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When could Tua Tagovailoa get a new deal with Dolphins?

ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa runs up field with the ball on Jan. 13.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa runs up field with the ball on Jan. 13.

INDIANAPOLIS >> The Dolphins have been discussing the terms of a contract extension with representatives for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa since the 2023 season ended. While there remains no timetable for a new deal, general manager Chris Grier said he is “hopeful” for a deal that will keep Tagovailoa in Miami for years to come.

“These are deals that very rarely come together quickly,” Grier said at the NFL Scouting Combine Wednesday. “There are a lot of pieces, moving parts when you’re doing it. We’ve had positive discussions so far, and we’ll keep working here throughout the offseason.”

Head coach Mike McDaniel said Tuesday that he was”very encouraged” the Dolphins would sign Tagovailoa to a long-term deal.

Grier said he was unsure how the league’s salary cap rising about $30 million for the 2024 season would impact negotiating Tagovailoa’s new deal. The Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow reset the quarterback market last September when he signed a five-year, $275 million contract extension.

“You try and work through it,” Grier said of contract talks. “You have rational discussions with people and his representation are really good people. We’ve had great conversations. At the end of the day, what he’s looking for in terms of because of the money went up, does that drive the salary up? I don’t know. You’d have to ask him.”

Grier said that Tagovailoa’s concussion history — he missed five games in 2022 while in the NFL’s concussion protocol — would not have an impact on negotiations. Tagovailoa played every game in 2023, a first in his professional career.

If Tagovailoa does not get a new deal before the start of the season, he will play the final year of his rookie deal on the fifth-year option worth about $23 million. An extension would likely lower Tagovailoa’s cap hit in 2024 and give the Dolphins more cap flexibility this offseason.

Grier acknowledged that having Tagovailoa on a cheap rookie deal has allowed the team to make big swings for high-profile players such as wide receiver Tyreek Hill, cornerback Jalen Ramsey and outside linebacker Bradley Chubb. Such moves likely won’t be as frequent with Tagovailoa signed to a lucrative extension.

“It’s not sustainable,” Grier said. “At some point, you have to reel it back and then add some youth and influx and then cherry-pick here and there where you go.”

Grier expressed confidence, though, that Tagovailoa can still improve after throwing for 4,624 passing yards and 29 passing touchdowns, both career-high marks, and being named to his first Pro Bowl.

“We all feel there’s still another level he can take it,” Grier said.

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