Tago­v­ailoa agrees to 4-year, $30.3 mil­lion rookie con­tract

Orlando Sentinel - - Sports Tuesday - By Omar Kelly

The Mi­ami Dol­phins have come to an agree­ment with the first of the team’s three 2020 firstround picks, lock­ing up for­mer Alabama stand­out Tua Tago­v­ailoa to a four-year deal that fea­tures a team-op­tion for the fifth year.

Tago­v­ailoa, who was se­lected fifth-over­all in April’s NFL draft de­spite suf­fer­ing a sea­son-end­ing right hip in­jury in Novem­ber, will re­ceive $30.28 mil­lion over the first four years of the deal, ac­cord­ing to a league source.

He’ll re­ceive a sign­ing bonus of $19,578,500, and all four years of his con­tract are fully guar­an­teed. That means if Tago­v­ailoa suf­fers a med­i­cal set­back that ends his ca­reer pre­ma­turely or the Dol­phins choose to re­lease him be­fore the deal ex­pires, he’ll re­ceive all of the re­main­ing $10.7 mil­lion owed, which is stan­dard for play­ers se­lected in the first round.

The Dol­phins can trig­ger the fifth-year op­tion in Tago­v­ailoa’s con­tract in May of 2023, and it com­mits to pay Tago­v­ailoa a salary that’s north of $24.8 mil­lion for the 2024 sea­son. That price would go up by 2023 be­cause it pays each player se­lected in the top 10 a salary equal­ing the tran­si­tion tag amount the year the op­tion was ex­er­cised.

The fifth-year op­tion is only guar­an­teed for in­jury un­til the first day of the 2024 league year.

That means if Tago­v­ailoa has a pro­duc­tive NFL ca­reer as a starter by the start of the 2023 sea­son, the Dol­phins will have paid him more than $55 mil­lion for the first five years of his NFL ca­reer.

Tago­v­ailoa, who led Alabama to a 22-2 record in his two sea­sons as a starter and com­pleted 69.3% of his passes, throw­ing for 7,442 yards and 87 touch­downs with 11 in­ter­cep­tions, will likely serve as vet­eran Ryan Fitz­patrick’s backup dur­ing most of 2020 sea­son. But there’s a re­mote pos­si­bil­ity he can push for the start­ing spot if he’s med­i­cally cleared to play in NFL games.

Tago­v­ailoa is ahead of the re­hab sched­ule for his sur­gi­cally re­paired right hip, but it is doubt­ful that he’s been cleared to par­tic­i­pate in any drills that in­volve con­tact, and might not re­ceive that clear­ance un­til he’s a full year into

his re­hab. Some NFL teams were so con­cerned about his dura­bil­ity and the lin­ger­ing ef­fects of his hip

in­jury Tago­v­ailoa wasn’t med­i­cally cleared by a hand­ful of teams to be drafted.

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