Tua Tagovailoa’s rookie season was a mixed bag.
Alongside Ryan Fitzpatrick, he quarterbacked the Dolphins to their best record since 2016 and put up solid if not spectacular numbers, completing 64.1 percent of his passes with an 11-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
He was also benched twice by head coach Brian Flores and struggled to throw downfield. In a spotlight game Sunday with a chance to clinch a playoff berth, he threw three interceptions in a Buffalo Bills blowout victory.
That same day, the Dolphins clinched the No. 3 pick in the draft — courtesy of the Houston Texans — leading to speculation over whether Miami would be tempted to reboot its reboot in a top-heavy quarterback draft class.
Would the Dolphins really move on from Tua?
General manager Chris Grier sought to put a halt to that chatter Tuesday while speaking with beat reporters.
He declined, of course, to hint at what the Dolphins might do with the No. 3 pick — or the No. 18 pick that they also possess. He appeared to make clear what the Dolphins won’t do — draft a quarterback.
“Tua, I'm very happy with,” Grier said, per the Miami Herald’s Adam Beasley. “He's our starting quarterback.”
Sticking with Tua is a no-brainer, right?
Rewind back one year, and this sentiment seems obvious. Before Joe Burrow took the football world by storm, “Tank for Tua” dominated the 2019 NFL landscape. The Dolphins tanked. They got Tua.
The thought of bailing on him after nine starts in that context seems absurd. But in a world where Justin Herbert pays immediate dividends and the Arizona Cardinals pulled the plug on Josh Rosen in favor of Kyler Murray one year later, it’s also reasonable to think the Dolphins would consider it.
And maybe they would if they were picking higher. Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence is almost assured of going No. 1 to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Ohio State’s Justin Fields made a strong case for the No. 2 spot to the New York Jets with his sensational effort to top Lawrence’s Tigers in the College Football Playoff. BYU’s Zach Wilson will also tempt quarterback needy teams picking after Jacksonville.
What will Dolphins do with 2 first-round picks?
Either Fields or Wilson will be available at No. 3. Neither carries the generational talent label that Lawrence does, making it a tough sell for the Dolphins to give up on Tagovailoa after investing the No. 5 pick on him last season.
And while deception is the name of the game in the world of the NFL draft, there’s little reason to think Grier wasn’t being genuine Tuesday. If Tagovailoa is their guy, there’s no reason to leave him hanging amid the speculation.
By sticking with Tagovailoa, the Dolphins can instead invest their premium draft capital in making their young quarterback better with glaring needs on the offensive line and at wide receiver.
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