Miami Dolphins: Is Ryan Tannehill the Right QB?

After a season tormented by more turnovers than touchdowns at the quarterback position, the Miami Dolphins are desperate for Ryan Tannehill’s return in 2018.

When Tannehill suffered a partially torn ACL during the Dolphins first full-team practice in August, Miami had to make a quick move for a QB. Three days after his injury, the team signed Jay Cutler to a one-year, $10 million contract.

The deal proved to be a domino effect as the year progressed. On the season, Cutler accounted for 19 TDs, 14 interceptions, and six fumbles. He’s currently a free agent after one season in Miami, and with Tannehill expected to participate in some capacity during the Dolphins’ offseason program, the team is most likely going to move on from the 34-year-old QB.

In Miami’s eyes, Tannehill is their QB of the future. In 2018, he’ll be the team’s highest-paid player. Yes, he’ll make even more than Ndamukong Suh. Tannehill will rake in over $17 million this year and isn’t an unrestricted free agent until 2021. Miami was fond enough of their first-round pick from 2012 to ink him a four-year, $77 million contract.

In 77 starts, Tannehill led a mediocre-at-best Miami Dolphins team to a 37-40 record. Here’s how he fared statistically in those five seasons.

In 2012, his rookie year, he threw for 3,294 yards, 12 TDs, 13 INTs, and had a passer rating of 76.1. It was a shaky first season for Tannehill, and it concluded with Miami finishing 7-9.

In 2013 he avoided a sophomore slump. He recorded 3,913 passing yards, 24 TDs, 17 INTs, and an 81.7 passer rating.

Tannehill threw his first 4,000-yard season in 2014. He finished the year with 4,045 yards, 17 TDs, 12 INTs, and a passer rating of 92.8.

2015 was his last full season since being plagued with back-to-back knee injuries. He easily surpassed 4,000 yards and it was complimented with a two-to-one TD-to-INT ratio. He finished that season with 4,208 yards passing, 24 TDs, 12 INTs, and an 88.7 passer rating.

Tannehill’s career opened up with four straight 16-game seasons. That changed in 2016, when in Week 14 he suffered his first partially torn ACL. Prior to his injury, he led the Dolphins to a record of 8-5. He left the team in a good position, as they made it to the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

In those 13 games in 2016, he threw for 2,995 yards, 19 TDs, 12 INTs, and a passer rating of 93.5. That rating was a career-high for Miami’s signal-caller.

Since that season, Tannehill is yet to touch the turf in a game. The same injury haunted him again during the preseason in August.

Tannehill hasn’t been a terrific QB, but he’s certainly more serviceable than a lot of NFL starters, and he’s clearly a better option than Cutler.

The Dolphins have a low-key dynamic offense. After they shipped off running back Jay Ajayi to Philadelphia, Kenyan Drake showed he can be an every-down RB. This season, he had 133 carries for 644 yards and three TDs. Through the air, he reeled in 32 receptions for 239 yards and one TD. That was all done with only six starts. Tannehill will benefit greatly with a dual-threat RB like Drake.

Additionally, the team has wide receivers DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills signed until 2020 and beyond. That duo combined for 115 receptions, 1,517 yards, and seven TDs this season.

A big question mark for Miami this offseason is WR Jarvis Landry. He’s played through his rookie contract and is a free agent in 2018. Assuming he stays put in South Florida; he’ll instantly be Tannehill’s number-one option at WR. From 2014-2015, Landry and Tannehill connected on multiple occasions. The tandem accounted for 194 catches, 1,915 yards, and nine TDs in two seasons.

You pray that all of Tannehill’s rehab has gone swimmingly and that he can return to the field in 2018, because he’s the right QB for Miami. He can excel if they retain some key players and bolster their offensive line in free agency. He’s a proven 4,000-yard passer, and only eight QBs in the league achieved that this year. The Dolphins paid the man, and they’ll have to roll with him for the future.