Ryan Tannehill could be a dark horse fit for Denver Broncos

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 4: Quarterback Ryan Tannehill
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 4: Quarterback Ryan Tannehill /

The Denver Broncos will obviously be in the market for a quarterback this offseason, and they have some connection with Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill…

One name that isn’t being talked about a whole lot in terms of the quarterbacks that could be available in the 2018 NFL offseason is Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins.

Perhaps rightfully so.

Tannehill is not the most likely of options for a number of reasons, starting with the fact that he ended the 2016 season with a torn ACL, didn’t let it heal properly, and tore it again before the start of the 2017 season, this time requiring surgery.

Tannehill could very well end up being the Dolphins’ problem to deal with, given he carries a cap hit averaging around $20 million in each of the next three seasons. Are the Dolphins going to be willing to pay him that, given his recent knee issues?

The Dolphins have a potential ‘out’ in Tannehill’s contract that would incur just a $4.6 million dead money hit. The cap savings and dead money hit is the same whether the Dolphins release or trade Tannehill, so they would obviously explore the latter option first and foremost.

Some team, after all, may be more than willing to acquire Tannehill’s expensive cap hits annually, and I don’t know if the Broncos would be among them. It could be very difficult to trade Tannehill for appropriate value, and he would almost certainly be unwilling to re-structure his contract to take less money if traded to a new team.

The logistics aside, if Tannehill becomes available he would be an intriguing player to watch for the Broncos, even if it’s just a marginal chance they have of getting him. Tannehill is connected to Broncos head coach Vance Joseph from their time together in Miami, and though they didn’t work together directly, there is probably some form of relationship there.

Not only that, but the Broncos have a great situation for a quarterback to step into, in my opinion, with high draft picks, a good amount of cap space, and flexibility on the roster with some talent at the skill positions.

Now, there are areas where the Broncos can obviously get better, but the defense in Denver can be one of the biggest selling points to a veteran quarterback.

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Perhaps the Dolphins will deem Jay Cutler the better, less expensive option moving forward for the next 3-4 years versus Tannehill, and move on from the former first round pick.

For the Broncos, it would be a calculated risk. Tannehill has proven himself as a quality starting quarterback in this league, but the knee issue is concerning to me. It will be a ‘buyer beware’ situation for anyone that pursues him this offseason, or for the Dolphins for that matter.

Miami’s motivation to release Tannehill and save over $15 million next season starts with their roughly $14 million in projected cap space next year, not factoring in emergency funds and draft cap.

It would be a bit of a shocking move for Miami to release Tannehill, but I think there’s a chance of it happening, however slim.

If he becomes available, I’m sure the Broncos would be among the teams interested as they obviously have a major need at quarterback, and Tannehill — like another QB potentially on the market in Kirk Cousins — is just approaching his age 30 season.

There will be no shortage of intriguing options available this offseason, but the small connection between Tannehill and Vance Joseph could prove to be a factor.