Jay Cutler

Dolphins To Place Ryan Tannehill On IR

The Dolphins placed sixth-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill on IR Friday night. He will undergo season-ending ACL surgery, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports, emphasizing there is “no chance” the 29-year-old passer returns this season.

Injured last week during practice, Tannehill will now undergo the surgery the Dolphins debated late last season. He opted to traverse a non-surgical course, but this latest setback will send Tannehill to the operating table.

Salguero reports Tannehill made this decision tonight after speaking to Adam Gase. Tannehill again considered other, less invasive treatment options but will undergo surgery next week. Salguero notes he is expected to be ready for training camp next summer. The precise type of surgery isn’t yet known, but Salguero reports this operation will definitely be a reconstructive procedure.

The Dolphins — and their bid to make a second straight playoff appearance for the first time since the 2000-01 seasons — are now in Jay Cutler‘s hands. The 34-year-old passer signed a $10MM deal which is fully guaranteed, per Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter), coming out of retirement in this emergency circumstance.

Tannehill completed a career-high 67 percent of his passes in Gase’s system last season, and although his season was cut short after 13 games, the former first-round pick piloted the Fins to an 8-5 record while healthy. Matt Moore guided the Dolphins into the playoffs before the Steelers ousted them in Round 1.

Tannehill will turn 30 next July. He’s under contract through 2020, although no money is guaranteed in 2019 or ’20.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Cutler, Jets, Bills

If Jay Cutler didn’t return to the NFL in order to sign with the Dolphins, Miami would have considered Robert Griffin III and Christian Ponder, reports Peter King of TheMMQB.com. Of course, RG3 and Ponder were far from the only options on the table for the Dolphins, as Colin Kaepernick, Tim Tebow, Kyle Orton, Brock Osweiler, Blaine Gabbert, and Teddy Bridgewater were all at least discussed internally. Griffin has been linked to the Seahawks, Chargers, and Ravens this offseason, while Seattle was also interested in Ponder at one point. At least one league executive believes the Dolphins had better options available under center, tweets Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald.

Here’s more from Miami and the rest of the AFC East:

  • Cutler will essentially earn $10MM in guaranteed money under the terms of his Dolphins contract, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). As previously reported, Cutler will take home a $5MM base salary and a $5MM roster bonus, but that bonus is due this August 9 (this Wednesday). Additionally, Cutler can earn another $3MM in incentives: $1MM if he plays 75% of Miami’s offensive snaps and the club is in the top-10 in touchdowns; $1MM if he plays 75% of snaps and the Dolphins earn a postseason berth; and another $1MM if he plays 75% of snaps and Miami wins a playoff game.
  • “No concerns” were raised about Cutler’s shoulder in his pre-signing physical, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). For what it’s worth, Cutler says he was cleared in March. Meanwhile, Dolphins head coach Adam Gase says the Dolphins have a “plan” for how they’ll manage Cutler’s preseason repetitions. “We’re going to have to be smart with that because I’m sure (Cutler) wasn’t out in the backyard throwing 100 balls a day,” Gase said, per Pelissero (Twitter link).
  • While the Jets won the rights to wide receiver Bruce Ellington last week, the Bills, Texans, and Chiefs all put in waiver claims for the former 49ers draft choice, tweets Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday. Ellington, of course, didn’t last long in New York, as the Jets waived him with an injury designation just one day after acquiring him. That means any of the other clubs that attempted claims on Ellington should have an another opportunity to acquire him, either through the waiver process or after New York potentially cuts Ellington from injured reserve.
  • Free agent running back Stephen Houston worked out for the Jets last week, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post (Twitter link). Houston, originally an undrafted free agent out of Indiana, has never played in a NFL game despite bouncing between several rosters since entering the league in 2014. Most recently, Houston spent time on Baltimore’s practice squad, but was waived by the Ravens in May. The Jets, who already boast Matt Forte, Bilal Powell, Brandon Wilds, and others at running back, also auditioned Shaquille Cooper last week.

