It always seemed like Tua Tagovailoa was going to be the Miami Dolphins’ starting quarterback at the start of the 2021 season. It wasn’t as clear whether Mac Jones would immediately have that opportunity with the New England Patriots.

Tagovailoa is entering his second NFL season, and although he had some growing pains as a rookie, he’s the top QB for the Dolphins, who took him with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. They’re not going to give up on him easily.

As for Jones, he was picked by the Patriots with the No. 15 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. He was battling for the starting job with veteran Cam Newton, and on Tuesday, it was announced that Jones had beat out the former NFL MVP as Newton then got released.

That sets up an intriguing Week 1 matchup in Foxborough, Mass. — Tagovailoa’s Dolphins traveling to take on Jones’ Patriots in a battle between a pair of former Alabama quarterbacks.

On Wednesday, Tagovailoa discussed his upcoming meeting with Jones, his former Crimson Tide teammate from 2017-19.

“I think it’s going to be competitive,” Tagovailoa told the media. “Just knowing Mac Jones since I got there — we got in at the same time at Alabama — he’s a very competitive guy, very smart. Athletic. He’s instinctive and I know he’s going to do all he can to get his guys ready.”

Tagovailoa said he hasn’t had an opportunity to talk to Jones this week, but he used his press conference as an opportunity to send a message.

“If he’s going to watch this sometime or this is going to be running on ESPN — Good luck, Mac,” Tagovailoa said.

This could be the first of many meetings between Tagovailoa and Jones, considering they’re now AFC East rivals. The teams will play again to end the regular season in Miami in Week 18.

The Dolphins and Patriots are set to open the season on Sept. 12 at 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS.