Tagovailoa (hip) passed a physical exam Wednesday and will practice without limitations once the Dolphins begin training camp, Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com reports.
The No. 5 overall pick enjoyed a smooth rehab process after undergoing surgery to address the hip dislocation he suffered Nov. 16 during his junior season at Alabama. The spring rumor mill suggested Tagovailoa might essentially redshirt his rookie year with the Dolphins, but it now seems he'll see the field at some point in 2020. It's less clear exactly when that will happen, with the cancellation of offseason programs and preseason games making it difficult for the rookie to unseat Ryan Fitzpatrick before Week 1. The Dolphins likely will open the season with the 37-year-old handling snaps, but they should turn to Tagovailoa if or when Fitzpatrick struggles, or if the team falls out of playoff contention.
Tagovailoa (hip) began working out at the Dolphins' team facility Monday, Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.
Now that the young quarterback is able to continue his injury recovery and training at Miami's facility, team doctors and trainers will be able to more accurately assess Tagovailoa's progress. According to his physical therapist, Kevin Wilk, Tagovailoa has been "doing miraculously well" in his rehab, to the point that he sometimes needs to be encouraged to slow things down. A timeline for when Dolphins players are able to take the field together remains unknown, but when that happens, Tagovailoa should be out there in some capacity, and at that point, a better sense of how close he is to being ready for game action will become more apparent. With veteran signal-caller Ryan Fitzpatrick also in the mix, there's no compelling reason to rush Tagovailoa, especially considering the uniqueness of this offseason. That said, as a top-five draft pick, the Alabama product is destined to eventually become the team's starter after he's deemed healthy and demonstrates his command of the offense.
Tagovailoa signed his rookie contract with the Dolphins on Monday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
The No. 5 overall selection of the 2020 NFL Draft, Tagovailoa is now officially under contract in Miami for at least the next four years, with a fifth-year option built in. His deal is worth a guaranteed $30.3 million with a signing bonus of $19.6 million. The former Alabama star's outstanding accuracy and decision making, in addition to his tangible athleticism, will lend him difference-making upside under center when healthy. However, having undergone procedures on a dislocated hip and both ankles in college, it remains to be seen whether Tagovailoa will return to pre-surgery form by Week 1. In the event that any questions about the rookie's development or recovery linger into the regular season, he'll have the benefit of learning behind an experienced quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The Dolphins selected Tagovailoa in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, fifth overall.
Tagovailoa was arguably the most polarizing player in this year's draft. The Alabama product might have been the first overall pick if not for his lengthy and concerning injury history that includes surgeries on both ankles as well as a serious hip injury suffered in November. Much has been made of his recovery from the hip injury, but as evidenced by the selection here, the Dolphins are confident that he will be their quarterback of the future. When healthy, Tagovailoa is a difference-maker at quarterback. He has remarkable anticipation and accuracy and has enough mobility to make plays outside the pocket. Some may question whether his gaudy production would have been the same if he didn't have an NFL-caliber receiving corps at his disposal, but the film shows that he wasn't simply propped up by the talent around him. The next question is whether Miami plans to "redshirt" him in 2020 to let him fully recover and learn behind Ryan Fitzpatrick or get him behind center right away.