Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero, as he so often does, penned a thorough report on the internal evaluation of Tua Tagovailoa within the Dolphins organization. Among the standout elements were quotes from anonymous players questioning whether Tagovailoa is going to be elite in the future and their belief that Ryan Fitzpatrick shouldn't have lost his job in the first place. However, it was this excerpt that stood out most to me.
One defensive player said he isn't impressed with Tagovailoa's ball velocity or arm strength or ability to make off-schedule plays with his legs. So he ultimately questions whether Tagovailoa will ever be able to match the feats of other quarterbacks in the AFC such as Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson.
It's shortsighted to openly question Tagovailoa's ability to be as good, if not better, than that trio. You're talking about three of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, one of whom is considered the best by a pretty wide margin. Comparing a rookie to those three and wondering aloud whether he'll be able to match their production and ability is an impossible task and setting yourself up for failure. However, it was the first part that stood out to me, especially considering if this player doesn't like Tua, he's killing his trade value in saying so.
By telling the world Tua doesn't have great ball velocity OR arm strength OR the ability to make improvisational plays based on your experience from practicing against him, you aren't going to really perk the interest in a team looking to trade for a developing quarterback. In the same story, those unnamed players also said they were so "unimpressed" by Tagovailoa in training camp that they didn't think he would be ready to play in 2020.
That viewpoint is scathing and won't do the Dolphins any favors.
Imagine, for a second, you're the Texans and are considering trading disgruntled quarterback Deshaun Watson to the Dolphins for Tagovailoa and several picks. How do you think this assessment from a teammate of Tagovailoa's is going to make you feel? I can't imagine it would instill much confidence from the Texans' perspective in wanting to trade for Tagovailoa.
In fairness, we do not know whether players will be on Miami's roster next year or not because they're anonymous. But if their goal is to get a new quarterback in the building, then they're not helping their cause by belittling Tagovailoa to the press. In fact, they're doing the opposite. Perhaps their motivations lie elsewhere, but what other reason would they have for taking their gripes public?
It's always off-putting when players criticize their teammates behind the curtain of anonymity, but usually there's at least a purpose behind it. We don't know what the purpose was for this outcry, but if it was to encourage the Dolphins to move on from Tagovailoa less than a year after drafting him with the No. 5 pick, they've done themselves no favors. All they've done is undercut any trade leverage their team had in the first place.