Jay Cutler To Sign With Dolphins

Jay Cutler has come out of retirement to sign a one-year deal with the Dolphins, the team announced on Monday. The deal was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Schefter tweets that Cutler will earn $10MM, plus incentives, in 2017, and Jay Glazer of FOX Sports tweets that the incentives could raise the total value of the contract to $13MM.

Cutler’s base salary will be $5MM, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports. With incumbent Fins backup Matt Moore making $1.75MM in base salary, this suggests Adam Gase expects his former pupil to become the starter and also suggests that Ryan Tannehill will miss an extended period of time.

Salguero reports Tannehill, again, has a partially torn ACL. The sixth-year passer suffered the same injury late in the 2016 regular season. It’s uncertain if the Dolphins’ franchise passer will undergo surgery this time to repair the damage or opt for more non-surgical treatment, but he will be out for a while.

Tannehill, 29, spent the past several days consulting with experts about continuing to delay a surgery instead of going under the knife and ending his season, per Salguero. The Miami-embedded reporter adds Tannehill is likely to need surgery, because Cutler didn’t want to step into a situation where Tannehill would come back this season. As of now, Tannehill is almost certain to miss the season, with Salguero tweeting the start of the 2018 campaign is in question.

In Cutler, Dolphins managed to sign a quarterback who possesses high-end physical tools (even if other aspects of Cutler’s game have been scrutinized) and knowledge of Gase’s system. The 34-year-old, who retired from football in May after receiving limited interest as a free agent, has a good relationship with Gase from their time in Chicago in 2015. Then the Bears’ offensive coordinator, Gase helped Cutler to one of his best seasons, in which he completed 64.4 percent of passes, averaged 7.58 yards per attempt and threw 21 touchdowns against just 11 interceptions.

This saga went in a different direction than an ESPN report indicated it probably would on Saturday. Cutler will pivot away from the FOX job he secured earlier this year. And, after piloting some lower-profile Bears teams during his final few seasons in the Windy City, the former first-round pick will become a key component in the AFC playoff race.

The closest Cutler came to a post-Chicago landing spot was with the Jets, who had some interest but did not want to pay franchise-passer money and opted for ex-Cutler teammate Josh McCown instead. Now, Cutler will be thrown onto a playoff-contending outfit. And the skill-position cadre of Jay Ajayi, Julius Thomas, Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker stands to double as one of the best in Cutler’s now-12-season career.

Cutler has one Pro Bowl to his credit, with the 2008 Broncos, and has guided a team to one playoff berth (2010 Bears). His salary will place him in a barely explored middle ground between backup quarterbacks and franchise starters. Cutler’s $10MM in 2017 places him 22nd among quarterbacks, in between the previous gulf that existed between Mike Glennon and Tyrod Taylor in this hierarchy.

Tannehill will earn $20.3MM in 2017, making the Dolphins more committed to two passers financially than any NFL team.

Sam Robinson contributed to this report.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Considered Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow

A common theme appears to have developed in Miami this week in the Dolphins’ search for quarterback help after Ryan Tannehill‘s injury: familiarity with coach Adam Gase.

As a result, some interesting names were considered. Although it’s not certain how seriously these considerations were, Armando Salguero reports (on Twitter) at some point in the process this week former Gase Broncos charges Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow were discussed.

Salguero also confirms the Dolphins’ previously reported interest in Colin Kaepernick, adding more names were likely bandied about during this emergency process (Twitter link). He also notes (via Twitter) some of the names were discarded quickly.

While the Dolphins landed their preferred target in convincing Jay Cutler to come out of retirement, their range of candidates is obviously notable. Set to turn 30 next week, Tebow has not played a down of regular-season football since 2012 and is currently in the New York Mets’ farm system. A historically inaccurate passer, Tebow did lead the Broncos to seven wins in 2011 and a dramatic playoff triumph. Gase was coaching Denver’s quarterbacks at the time, but OC Mike McCoy adjusted the scheme dramatically to fit Tebow’s unique skill set.

