The Potential Implications of Tua’s Contract Status on Mac Jones

Breer: What Tua’s contract situation could mean for Mac Jones originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

At this rate, Tua Tagovailoa is on pace for a major payday when he signs his next NFL contract.

The Miami Dolphins quarterback was stellar when healthy last season and was brilliant again in Week 1 of the 2023 campaign, throwing for 466 yards and three touchdowns in a 36-34 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. His next test is a Week 2 showdown against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.

In March, Miami exercised Tagovailoa’s fifth-year option for 2024. The option comes with a $23.17 million fully guaranteed salary. That’s noteworthy because the Patriots must make a decision on their signal-caller Mac Jones’ fifth-year option by next May.

If Tagovailoa stays hot, he could shift the quarterback market even more when he hits free agency in 2025 or signs an extension with the Dolphins. The MMQB’s Albert Breer shared intel on Tagovailoa’s contract expectations during Sunday’s Patriots Postgame Live.

“I was actually able to look at some of the analytics that his agency had put together. And it’s interesting because this is the same agency that did the deal at $40 million a year for Daniel Jones,” Breer said. “No one thought going into last offseason that Daniel Jones was worth anywhere close to that. Yet, when they get to the point where they have to franchise him and get to the negotiating table, that number keeps rising and rising and rising.

“The number I’ve seen affixed to Tua Tagovailoa’s name is $50 million per year. So that’s why this is a tricky situation going forward for the Dolphins. As reluctant as they might have been based on the health thing and everything else, they were OK picking up the fifth-year option because that’s going to come in at somewhere between 20 and $30 million for 2024. At least that gives you the placeholder for next year. But I don’t think he’s going to be looking for too far off the top of the market.

“We know Joe Burrow got $55 million a year. Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, and Justin Herbert all in that 51, 52 $52.5 million range. I don’t think Tua’s going to accept a whole lot less than that if he keeps playing the way that he played in Week 1.”

Tagovailoa earning $50 million per year obviously would make Jones far more expensive for the Patriots to keep. While Tagovailoa’s elite weapons have helped him amass better numbers than his former Alabama teammate, Jones is considered a similarly skilled QB. If he excels in Year 3 under new Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, his price will skyrocket. The QB market has shown no signs of slowing down.

For now, Jones and the Patriots are focused on earning a pivotal win over Tagovailoa and the Dolphins on Sunday Night Football. Kickoff is set for 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC.

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