Miami Dolphins Projections: What to Expect From Year 3 of Tua Tagovailoa

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Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins. Silas Walker/Getty Images/AFP

The Miami Dolphins will enter 2022 with a fresh head coach in Mike McDaniel after parting ways with Brian Flores back in January following his third season with the franchise. And while they may have a new coaching staff, they plan to keep the same quarterback at the helm: Tua Tagovailoa. 

“I’m really excited moving forward because the guy has some skills that I think are untapped,” he said McDaniel said on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” shortly after his hire. “I think it’s important that you empower the quarterback with the rest of the players around him and the scheme you bring forth. So, I think his best days are in front of him. And that’s a really cool piece of the process to be part of as a coach.” 

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The then-23-year-old finished the 2021 season completing 67.8% of his passes for 2,653 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions with a 90.1 passer rating through 13 games. Those numbers are quite impressive for someone who had the least time to throw to his targets out of any quarterback in the league last year. Not to mention [he and] his top targets dealt with various injuries. 

Now 24, Tagovailoa will enter the third season of his rookie contract next season, and with the team’s early offseason moves to help their young quarterback, you can fully expect Tagovailoa to progress in 2022

Tua Gets a Shiny New Weapon 

To fire up their lackluster run game, the Dolphins went and signed ​​a pair of elite running backs, Raheem Mostert and hybrid Chase Edmonds, during free agency. But those two moves were just half of the fun. 

The biggest boost came when the team traded the Chiefs’ lethal wide receiver, Tyreek Hill. Miami acquired Hill from the KC in exchange for a first-round pick, second-round pick, and fourth-round pick in 2022 and a fourth-round pick and sixth-round pick in 2023.

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Hill joins the Dolphins after spending his entire career with the Chiefs where he was a six-time Pro Bowl selection, named first-team All-Pro three times, and helped KC win Super Bowl LIV. 

Since being selected in the fifth round of the 2016 draft, he has recorded 6,630 yards receiving, which ranks fifth on the Chiefs’ all-time list while his 56 touchdowns and 479 receptions rank fourth.

With the addition of Hill, mixed with dual-threat running back Chase Edmonds and tight end Mike Gesicki, you can expect Tagovailoa to log well over 20 touchdowns next season

Dolphins Boost Offensive Line for Tua 

The Dolphins’ offensive line surrendered 235 total pressures in 2021, the most in the league, per PFF. But aside from the signing of shiny new weapons for Tua, the Dolphins addressed their offensive line needs and inked four-time Pro Bowl left tackle, Terron Armstead, to a five-year deal in March. 

Armstead, who will enter his tenth season, has spent most of his career protecting the blindside of Hall of Famer Drew Brees, which speaks for itself. 

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The Dolphins also signed left guard Connor Williams in free agency, marking another boost to their weak link. Williams comes to Miami after allowing only 1 sack in 569 pass-blocking snaps and just 13 total pressures last year.

Armstead and Williams should be the missing keys that solidify their offensive unit that optimize Tagovailoa’s arm and give him more time to throw downfield to his endless targets. 

With several “win-now” offseason moves, expect to see Miami in the playoffs for the first time since 2016.