstead and Connor Williams. They added two new running backs in Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert. They signed free agent WR Cedrick Wilson, and now, they’ve added the most explosive WR in the NFL.

No matter how you slice it, this is an offense that has the potential to be very good in 2022 (and beyond).

All the pressure now diverts to Tua Tagovaolia

Since the moment he was drafted back in 2020, Tagovailoa has been forced to battle. He’s navigated through quarterback controversies with former Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and the before-mentioned Watson. His wide receiver room has never been all that strong, and the Dolphins rostered one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL last year.

Tagovailoa has by no means been a great starting quarterback these past two seasons. However, the odds were undoubtedly stacked against him.

Now, that’s no longer the case.

Tyreek Hill was the final piece to the puzzle. The Dolphins have an improved offensive line, an improved running game, an improved coaching staff, and a wide receiver room that’s arguably the fastest in the NFL. Between Hill and 2021 first-round pick Jaylen Waddle, the Dolphins will resemble a track team most afternoons.

This is an outstanding offense now. The only variable that could hold them back is the quarterback position.

Tyreek Hill is going to want the ball thrown downfield

New Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill.
Tyreek Hill | Mark Brown/Getty Images

Accuracy has never been much of a problem for Tagovailoa. He recorded a 67.8% completion rate last year, which ranked toward the top of the NFL. Instead, the issue that’s plagued Tua has been arm strength.

For Tyreek Hill to succeed in Miami, he needs the ball thrown downfield. His biggest strength is undoubtedly his ability to get behind the defense. It’s a game-breaking trait he possesses.

This is where Tagovailoa needs to prove he’s the man for the job in Miami. The whole trade will look rather pointless if he’s consistently underthrowing a wide-open Hill every week. Instead, Tua needs to showcase arm talent comparable to Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, and other ascending quarterbacks around the NFL.

Can Tagovailoa do it? Only time will tell. But the pressure is all on him. The Dolphins’ front office have done their job.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

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