Entering the 2019-20 season, the Miami Dolphins were among a crop of teams that had one clear goal: to do whatever it took to be the team that snagged Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Everything else was secondary.
Come hell or high water, the Dolphins — in such an obvious manner it became controversial — were gonna smash the reset button in a way few teams had ever done before. Tagovailoa was the most coveted QB then, and nine months later, he'll likely still be that player even after a hip injury ended his college season.
The Dolphins traded Ryan Tannehill to the Tennessee Titans, Laremy Tunsil to the Houston Texans, Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Kenyan Drake to the Arizona Cardinals — all for additional draft picks in this upcoming draft and the next. The thinking was that, best-case scenario, they'd be able to nab Tagovailoa with the highest pick and then build a team around their franchise quarterback. Worst-case scenario, they'd have to spend some of their additional assets on moving up in the draft to get him.
Matt nailed it. The amount of people mocking Tua lower than 3 are crazy. And I've also said it's most likely Miami who will trade up. https://t.co/7RWOYqIlBy— Karl Safchick (me) (@KarlSafchick) January 16, 2020
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But after a surprising surge to close the season with a 5-11 record, the Dolphins are officially in need of the nuclear option: trading whatever draft choices to ensure they secure the Tua bag. They've come this far — they might as well go all in.
When the Dolphins signed Ryan Fitzpatrick to be their quarterback in the last offseason, they must have expected lots of "Fitzmagic" and interception-filled losses, but also a few very unexplainable wins that would cost the franchise a few slots in the draft. Fitzpatrick was better than expected in his first season with the Fins — notably beating the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots — and now the Dolphins are behind four other teams in the draft.
Thankfully, the Dolphins are prepared for this scenario. They have six picks in the first 70 selections of the draft and extra picks in the draft next season. Tagovailoa can be theirs if they want him, and they should, because even after that hip injury, he's still the best quarterback in the draft.
Now that he's there for the taking, they can't look back, no matter the cost. They owe it to the fans who sat back and wasted a year of their lives watching Dolphins games with "Please Excuse Our Dust" signs hanging around the players' necks. And they owe it to themselves not to regret spending an entire season going after something only to decide the risk and the price was too steep to pay once all of the work was done.