Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s NFL future was thrown into major doubt after he suffered what could have been a career-ending hip injury. But new reports claim that the setback could end up putting him in one of the best possible positions for an NFL quarterback — behind Tom Brady on the New England Patriots.
Tagovailoa suffered a separated hip in his team’s 38-7 win over Mississippi last week, an injury that drew immediate comparisons to another famous career-ender. ESPN’s Jim Nagy reported on Twitter that Tua’s injury was believed to be similar to the one that ended the career of dual-threat Bo Jackson, though later indications on Tua claim that he avoided the worst-case scenario.
Still, the setback for a quarterback who was already surrounded with injury concerns is likely to sink his draft status. While Tagovailoa was once projected at the top of the 2020 board, draft experts now believe he will experience a significant fall. Projections are all over the board at this point, with no clarity likely coming until more is known about his rehab and recovery period. Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports believes he will end up at the bottom of the first round, where the Patriots will pick him as the heir apparent to Brady.
“I still think Tua Tagovailoa goes in the first round. That fifth-year option is just too valuable,” Trapasso wrote. “And it’s aligning for the New England Patriots to have a legitimate chance to pick the Alabama star, even though it’s unclear when he’ll return to football after suffering a serious hip injury.”
There is a chance that Tua could be the Patriots’ starter sooner than expected, in that scenario. As The Inquisitr reported, Brady is set to have his contract void after the end of the season and has already put his Massachusetts home up for sale. When asked about his future with the team, Brady has been unusually cagey, leading to speculation that he may test the open market in search of one big, final contract.
Tua Tagovailoa will be on a partial weight bearing recovery plan for six weeks and will be rehabbing daily in Tuscaloosa, per @LauraRutledge. Then, in three months, he will be able to begin athletic activity again, and by the spring, he is expected to be able to resume throwing.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 19, 2019
It’s not clear yet if Tagovailoa would be ready to play in 2020 under that scenario. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Twitter earlier this week that Tua is on a “partial weight bearing recovery plan” for the next six weeks as he rehabs in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He is on pace to start athletic activity again in three months and to start throwing again by the spring. When he will be ready for contact remains to be seen.