If Tua Tagovailoa had his way, he’d be playing for America’s Team this fall.
“If you’re saying to me, if I can choose what team I want to play on, as far as my favorite team growing up, then I probably tell you the Cowboys,” Tagovailoa told NFL Network.
The 21-year-old Hawaii native had been a contender for the No. 1 pick of the 2020 NFL Draft before suffering a season-ending hip injury on Nov. 16 against Mississippi. The injury was devastating to the Crimson Tide, who missed the playoffs for the first time in six years, as well as to his blue-chip prospect status.
“We’ve looked at teams, we’ve talked about teams, we’ve talked to teams,” Tagovailoa said. “Somebody might trade up and you could possibly drop or you could possibly go higher. We’ve been talking about all those scenarios.”
A scenario that would send Tagovailoa to Dallas seems unlikely. The Cowboys select 17th in this year’s draft behind a number of quarterback-needy teams. They also already already have a franchise quarterback on their roster: Dak Prescott, who is due for a hefty raise this offseason. The Cowboys will have to either apply the $27 million franchise tag to Prescott or sign the 2016 fourth-round pick to a long-term contract.
Prescott has been one of the lowest-paid starting quarterbacks since taking over for injured Tony Romo. His 2019 salary was just above $2 million, a significant jump from his previous three-year average of $540,000 and he stands to earn well over $30 million on the open market this offseason.
Regardless of how Prescott’s contract plays out, Tagovailoa says he doesn’t mind playing the understudy while he regains his strength.
“I’m not trying to bump [Prescott] — I’ll learn under him,” Tagovailoa said. “I’d handle it the way that the coaches there want to handle it. Honestly, I just want to be able play again. I wouldn’t mind learning under whatever guy that’s the starter. Give me a whole year to rest up and then go back out and compete, but I just want to go back out and play.”
Tagovailoa plans to participate in quarterback workouts at the NFL Combine, which are set to take place on Feb. 27.