Many were surprised when the Miami Dolphins named Tua Tagovailoa their starting quarterback, as veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick had played well for the team dating back to last season. However, the decision is one that Fitzpatrick clearly should not take personally.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the picks the Dolphins have in next year’s NFL Draft were a significant factor in the decision to hand the starting QB job over to Tagovailoa. Miami has the Texans’ first- and second-round picks in the 2021 Draft from when they traded Pro Bowl offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil to Houston last year. Because they are so well positioned, they want to get a feel for whether or not Tagovailoa has what it takes to be a franchise quarterback.
The Texans are 1-6 entering Week 8. They could wind up having one of the top picks in next year’s draft. Miami, at 3-3, might also have a fairly high pick. In theory, the Dolphins could use one of those picks or combine them to trade up in the draft to select a top quarterback. If Tagovailoa plays well this year, they won’t have to think about doing that and can focus on other areas.
Fitzpatrick was understandably crushed when the Dolphins benched him, but all indications are he is still being a great teammate. The 37-year-old knew he was only a placeholder for Tagovailoa, even if he didn’t expect the change to be made this soon.