AFC Notes: Tannehill, Pitta, Green, Chargers

Ryan Tannehill will get a second opinion on his knee Tuesday after learning earlier today he didn’t tear an ACL but rather sprained his ACL and MCL. The plan for now is for the Dolphins to trot out backup Matt Moore in the next two games in which Tannehill will definitely not play, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports, and give the franchise passer a chance to stabilize the knee before contemplating a potential Week 17 return against the Patriots.

Salguero notes if the Week 17 game against the Patriots is meaningful for the Dolphins’ playoff hopes and Tannehill wouldn’t risk long-term knee damage, Adam Gase will hound his training staff with questions and consider starting him in a game that could well have home-field advantage on the line for the Pats. However, Salguero notes Tannehill’s ACL is partially torn since it’s been categorized as a sprain, and there will likely be a risk of a full tear if he returns in three weeks.

Additionally, if Tannehill cannot recover in time for the New Year’s Day tilt, the Dolphins will keep him on the roster in 2017 to guarantee $14.5MM of his salary next season. The team will reinstall the former first-round pick as its starting quarterback next season, Salguero writes, with the Jay Cutler talk no longer being a possibility despite Tannehill’s cap number escalating from $11.6MM to $20.3MM.

Here’s more from the AFC.

  • It’s time for the Bills to bench Tyrod Taylor and install Cardale Jones as the starter, ESPN.com’s Mike Rodak opines. The Bills, of course, have to decide on Taylor this offseason and it would behoove them to know what they have in their young backup. “He’s working hard,” offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn said recently of Jones. “He’s a gunslinger, strong arm. You watch him in scout team, we evaluate his reps in scout team. He’s putting the ball in the right places. He’s accurate. I think his development is coming along fine.” Recently, GM Doug Whaley insisted that he won’t be turning things over to Jones, but things could be different after yesterday’s loss to Pittsburgh. The Bills are now 6-7 with slim odds of reaching the postseason.
  • Matt Forte is day-to-day after hyper-extending his right knee, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com reports. Although the Jets starter heard “cracking and popping” before the knee swelled, Forte was confident there was no ligament damage. Bilal Powell totaled 179 yards from scrimmage and two TDs in relief. Forte has played in all 13 Jets games this season; he’s only missed three contests in a single campaign twice and never more than four.
  • Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta will max out his incentives for 2016, as Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com writes. Under the terms of his reworked contract, Pitta’s salary was cut from $5MM to $1MM, but the Ravens added $3MM in incentives to help bridge the gap. The 31-year-old needed to catch 60 passes for a $1MM receptions incentive and he’s already topped that with 61. He also has to appear in 50% of the team’s snaps for the other $2MM and he’s in line to do that as well.
  • Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis says wide receiver A.J. Green expects to return to practice on Wednesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). With Cincinnati sitting at 5-7-1, a Green return would be more important to fantasy players than the Bengals’ 2016 season at this point. Green has missed the past three games with a severe hamstring injury. He sits 36 yards away from a sixth straight 1,000-yard slate.
  • Continuing on the injury front, Melvin Gordon has both a hip strain and a left knee sprain, Eric Williams of ESPN.com notes. Gordon underwent microfracture surgery on the same knee this offseason. The Chargers fell to 5-8 after losing to the Panthers on Sunday, and although Gordon wants to finish the season, his injury history may point to the Bolts exercising caution here. Gordon didn’t finish the 2015 season due to injury and then had surgery. If Gordon’s season ends after 13 games, he’ll finish three rushing yards shy of 1,000 in a bounce-back year. Mike McCoy said that number will have no bearing on whether the second-year back returns in 2016.
  • The NFL has suspended Chargers defensive end Tenny Palepoi for four games for violating the league policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Zach Links contributed to this report

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