Entering 2022, all eyes were already on Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. With a new offensive-minded head coach in Mike McDaniel that brings a quarterback-friendly system, a number of new weapons and an improved offensive line in front of him, could he play up to the level expected of a top-five draft pick?
Through 21 starts, Tagovailoa has led the Dolphins to a 13-8 record, but his statistics (4,467 yards, 27 touchdowns and 15 interceptions) haven’t been overly impressive. On top of that, he’s dealt with some injuries that have kept him off the field.
Dolphins general manager Chris Grier had stockpiled draft picks for the 2023 draft, putting Miami in position to make two first-round selections. This gave the team options if Tagovailoa didn’t take a step forward in 2022. They could use those picks to move up in the draft and take a quarterback prospect, or they could trade those picks for a proven veteran to lead their team.
Now, after Tuesday’s penalties from the NFL, stemming from former head coach Brian Flores’ accusations of tampering, the Dolphins have lost their own first-round pick next year as well as a third-round pick in 2024.
In most cases of teams having multiple picks in the same round that they’re set to lose one from, they’re only allowed to keep the lower of the picks. However, here, Miami will lose theirs no matter what. So, if San Francisco’s pick ends up being a better pick, the Dolphins will still get that one.
Without that extra draft capital, Grier has lost an asset that he said he made a concerted effort to keep when trading for Tyreek Hill this offseason.
“I’m not going to lie, it was important for us to keep those two picks because we had done so much to acquire those before,” he said back in April.
Now, Tagovailoa has more pressure on him than before to prove that he’s the quarterback that Miami should want running that team in 2023 and beyond. If he can’t, it’s going to be harder to find a potential franchise quarterback than previously thought.