Tua Tagovailoa long-term contract option: 5 things Dolphins GM Chris Grier said at NFL Scouting Combine

Joe Schad
Palm Beach Post

INDIANAPOLIS — Dolphins general manager Chris Grier opened up about Tua Tagovailoa, Christian Wilkins, Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, Robert Hunt and more in a meeting Wednsday with local reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Without a first-rounder, the Dolphins do have three picks in the top 85, including one in the second round and two in the third round.

Miami could use those three picks to choose players at either running back, cornerback, tight end or linebacker.

But even more important to Grier and the Dolphins will be a decision on Tagavailoa's fifth-year option as well as a consideration about an even longer-term extension.

Here are five big topics Grier addressed Wednesday:

Tua Tagovailoa long-term contract extension option

Grier did not dismiss the idea that Tagovailoa could receive either the fifth-year option and/or a long-term contract extension prior to next season.

Wait — a long-term contract possibility?

"Yeah, I think all options like we said, we'll go through it here wanting to spend a lot of time here," Grier said. "And that's a good thing is like we don't, we're not rushed. And so we'll be in touch with Tua's representatives and Mike (McDaniel) and I and Brandon (Shore) will sit and Steven (Ross) will make a push for things and we'll talk, we'll see where they stand. Very excited for him. The strides he made this year with Mike and the offense. I mean, you guys have been here, have seen it. It was really exciting."

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Grier did not dismiss that durability is a factor and a concern in these decisions.

"I can't lie and say no," Grier said. "But it's not something to where it's going to make us afraid to do something long-term. So you know, the one thing he's had, he's been banged up. But he always comes back and bounces back and plays hard and performs so excited for his future."

Christian Wilkins extension is a priority

Grier said he wants Wilkins in the organization for years to come.

"Christian, ever since we drafted him has not gotten done nothing but get better each year," Grier said. "He is a tireless worker. He's in every day still in the offseason, I've seen him around more than anyone. And so he loves the game. He loves our organization. We love him. We'd like to have him here for a long time. In terms of conversations with agents, you know, you don't really talk publicly about it. But we would like to have him here longer."

Wilkins was the first pick of Miami's dramatic rebuild.

Wilkins' market value, according to Spotrac, is about four years, $61.3 million, or $15.3 million per season.

This is in the range of Emmanuel Ogbah's current deal, which is four years, $65.4 million, or $16.4 million per season.

Miami Dolphins General Manager Chris Grier looks on as Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins (94) celebrates beating the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, January 8, 2023, in Miami Gardens, FL.

Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson may return

The Dolphins don't have any running backs under contract at the moment. But Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson are both scheme fits and ideal free agents to return to the Dolphins.

"Very open to those guys coming back," Grier said. "We've talked about that scenario where they may be back, you know, may have the same backfield back next year. Obviously, they're free agents, and that will play a part of it, but we would be very excited to have them back."

Could Grier use a second- or third-round pick on a running back?

Well, Grier did once use a third-round pick on Kenyan Drake of Alabama and that worked out quite well.

"Yeah, I think if there was a really good player, with an opportunity to get a really good player, we can't pass up anything right now," Grier said. "So we need some depth some spots and then running back obviously, with no one under contract on the roster right now, running back would be one and, and there's some good players in this draft. So you know, we'll always keep looking and you guys know how Mike (McDaniel) loves his running backs."

Dolphins like Robert Hunt at guard

Hunt was a good pick by Grier and he's shown he can play both guard and tackle.

But it sounds like the Dolphins still prefer Hunt at right guard.

"Yeah, that's the great thing about Rob, is he can play both and excel," Grier said. "I think where he is at guard is, you know, he has a potential to be a special player at guard. And I think he has a chance to play tackle. He's done it multiple times. So his versatility and position flexibility, as well as Rob Jones, all those guys, you know, across the line, Connor (Williams) can play guard and center, Liam (Eichenberg) could play tackle if you had to."

Grier indicated that Miami likes Terron Armstead-Eichenberg-Williams-Hunt-Austin Jackson, with Rob Jones and Lester Cotton in the mix as well. So while it seems like the Dolphins could sign or draft another player to compete at left guard or right tackle, it's not an immense priority.

Marcus Mariota or Carson Wentz to back up Tua?

The Dolphins don't feel they necessarily need a mentor for Tua in 2023.

But adding a veteran quarterback with pedigree still makes a lot of sense, especially considering Tua's health history.

FILE - Atlanta Falcons quarterbacks Marcus Mariota (1) and Desmond Ridder (4) prepare before a preseason NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. The Atlanta Falcons released quarterback Marcus Mariota on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, in a move that was expected after the veteran was benched late in the 2022 season.The Falcons were 5-8 with Mariota as the starter before rookie Desmond Ridder started the final four games, winning two. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, FILE)

Could Mariota or Wentz make sense?

"Yeah, we've had some preliminary talks, Mike (McDaniel) and I just about the guy that come in and to be the right guy to fit for this offense and what we're doing so yeah, every player's on the table," Grier said. "We'll talk about every one of them. We've talked about a couple of them already, but we'll keep turning it over and try and find the right guy to come in. No, and I said the good thing is, I think, you know, a lot of people want to come in, they see the excitement of the offensive what Mike's done, you know, I know the Heisman winner (Caleb Williams) made some noise with his tweet about wanting to play for Miami and which is always pretty cool because they see what you know what Mike's done, in his coaching staff have done offensively for us."

Joe Schad is a journalist covering the Miami Dolphins and the NFL at The Palm Beach Post. You can reach him at and follow him on Instagram and Twitter @schadjoe. Sign up for Joe's free weekly Dolphins Pulse Newsletter. Help support our work by subscribing today.