CBS NFL Insider Jonathan Jones is reporting that Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has been mostly absent from Dolphins activities thus far this offseason as the Miami quarterback looks for a new contract.

Jones is reporting that Tagovailoa has skipped most voluntary OTAs over the past month as the team prepares for him to play on the fifth-year option.

Per Jones, “The Miami Dolphins will begin team drills on Monday as part of their voluntary organized team activities, and it’s unclear whether starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will be a part of them.

Tagovailoa has been absent for the large majority of voluntary offseason work since the Dolphins reported back April 15, sources close to the situation told CBS Sports. That is in stark contrast to his first four seasons in the league, when Tagovailoa was present for most of the voluntary work.

Sources believe his absence is related to his contract status. Tagovailoa, the fifth overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, is currently set to play the 2024 season on his fifth-year option, worth $23.171 million. The Alabama alumnus has hoped for a long-term contract extension with the Dolphins, but one has not materialized to date.”

There has been much debate this offseason amongst fans and those in the media if Miami should sign Tua to a long-term extension or let him play out his 5th year option and address an extension next offseason after the 2024 season.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported a few months back a new contract wasn’t expected to be signed until the summer months and possibly not until June or July. But there have been reports of late from numerous outlets that the Dolphins and Tua are far apart on a contract and the sides are not close to a deal.

By not attending offseason workouts (most of which are voluntary), Tua is sending a message to the organization that he wants this matter resolved and to be paid what he feels he should be paid.

It is never a good look for a team’s starting quarterback (who is viewed as the team’s leader) not to be present at offseason workouts, especially when he isn’t there due to a contract dispute.

Earlier this week, Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff signed a four-year $212 million contract with over $170 million guaranteed. It has been reported that Tua wants a contract that is close to equal to or more than that.

The Miami Dolphins are in a tricky situation. While Tua led the NFL in passing yardage last season and started every game, there is still considerable concern about his long-term health and his ability to play a full season and/or stay healthy consistently moving forward. Tua suffered numerous injuries while at Alabama that had him miss games, and of course, before this past season, he suffered multiple concussions, broken ribs, and injured his hand/finger, which cost him to miss games early on in his Miami career.

What Tua and his agents have on their side, though, is that they feel like he was wronged in that Miami since selecting Tua has tried to replace him three times. Once, in trying to trade for Deshaun Watson, which Miami was very open and public about, and then they were caught tampering for Tom Brady not once but twice.

Any notion that Tua and his representation will give Miami a “hometown discount” or “take a little less” and play ball with the organization is very naive. Tua is looking to cash in on what will be life-changing money and the biggest contract of his professional career, and he is doing so with an organization that has tried to replace him multiple times. So, he will want a lot of money and security with this deal.

Chris Grier and the Dolphins would like to sign Tua to a new deal as soon as possible to give them some salary cap flexibility for this season, as a new deal would reduce his 2024 salary cap number.

The Dolphins do not open training camp until late July, so it will be interesting to see if Tua shows up for any OTAs between now and then.

In recent years, we have seen Christian Wilkins and Xavien Howard do “sit-ins” during Training Camp. As per the CBA, if they hold out and do not show, the fines they receive are heavy, and there is no loophole to get out of paying them. So they have shown up and participated in the exercise drills and “light work” before going to the sideline and not participating in any drills where there is even minimal contact.

It is different with a quarterback, though. As quarterbacks are not touched in any drills, so would Tua hold a “sit-in” during training camp? I would think it would be unlikely but if he and his agents are playing hardball to get this contract completed now, anything is possible.

More on this story as it develops.