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As more quarterbacks get paid, Tua Tagovailoa waits

Tua Tagovailoa recently pointed out that “the market is the market.” As he keeps waiting for a new contract, the market keeps changing.

The increases, driven most recently by Jared Goff ($53 million) and Trevor Lawrence ($55 million), justify Tua’s effort to get more. Still, the Dolphins might not care.

The team has to decide how much it will pay Tua, and whether they think they can find someone else who will be a better value than whatever Tua wants.

Ultimately, the Dolphins will make their last, best offer to Tua. He’ll have to decide whether to take it, or whether to play for $23.1 million in 2024. With the possibility of the franchise tag being used in 2025.

And so, while the market is the market, not every quarterback is the same. For Tua, the question is whether his statistical success is about him or the players around him, or the team’s coaching staff. Which is a fair question, because the Dolphins could be a better team by spending less on a quarterback who would be as good or better than Tua, in coach Mike McDaniel’s offense.

While it’s fairly obvious to say this, it’s also accurate — this thing could go either way. It’s hard to imagine it going the way of Tua matching or beating $55 million per year.

Unless the Dolphins prioritize the fans/customers who want Tua to stick around. Even if it makes it harder to win the franchise’s first Super Bowl in 50 years.

That’s not to say he doesn’t deserve a new contract. Pegging the value is the challenge. Not every quarterback who is up for a new deal automatically deserves to be among the highest paid in the game.

In this specific case, the Dolphins might have an absolute maximum that falls far short of what Tua wants. Which means he’ll have to decide whether to take the bird in the hand, or to make far less than his actual value as he waits for the two in the bush.