If — more likely when — Ryan Tannehill is released by the Miami Dolphins, should the Denver Broncos hop on the phone and try to get him?
The quarterback position is in focus for the Denver Broncos this offseason, and reports out of Miami indicate that the Dolphins’ six-year experiment with Ryan Tannehill is going to come to a close in the near future.
If the Dolphins release Tannehill (they still owe him more than $13 million) his free agency is going to be a very interesting one to monitor.
Tannehill has, statistically at least, been a decent quarterback since being selected eighth overall out of Texas A&M in 2012, the same NFL Draft class that produced Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Kirk Cousins, and Nick Foles.
It also included Brock Osweiler, who at least helped the Broncos win a Super Bowl even though he didn’t become the team’s franchise quarterback.
Tannehill, at least from my perspective, is a better option than what the Broncos currently have on the roster in Case Keenum.
Stats aren’t everything, but Tannehill has proven he’s capable of throwing more than 20 touchdown passes in a season, something he’s done three times in his NFL career. Keenum did it once with the Vikings in 2017.
Maybe it’s just that I’m so desperate for the Broncos to figure something out, but the idea of bringing in Tannehill can’t be the worst one that comes across Elway’s desk this offseason.
It’s certainly a better idea than bringing in Joe Flacco, who has just been an oversized version of Keenum his entire pro career, essentially.
It’s debatable whether or not bringing in Tannehill is as good or better of an idea than bringing in Nick Foles from the Eagles considering the price Foles will probably command and the difference between the two athletically.
It’s also debatable whether or not bringing in Tannehill is a better idea than drafting a quarterback because so many opinions seem to be split on this year’s class. There is a school of thought out there right now that says John Elway doesn’t want to wait to win. Has he ever, though?
If Elway wants to win games now, Tannehill presents an upgrade at quarterback, and wouldn’t necessarily prevent the team from drafting someone. Elway has always preferred veteran players when the option is there over young guys, at least to play critical roles.
Tannehill hasn’t played a full season since 2015, but does that really matter? Elway signed Case Keenum to a $36 million contract after one good season and the faith of Gary Kubiak in one of ‘his guys’. Tannehill’s availability over the past three seasons has been limited including the 2017 season which he missed entirely. He played 11 games in 2018 and has a win-loss record as the Dolphins’ starter of 42-46.
Despite his lengthy injury history, Tannehill has a more impressive résumé than Keenum and a higher ceiling. In 2018, Tannehill had a touchdown percentage of 6.2 percent, a career high. He only played 11 games, but had 17 touchdowns in those 11 games and was on his way to a 25-touchdown season at that pace. His career-high in that category is 27.
With the money still owed to Case Keenum, the Broncos would have to release their 2018 free agent acquisition to open up $11 million in cap space, which they could use to sign Tannehill to a one or two-year deal.
If the Broncos’ options this offseason are to stick with Keenum, go young, or upgrade, Tannehill is one of very few options that present an actual upgrade for the team. The coaching hires they’ve made offensively seem to indicate the team wants to go young at the position, but they simply can’t justify paying Case Keenum $21 million. So that leaves us in a unique situation. Keenum is going to have to re-do his contract or probably face getting released.
If they feel like Tannehill can be a fit for Rich Scangarello’s offense, this is a move they should strongly consider when the Dolphins decide to move on.