Orton, 34, played in a more comparable system to what Gase used with Cutler in Chicago and with the Dolphins in 2016. The passer opened three straight seasons as the Broncos’ starter before Tebow replaced him midway through ’11, and Denver primarily used a three-wide shotgun set for the less mobile signal-caller. Orton, however, retired after the 2014 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Dolphins, Glenn, Reed, Eagles

The DolphinsJay Cutler addition easily became the NFL story of the week, and more specifics on the agreement are emerging. Cutler’s $5MM base salary will be augmented by $5MM in bonuses and $3MM in incentives, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Between Cutler, Ryan Tannehill and Matt Moore, the Dolphins are spending more than $32MM on quarterback salaries this season. This salary will represent Cutler’s lowest in a season since 2013, prior to his second Bears pact.

Rapoport (video link) didn’t rule out the possibility of a multiyear Dolphins/Cutler union, but said as of now the plan is just for this season. He cites Cutler’s desire to play, noting the interest he had in the Texans’ job, and possible success with Adam Gase as a reason the door is slightly ajar for the 34-year-old passer to have a beyond-2017 future with the Dolphins.

Here’s the latest from the Eastern divisions.

  • Of course, Tannehill is under contract through the 2020 season. But Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com notes (via Twitter) the Dolphins can escape from Tannehill’s contract after this season, if they choose. No fully guaranteed money remains on Tannehill’s deal, although a $5.25MM injury guarantee for 2018 is in place. Breer categorizes the 2018-20 portion of Tannehill’s contract as team options. The Dolphins, though, don’t have another long-term solution lined up beyond the suddenly injury-prone Tannehill.
  • This Cutler signing will make a Jarvis Landry extension more difficult, James Walker of ESPN.com offers. The Dolphins entered Sunday with $17MM-plus in cap space, with just $3MM projected to be available in 2018. While the latter figure doesn’t mean a ton yet due to roster moves that could me made to increase it, the Dolphins lost some possible carryover money due to the Cutler signing, one Walker calls a mistake. Gase’s Bears campaign produced the 23rd-ranked passing offense in 2015 and a 6-10 record. Although, the Bears were playing without some skill-position talent that season. But Cutler has only led one team, the ’10 Bears, to the postseason and is coming off an injury-marred season. As for Landry, not much has developed on that front.
  • Cordy Glenn has struggled with lower-leg and foot problems since last season, and the Bills‘ franchise left tackle still has some uncertainty surrounding his status. That said, Glenn returned to practice on Sunday after seeing a foot specialist, Rapoport reports (on Twitter). Glenn recently received a second opinion on his foot from foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson, Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News reports. Sean McDermott called the veteran blocker day-to-day.
  • Jay Gruden is optimistic Jordan Reed will be able to shake his toe injury and be ready to go by the time the Redskins take the field in Week 1. “From every indication I’ve received from the doctors and trainers and from Jordan, I feel he’ll be ready for the season,” Gruden said, via John Keim of ESPN.com. “But you never know, so we’ll still have to wait and see. Things are odd from time to time, but I have total faith that he’ll be ready.” Reed is on the Active/PUP list and struggled with the toe malady throughout last season. Reed also visited with Dr. Anderson last week but has ramped up his work since.
  • Corey Graham has experience at both secondary positions, but Jim Schwartz plans to use his former Bills charge at safety despite the Eagles being weaker at corner, Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com notes, adding that Malcolm Jenkins could shift into the slot on sub-packages. Graham has played most of his career at corner but moved to safety full-time in 2015.

AFC Notes: McCown, Cutler, Brissett, Ochi

Regardless of what head coach Todd Bowles says, the Jets‘ QB battle is not an open competition, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post. Costello writes that Josh McCown has taken about 99% of the first-team reps in training camp, while Christian Hackenberg has worked almost exclusively with the second unit. Unless Hackenberg excels during New York’s first two preseason games, Costello expects McCown to be under center come Week 1, which is what we expected all along.

