Finding a franchise quarterback is the Miami Dolphins’ top priority and fans shouldn’t rule out Nick Mullens of San Francisco as a potential addition.
It’s becoming more and more obvious that Ryan Tannehill will not be back with the Miami Dolphins next season. On one hand this saddens me. Tannehill has been a consummate professional during his time here in Miami. He’s worked hard on his craft, he’s been a very good teammate, and he’s left it all on the field each and every time he stepped on it. He’s been an easy guy to cheer for. And while these are all qualities you want in your quarterback the fact remains the NFL is a business and the bottom line is measured in wins. Unfortunately, Tannehill just hasn’t delivered enough of those.
So, that takes me to the obvious. What are the Dolphins’ plans at the quarterback position? Many have thrown around the word “tank”. A strategy that might ensure a top draft pick in the 2020 draft where the quarterback class is said to be much stronger than this year’s class. Intellectually I get it. The team needs a franchise quarterback. The easiest way to get one is draft at or near the top of the draft. How do you do that? Lose and lose lots! But the competitor in me says no way. Good athletes aren’t wired that way. I’m not sure how the coaching staff sells that to the younger guys on this team, the ones you hope are still here when, and if, this ship gets turned around.
That brings me to the point of this article. Why do we have to wait a year? A potential solution may be available this year. A name that I haven’t heard a lot about, yet, is that of San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Nick Mullens.
Mullens played very well in relief when Jimmy Garoppolo went down to injury last season. Mullens took over the 1-7 Niners and led the team to a 3-5 record in the final 8 games. He finished with a very respectable 2277 yards with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and a completion percentage of 64%. Pro Football Reference
The Dolphins should, if they haven’t already, be making a call to the 49ers to see what the asking price is. My guess is though it’s not going to be cheap. Mullens has shown, albeit a small sample size, that he can play in the league. He also has a very favorable contract. He is currently signed for the next two seasons at just over the league minimum. He’s also an exclusive right’s free agent at the end of 2020 meaning he can only negotiate with the team that holds him with his options being he either re-signs with that team or sits out the entire year. The exclusive rights provide more team control than that of a restricted free agent.
The Dolphins want to get younger and clear some cap space. The 49ers believe they already have their franchise QB in Garoppolo but need to add some parts elsewhere. Shakespeare said in The Tempest “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows” could this be the case for the Dolphins and 49ers?
According to spotrac.com the 49ers have somewhere between $66 and $76 million in cap space. Would this type of cap space allow the 49ers to acquire multiple players in a deal?
This is where I’d like to see Chris Grier get creative. Disclaimer: A trade expert I am not, but could Grier move some of the parts we plan to move on from, along with a lesser pick or two in an effort to land Mullens? It’s worth a try in my opinion.
Now, I don’t know if Nick Mullens is the answer to the Miami Dolphins’ problems or not. But I look at it this way, if the Dolphins could land Mullens without out giving up an abundance of future draft capital and he is the answer, then our re-build just got a year shorter. If he’s not the answer, then we’ve probably accomplished what we set out to do, lots of losing, and we refer back to plan A and draft a quarterback high in 2020.