Miami Dolphins: Evaluating Quarterback Options Not Named Tua Tagovailoa
Here’s some news for you: Tua Tagovailoa is NOT a Miami Dolphin. As much as I’d love to believe that Tagovailoa is penciled in as Miami’s target with their initial first-round selection, we simply do not know if that’s the case. While I am a firm believer that the Dolphins should do everything they can to acquire Tagovailoa, it is important to look elsewhere should they miss out on the Alabama star. So, if it’s not Tagovailoa, who is the answer at the quarterback position for the Miami Dolphins?
The Other Guys
Herbert, a four-year starter at Oregon, checks all of the boxes for a traditional NFL quarterback. He’s tall, mobile, and possesses an absolute cannon of a right arm. His physical tools are incredible, he’s dominated the pre-draft process, and he possesses just as much upside as any quarterback in this year’s class. So, where is the love for Justin Herbert? Simply put, he is being overshadowed by the more exciting prospects such as Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow. If Herbert had entered last year’s draft, he would have almost certainly been a top-five selection, if not higher. Reports of Miami’s interest in Herbert are well-known, and the presence of David Lee and Robby Brown at Herbert’s recent workout only added fuel to the fire. Personally, I would not be shocked if Miami passed on Tagovailoa for Herbert.
Love is likely the most polarizing quarterback prospect in this draft. While he possesses a sky-high ceiling, it appears that the Dolphins would be able to wait until their 18th overall selection to call his name, should they choose to do so. While Love is certainly not a surefire prospect, he has the potential to become a franchise quarterback with his unreal natural ability to throw the football. While his 2019 struggles against rather weak competition are concerning, the Dolphins have been eyeing Love for quite some time. While he is a very raw prospect, Love would be able to sit behind Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2020 and develop his game. I believe that teams’ infatuation with Love comes from the belief that he is the league’s next Patrick Mahomes, an incredibly raw prospect with other-worldly natural ability. Waiting to draft Love would also likely allow the Dolphins to use their fifth overall selection on one of the draft’s premier offensive tackles or bolster their defense with Isaiah Simmons. According to The Beatles, all we need is Love.
Cam Newton and Jameis Winston
While I do not believe that bringing in Newton or Winston would be a wise move, it is certainly an option. The two veterans currently find themselves unemployed after being replaced in their respective homes. The Dolphins have been pegged as frontrunners for both Newton and Winston simply due to the fact that there aren’t many potential landing spots in place. While I believe that Newton or Winston would certainly be an upgrade in talent for Miami’s quarterback room, I do not see much of a long-term benefit in signing one of the two. However, with a wide-open AFC East, I believe that Newton or Winston would give the Dolphins their best chance at a division title in 2020. If the Dolphins decide to speed up their rebuilding process, Newton or Winston could be the answer. For all we know, Winston’s recent LASIK eye surgery transformed him into the league’s best quarterback (kidding, of course).
Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen
Hey, let’s not forget about these two. Realistically, the chances of the Dolphins avoiding the quarterback position is very, very slim but it is certainly worth looking at. In 2019, the quarterback position was not the issue in Miami as Ryan Fitzpatrick was named team MVP after posting one of the greatest seasons for a Dolphins’ quarterback in recent memory. All signs have pointed to Fitzpatrick retaining his starting job in 2020, even if the Dolphins do select Tagovailoa. While he isn’t a long-term answer, the job is still Fitzpatrick’s to lose.
However, could the long-term answer already reside on Miami’s roster?
During last year’s draft, the Dolphins shipped a second-round pick to Arizona in exchange for quarterback Josh Rosen. Rosen, the 10th overall pick in 2018, had a very disappointing season in 2019. The 23-year-old UCLA product got beaten out for the starting job by Fitzpatrick entering the year and struggled mightily when his number was finally called. After head coach Brian Flores publicly announced that Rosen would remain as the team’s starting quarterback following a Week 6 loss to Washington, he was stripped of the job just days later. Yet, Rosen remains incredibly optimistic about his future and the direction of the Dolphins. It would be unfair to say that there isn’t still hope for Rosen as he enters just his third year in the league. Personally, I am very interested to see how Rosen’s game develops after a growth year. While it’s an incredibly dull move for the upcoming season, avoiding a quarterback would certainly punch Miami’s ticket into next year’s Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes.
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Check out my Miami Dolphins’ free agency grades here.