Mike Florio says he thinks there's 'a good chance' Tua Tagovailoa isn't in NFL next season

By , Audacy Sports

As he remains in concussion protocol, Tua Tagovailoa will not suit up for what would have been the first playoff game of his career this Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.

It's unclear whether the third-year quarterback would be able to return if the Miami Dolphins advance to the AFC Divisional Round, but given that the Bills are now 13-point favorites this weekend, it will likely be a moot point.

What happens from there is unclear. Presumably -- although nothing should be taken for granted with Stephen Ross as owner -- general manager Chris Grier and head coach Mike McDaniel will return after helping the Dolphins to reach the postseason for the first time since 2016.

But what about Tua?

This offseason, the Dolphins will have to decide whether to pick up the former No. 5 overall pick's fifth-year option. Not only does Mike Florio not think that will happen, but on Thursday's edition of "PFT Live" he took things about 10 steps further when discussing Tagovailoa's future:

"There's going to be a collective or coincidental decision made by all of the teams that we can't have this guy in the NFL anymore. Because when he plays, we have to hold our breath and sit on the edge of our seat that he's going to have a concussion, and that's gonna lead the morning shows on ABC, CBS and NBC the next day. We don't want that kind of attention on our sport, and we don't want parents out there fretting about not letting their kids play. And I think that's the real analysis, unspoken, by the team. They're not gonna come out and say this is why they did it, they're gonna say that this is in the best interests of Tua. I think they are thinking in their own best interests.

"That's why I think -- we've kind of worked this through -- I don't think he's gonna be on the Dolphins next year, and I think there's a good chance he's not gonna be on any team next year."

Whether you're a card-carrying member of "Tuanon" or think he's more like a middle-of-the-pack quarterback, most would agree that Tagovailoa played well enough in 2022 to return as Miami's starter next season. In parts of 13 games, Tagovailoa tossed 25 touchdowns to eight interceptions, racking up 3,548 passing yards as he quickly grasped McDaniels' offensive system and built great chemistry with both Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.

The problem is, Tagovailoa has had at least two documented concussions this season, and many believe that the real number is actually three. There is a public relations element to this that Florio touched on. There's also the fact that the Dolphins have a good enough roster to make a deep playoff run with the right quarterback. Perhaps a healthy Tagovailoa is the right quarterback, but if you can't bank on him staying healthy -- and he has a lengthy injury history that dates back to his college career at Alabama -- the Dolphins may choose to pivot this offseason to another quarterback. Tom Brady and Derek Carr are among the accomplished veterans who could be available this offseason.

Tagovailoa does have one final guaranteed year in his rookie contract in 2023, and perhaps the Dolphins will formulate a plan that attempts to keep the lefty healthier next season. But one would think they'll at least consider alternatives, and it would be naive to think that the elements Florio mentioned couldn't play a factor.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: USA Today