So, you want to replace Tua Tagovailoa as the Miami Dolphins’ franchise quarterback? Or maybe you think that idea is ridiculous because the available options aren’t any better. 

Either way, you’ve come to the right place. The Dolphins echoed support for Tua following the team’s collapse, but we’ve seen general managers lie before. 

We’re not saying the Dolphins should replace Tua — in fact, this exercise made this writer believe the Dolphins really can’t at this point. Instead, we’re just going to lay out the potential options because, let’s face it, this will be a discussion point all offseason. 

Dolphins QB Offseason Options 

The NFL Draft Route 

There are somewhere between 10 and 1 million problems with this route. For starters, the Dolphins are picking No. 21 overall. That’s not precisely prime quarterback range. 

Here’s a look at some past QB trade-ups: 

Team Moving Up (QB) Spots Moved Compensation
Panthers (Bryce Young) 9 to 1  2 RD1 picks, 2 RD2 Picks, DJ Moore 
49ers (Trey Lance) 12 to 3  3 RD1 picks, 1 RD4 pick
Bears (Justin Fields)  20 to 11  2 RD1 picks, 1 RD4 and RD5 pick
Jets (Sam Darnold)  6 to 3  1 RD1 pick and 3 RD2 picks
Bills (Josh Allen) 12 to 7 1 RD1 pick and 2 RD2 picks 
Cardinals (Josh Rosen)  15 to 10  1 RD1, RD3, and RD5 pick
Chiefs (Patrick Mahomes) 27 to 10 2 RD1 picks and 1 RD3 pick

Sure, the Dolphins could move up, but the price would be steep, which bleeds into another issue. 

The 2024 QB class isn’t as deep as advertised. Caleb Williams and Drake Maye are fantastic and could change the Dolphins’ franchise, but they’re likely going in the top two picks. 

Jayden Daniels seems to be the consensus QB3, but the Patriots, who pick third, had new HC Jerrod Mayo almost come out and say they’re taking a QB. That doesn’t even get into whether Daniels would be better than Tua in Year 1. 

So, the top three teams need QBs and seem primed to take them. That leaves Miami with QB4, and they’d still likely need to trade up for that player. 

If the Dolphins were resetting, that would be viable. However, the Dolphins are clearly in a Super Bowl window. Anyone not named Williams and Maye probably won’t put up comparable numbers to Tua in Year 1. 

Simply put, this isn’t the class or the time for Miami to draft a new QB1. 

The Star Trade Route 

This is by far the most appealing route in a bubble. Who doesn’t want a star QB? This is also the route that gets brought up the most. A popular question nowadays is, “Who is Mike McDaniel’s Matthew Stafford?” 

All that is awesome in theory, but a Stafford-type option isn’t available. There are no grumblings about any of the star QBs being unhappy or on the market this offseason. 

There seemed like a point last weekend when Dak Prescott’s time in Dallas could be up, but they’re bringing back Mike McCarthy as head coach, making it hard to think Dak won’t return, too. 

There were a lot of trade talks surrounding Kyler Murray this season, but Arizona appears committed to him. It is unclear whether that’s because he’s actually good or because they fell outside the Williams-Maye sweepstakes. Regardless, it seems like he’s off the market. 

Geno Smith is an interesting one. The Seahawks are undergoing a lot of change with Pete Carroll’s retirement. However, outside of just wanting to blow things up, there’s no reasons or indication they’d move Smith this offseason. 

Finding “McDaniel’s Stafford” is an easy thing to say, and it’s undoubtedly an option Miami would consider if given the chance, but this doesn’t seem like the offseason for it. 

The Free Agency Route 

This one is – somehow – the most realistic of the three routes we’ve covered so far. 

The 2024 free-agent QB class is solid relative to previous classes. The crown jewel of this year’s group is Vikings QB Kirk Cousins. Cousins is a controversial player, but there’s no doubt he’s a good QB. 

