McDaniel: Tua Tagovailoa's been here, not here in offseason

MIAMI -- Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel confirmed Tuesday that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa missed some but not all of the team's offseason program over the past month.

Tagovailoa is entering the final year of his rookie contract and has engaged in negotiations with the team on a long-term extension. McDaniel did not confirm whether Tagovailoa's absence was contract-related but said he was comfortable with the level of communication between both sides.

"He has been here for offseason activities, he has not been here for offseason activities," McDaniel said. "He has been both, and I think important in the player-coach relationship is communication. I think however things play out, as long as we're communicating and we're on our P's and Q's on what we need to get accomplished, then we have a fighting chance.

"It's been a good exercise in our relationship this offseason."

Tagovailoa was not present at Miami's OTA practice Tuesday, for what McDaniel described as a previously cleared absence. A team source said Tagovailoa had committed to attending former Alabama coach and current ESPN analyst Nick Saban's charity golf tournament.

He was in attendance for Monday's practice.

McDaniel did not comment on the status of Tagovailoa's contract negotiations, saying he preferred not to discuss contract matters with his players.

"I don't want any of that burden in my life," he said. "I'm an asset. What's great about the orchestration of our organization, I think it's important that the player-coach relationship is put on a pedestal where you don't tinker with that. My job is to get him better. His job is to communicate with me how I'm doing in that process, and I think we're in a safe zone where when he's talking to me about my expertise and not about stuff that is not my expertise.

"So, we try to stay true to that, and that's paid us dividends this offseason."

Tagovailoa led the NFL in passing yards in 2024, setting career highs in yards, touchdowns and games played; he played in all 18 games for the Dolphins last season, the first time he played a full season in his four-year career.

After going through three offensive coordinators and two quarterbacks coaches in his first two seasons with Miami, Tagovailoa has flourished within the continuity of his past two seasons under McDaniel.

The Dolphins have employed the same core offensive coaching staff since 2022, and Tagovailoa has thrown for the fourth-most passing yards (8,172) and fifth-most touchdowns (54) in the NFL during that span.