Ryan Tannehill restructures contract; was it the right move for Dolphins?

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 4: Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 4: Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs /

The Miami Dolphins needed to create cap space and restructured the contract of Ryan Tannehill to get more in their bank. The question is whether it was smart.

Tannehill reduced his 2018 salary to save the Dolphins $11 million in 2018. Miami reduced the base of his salary and converted the rest to a signing bonus. The restructure doesn’t reduce what Tannehill will make over the course of the contract.

While the move makes sense now in terms of cap relief, the Dolphins are throwing a lot of money at a player that hasn’t played since the last quarter of the 2015 season when he was hit against the Arizona Cardinals.

To be fair, I am a Tannehill supporter but this move is a commitment to him that doesn’t resonate well should he have another knee problem resurface. The restructure will put stress on the 2019 cap should Miami decide to move on from him.

The numbers are not 100% known yet in terms of what the 2019 cap will be but it has been reported that it will be harder for the Dolphins to move on from him next year and that 2020 is now the first year that might be easier to move on.

While many are on board with the move the reality is that Miami is banking once again on a full return to health for the quarterback who opted not to repair his torn ACL heading into the 2017 season and then had to have surgery after he tore it more in training camp.

The question is very simple. What happens if he does it again this off-season?

Tannehill is a mobile quarterback that needs to move out of the pocket because he can’t move around in the pocket. His biggest asset is his legs and mobility and he throws very well while moving outside. Can Tannehill overcome not only the physical recovery but the mental recovery as well?

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Potential destinations for Ryan Tannehill in the 2023 season
Potential destinations for Ryan Tannehill in the 2023 season /

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  • While the new deal does not preclude the Dolphins from looking for another quarterback it does mean Miami may not be looking at first round quarterback. While they still could and it might be smart, the chances are bit slimmer. Of course the Dolphins chances of landing either Baker Mayfield or Josh Rosen were pretty slim to begin with.

    Miami has to find another quarterback that they can rely on to back Tannehill up. In 2017 the Dolphins opted to trust the medical advice and didn’t bother to look for a replacement. When Tannehill was injured the coaching staff were not comfortable with Matt Moore and signed Jay Cuter. A similar issue could present itself this off-season should Tannehill injure that knee. And if he does, his career is likely over.

    This is the key reason why the restructure doesn’t make a lot of up front sense. That could change once the numbers for 2019 are figured out. Miami had already committed to Tannehill for 2018 and they should have. He knows the system and was playing well under Gase but they must have a back-up plan that makes sense. So far, it is anyone’s guess as to what that plan might be.

    For now, Tannehill is the starter and will remain as such through 2018 and likely 2019 should his knee hold up. This could be a very good move for the Dolphins who expect to have a lot of cap space in 2019’s off-season. Or it could be a really bad move if Tannehill doesn’t return to the field.