Cousins’ experience with the Shanahan offense would likely be appealing for the Dolphins. So would his overall consistency. Plus, Cousins has actually gotten better with age. 

With all that said, this route has plenty of issues, too. Right off the bat is the money issue. Cousins would demand a hefty contract, assuming he even gets away from Minnesota in the first place. 

The Dolphins have -42 million in cap space for 2024, according to Spotrac. The cap can be manipulated to a point, but manipulating to fill in a bloated Cousins deal seems like a stretch at best. 

Secondly, Cousins’ health is in question. Cousins tore his Achilles after eight games this season. Although it’s reported he’ll be ready for practice in the Spring, is that someone Miami wants to bet on? 

That doesn’t even consider whether Cousins is a meaningful upgrade over Tua in the first place. Even if Cousins is a slight upgrade, the Dolphins might be better served using their cap magic to fill other spots *cough* offensive line *cough*. 

What about options besides Cousins, you ask? Baker Mayfield, Jimmy Garoppolo and Gardner Minshew could hit the market. Those players hardly seem like meaningful upgrades. There are some old friends, too, like Ryan Tannehill and Jacoby Brissett. Again, it’s hard to see them as upgrades.

The Dolphins have zero money and only one good option. That one good option isn’t likely to hit the market in the first place and isn’t an overwhelming upgrade over Tua. 

The Reclamation Project Route 

Our last and final stop brings us to the island of misfit toys. This category is reserved for players like Justin Fields and … Trey Lance? 

Okay, this group is pretty much centered around Fields. The Bears will likely replace Fields with the No. 1 overall pick this offseason and look to move him at some point. 

Fields has struggled with Chicago, but it’s clear he’s a starting-caliber quarterback with a crazy high ceiling. The issue for Miami is they don’t have time to wait for Fields to become a consistent player. 

Fields is a risk. Undoubtedly, his arm talent and athletic ability are better than Tua’s, but Fields isn’t winning in a way that typically translates to postseason success.

Also, Miami’s scheme is wholly built around Tua’s skillset. It’s a timing-based offense that forces QBs to quickly get the ball out of their hand. 

Among QBs with 100 snaps this season, Fields’ Average Time to Throw ranked last out of 49 qualified passers. Switching the Dolphins’ offense from something that accommodates Tua to something that accommodates Fields in a single offseason feels almost impossible. 

No half-measures will work, either. Fields is too unique of a player to make him something he isn’t. We’ve seen the Bears bang their head against that wall for three years. 

Would the Dolphins benefit from getting Fields into the building? I mean, maybe? He’s got a lot of untapped potential, but wasting a mid-round pick on a backup QB who doesn’t fit your system in a Super Bowl window seems suboptimal. 


The Dolphins should keep their eyes on the QB market this offseason. This is true for most NFL teams, by the way. 

While it’s a legitimate argument to want to replace Tua, this just doesn’t seem like the offseason to do it. All of the “realistic” options have huge roadblocks. 

The draft would require a considerable trade-up and is a crapshoot. The QB trade market is barren with legitimate options. The free agent market has one — depending on how you view Cousins — but the Dolphins have no money and other roster holes.

The unfortunate truth is this is what QB purgatory looks like. It feels paralyzing. You’re so invested in one player and have a strong roster it feels ridiculous to blow it all up. But you also know upgrades might be out there —  somewhere. 

The best thing the Dolphins have going is they could wait another season. Tua is signed on the fifth-year option for next year. If 2024 is another year without postseason success, the Dolphins could move into a “re-tooling” mode without Tua. 

If Tua takes that all-elusive next step, Miami would be primed to get him an extension.   

The offseason will be filled with QB talk. Many will complain about Tua, but he’s still a good NFL QB. Tossing him away just for the sake of it isn’t wise. Still, without meaningful improvement this season, it’s hard to argue against looking elsewhere.

But given what’s out there and what the Dolphins already have in place, it’s hard to imagine Tua won’t be behind center in 2024.