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