AP Photo/Julio Cortez
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is free to negotiate with other teams after receiving the non-exclusive franchise tag on Tuesday, but one organization reportedly has already taken itself out of the running for the former NFL MVP.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington, the Dolphins don’t intend to pursue Jackson and will stick with Tua Tagovailoa in 2023.
Jeff Darlington @JeffDarlington
The Dolphins will not be pursuing Lamar Jackson or any other starting QBs this off-season, multiple team sources tell me. As one source said, “Mike fully believes Tua is the perfect fit for his system.”
Tagovailoa is entering his fourth year in the NFL and coming off a 2022 season in which he led the NFL with a 105.5 passer rating. Just last week, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel said the team was still evaluating things in order to decide whether to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal, which would be worth $23.2 million for the 2024 season.
Miami has until May 1 to make a decision and seems to be taking its time, but it now sounds like that the team remains committed to Tagovailoa going forward. The 25-year-old also set career highs in passing yards (3,548) and passing touchdowns (25) last season, indicating that his best days are ahead of him.
However, Tagovailoa’s year was mired by two concussions that forced him to miss five games, including the Dolphins’ playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card Round. He also missed four games in 2021 due to fractured ribs.
Still, the uncertainty surrounding Jackson makes it understandable that the Dolphins would want to commit to Tagovailoa. The Ravens have the right to match any offer Jackson receives, so Miami would run the risk of upsetting its incumbent starter if it makes an offer that ultimately doesn’t land Jackson. Sticking with Tagovailoa gives the Dolphins the continuity they need to make a playoff run in 2023.