The Miami Dolphins will have a decision to make on Ryan Tannehill this off-season. Let him play out the 2015 season without a contract in 2016 or exercise the 5th year option for 2016 and pay him like a top free agent at his position. Tannehill will receive the amount that will be given to QB’s on the transition tag level. Regardless of what that might be it will be a huge increase in salary for the young quarterback.
The Dolphins already will be looking at high salaries for Mike Wallace and Branden Albert along with a guarantee of over $7 million for Mike Pouncey should the team not sign him to an extension. The question however is whether or not Ryan Tannehill is worth that kind of money. The answer is no and he shouldn’t have that option exercised.
Now hear me out for a second. I like Tannehill and I think he can do a lot of things right that will help this team win down the road. I do believe that the Dolphins with the right coaching can go to the Super Bowl with Tannehill managing the offense but let’s be real here. He is not in the same league as Andrew Luck and Luck will most assuredly have his option picked up by the Colts. So what do the Dolphins do? Simple, they negotiate a team friendly long term deal that is good for both Tannehill and the Dolphins.
Right now Ryan Tannehill’s stock is low which means he won’t command a huge salary on a new deal. The Dolphins could easily work out a deal that looks good on paper but is tied to performance bonuses, roster bonuses, and even playing time. With escalators tied to his contract Tannehill could see an increase from playoff performances, Super Bowls, or Pro-Bowl’s. This type of contract would put the pressure on Tannehill to out perform his contract and put the Dolphins in a position to lock up a young player with only a little risk.
The question is whether Tannehill will buy into this type of deal.
If I were Tannehill it would be a contract that would be hard to pass up but also a tough pill to swallow. A strong 2015 performance by Tannehill would increase his free agent stock but the Dolphins would likely slap the franchise tag on him if he warranted that type of jump in production. If Tannehill performs well next season but not great he could find the free agent market strong as many teams would be looking for a starting quarterback. QB is normally a weak position in free agency. It’s a gamble for Tannehill.
One thing Tannehill needs to thing about is his injury probability. Tannehill is a running quarterback and those types of players are treated like running backs until they slide. Conversely Tannehill has been beaten down by sacks the last two seasons and next year is no guarantee that it won’t be the same. A new deal could guarantee an “X” amount of guaranteed money against injury.
In reality it’s a win/win situation for both the team and Ryan Tannehill. Should Tannehill not live up to the expectations of the team then the Dolphins should be able release or trade him with minimal cap hit. If Tannehill meets realistic escalators then he can be a very wealthy quarterback in the NFL with a solid future ahead of him.