Dolphins want Jaylen Waddle long-term, expect 'another level' from Tua Tagovailoa

The Miami Dolphins plan to keep wide receiver Jaylen Waddle as a long-term asset. File Photo by Larry Marano/UPI
1 of 5 | The Miami Dolphins plan to keep wide receiver Jaylen Waddle as a long-term asset. File Photo by Larry Marano/UPI | License Photo

INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- The Miami Dolphins plan to keep wide receiver Jaylen Waddle for the foreseeable future and believe there is "still another level" of production for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, general manager Chris Grier said Wednesday.

Grier made the comments at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. The Dolphins' general manager is actively involved in negotiations with representatives for Tagovailoa and defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, both of whom are seeking contract extensions. He plans to meet with both parties this week.


"There's no timeline on it," Grier said of the negotiations with Tagovailoa's agents. "At the end of the day, you know how these deals get done. They're complicated deals and [we are] building the team through free agency, as well. So we'll work through it and see if we can get something done."


Tagovalioa is set to play the 2024 season's fifth-year option of his rookie contract, valued at $23.1 million. Grier said the Dolphins are "hopeful" an extension can be finalized this off-season, but he would not expand on the negotiations.

Tagovailoa, 25, was in the NFL MVP conversation throughout the 2023 campaign. He finished the season with a league-high 4,624 yards, while logging career-bests in completion percentage (69.3%) and touchdown passes (29). He also started all 17 games after missing several in 2022 because of concussions.

"He's grown in areas, led the league in passing and did some great things this year, and we all feel there's still another level that he can take it. I think, if you asked him, he would tell you that, too," Grier said.

Grier also commended Tagovailoa for his growth as a leader and building trust and belief with coach Mike McDaniel. He anticipates Tagovailoa being around the team, even if the negotiations lead into training camp.

The Spotrac contract database projected a four-year, $220 million extension for Tagovailoa on Wednesday afternoon. That projected deal, which includes $105 million guaranteed at signing, has an average annual value of $55 million, tying Cincinnati Bengals star Joe Burrow for the most in the NFL.


When asked about a potential franchise-tag designation for Wilkins, Grier said "all options are on the table." Those options also include letting him hit free agency or forging to a lucrative extension. Grier said the Dolphins "were close" on an extension last season, before Wilkins played out the final year of his rookie contract.

Grier also joined several NFL general managers as part of a trend, squashing rumors of a high-profile wide-receiver trade, saying that the Dolphins have no thoughts about trading Jaylen Waddle.

"We want him to be here for a long time," Grier said. "He is a big part of our now and future."

Earlier Wednesday, the Dolphins received the top grade in the NFL Players Association's annual release of team report cards, which rate each NFL team in terms of coaches, ownership, facilities, travel and more. Information was gathered from 1,706 players.

"I was very excited for it," Grier said of the ranking. "Because I know last year we got No. 2 and guys were like, 'How did we not get No. 1?'"

The Washington Commanders were the lowest-rated team in the league, according to the players' union report.

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