Last week, after the NFL found that the Dolphins had rampantly tampered with Sean Payton and Tom Brady, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa expressed (or maybe feigned) ignorance as to the fact that the team tried to get Brady not just before Tua arrived, but after.
On Wednesday, the issue came up again. And Tua continued to insist that the effort to get Brady happened before the Dolphins drafted Tagovailoa.
“I think they were doing that in 2019, but then I came in 2020,” Tua said Wednesday. “I mean, they picked me.”
Wednesday’s back and forth included an effort to get Tua to realize that the Dolphins tried to do it even after picking him.
“Yeah, I mean, I’m still here,” Tagovailoa said. “To me, that’s all noise at this point.”
It may be noise, but it’s also one of the express findings the NFL made nine days ago, when announcing the punishments imposed on the Dolphins for tampering with Payton and Brady. Here’s the exact quote from the release: “The Dolphins again had impermissible communications with both Mr. Brady and his agent during and after the 2021 season, while he was under contract to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Those discussions began no later than early December 2021 and focused on Mr. Brady becoming a limited partner in the Dolphins and possibly serving as a football executive, although at times they also included the possibility of his playing for the Dolphins.” (Emphasis added.)
Maybe Tua knows the truth and he’s pushing alternative facts as a defense mechanism. Or maybe he simply doesn’t realize that the Dolphins did indeed try to get Brady during and after the 2021 season — after they abandoned their quest to get Deshaun Watson.
And it’s definitely an issue. Tua, we’d heard from multiple source last year, was not happy with the Deshaun dalliance. Tagovailoa, as we were told last year, declined to serve as a team captain because of the persistent sense at the outset of the season that a trade for Deshaun Watson was imminent, and that Tua couldn’t and wouldn’t serve a the captain of a team that didn’t want him.
Although Brady’s arrive isn’t imminent (indeed, it now may never happen at all), the situation underscores something receiver Tyreek Hill said earlier this summer. “You know, in the NFL they only give you like two or three years to be a successful quarterback, especially if you’re a first-round draft pick,” Hill declared on his podcast. “And if you don’t succeed after those years, then it’s kick rocks, man. So, basically, they’re going to put Tua into that. So this is basically his last year, man, just to show people what he’s got.”
Deshaun Watson. Tom Brady. Lamar Jackson. Whoever. If the current starter doesn’t get it done in 2022, the next quarterback of the Dolphins will be someone other than Tua Tagovailoa.