Now let’s take a look at a few more notes from the AFC:

  • Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald says Dolphins brass hopes to resolve the Jay Cutler question soon, and that resolution could come as early as today (Twitter link).
  • Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola accepted a pay cut to remain in New England for the third consecutive season, but as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes, the 31-year-old Amendola (32 in November) never considered retirement, nor did he consider suiting up for anyone other than the Patriots. He again projects as the team’s fourth or fifth option at wide receiver, but he has grown comfortable with his limited role and at this point in his career he appears content to get a little burn while playing in a winning environment.
  • Jacoby Brissett, the Patriots No. 3 signal-caller who got two starts last season in the wake of Tom Brady‘s suspension and Jimmy Garoppolo‘s injury, is in danger of being cut, as Ben Volin of the Boston Globe writes. Brissett did not have a strong spring, and with Brady showing no signs of slowing down and Garoppolo back as the No. 2 QB, New England could look to use Brissett’s roster spot on a linebacker, receiver, or defensive back.
  • Titans LB Victor Ochi tore his ACL in Friday night’s practice, per Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com (via Twitter). Ochi is a small school (Stony Brook) product who has spent time with the Ravens, Jets, Chiefs, and Titans in his brief career, appearing in two games with the Jets last season. He has a great deal of raw pass-rushing ability, but it seems he will have to wait until 2018 to put that ability back on display.
  • Dan Graziano of ESPN.com says Tyler Ervin, whom the Texans selected in the fourth round of the 2016 draft, could fill in for Will Fuller while Fuller recovers from a broken collarbone. Ervin is a running back by trade, but he has tremendous speed and the club was already planning to use him in multiple roles to utilize his athleticism (he returned 27 punts and 14 kickoffs last season). With Fuller out for awhile, Houston could give receiver reps to Ervin with an eye towards making him a full-time slot receiver.

QB Rumors: Cutler, Browns, Lynch, Texans

The Dolphins‘ quarterback situation has surged to the NFL news forefront this week, and on Saturday, the latest coming out of the possible Jay Cutler/Adam Gase reunion indicates the quarterback is leaning toward staying in the broadcast booth. One of the key elements in Cutler’s decision-making process will be his family, with Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reporting the 34-year-old passer is having a hard time making a commitment that would keep him away from them throughout this season.

ESPN’s James Walker adds a Ryan Tannehill surgery could shift Gase into a more aggressive recruiting mode for Cutler, with whom the Dolphins HC worked on the 2015 Bears. Cutler threw 25 touchdown passes compared to 11 interceptions for an injury-depleted Chicago offense that year. Matt Moore remains the Miami backup. Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III and Shaun Hill are among the top options in free agency if the Dolphins and Cutler don’t end up making an emergency-circumstance contract work.

But there are other fluid quarterback situations, some on teams expected to be contenders. Here’s the latest on the league’s signal-caller battles.

  • The Broncos held a scrimmage on Saturday, and they exited the workout with Trevor Siemian in a better place on his quest to hold off first-round pick Paxton Lynch. Siemian remained consistent, per Troy Renck of Denver7, who adds Lynch continued to struggle in that department. Renck notes Lynch has shown the kind of promise associated with a first-round talent at times during camp but has encountered noticeable lapses. Vance Joseph called Lynch’s outing Saturday “very solid” outside of an interception.
  • Hue Jackson will collaborate with second-year Browns power-structure heads Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta, seeking input on which quarterback he chooses to start the season, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports. “I’d love to have their input,” Jackson said. “I want to see what they’ve seen and how they feel about it and we’ll kind of go from there.” Unlike last season, this quarterback competition is between players chosen by the new-era Browns front office. Cabot also suggests Jackson provided more signals he will tab DeShone Kizer for first-string work. Despite Kizer struggling in a Saturday scrimmage, Cabot expects the second-round pick to earn the start in the Browns’ preseason opener against the Saints next week. Jackson added “it’s fair to assume” he will have his starter in place by the Browns’ third preseason game.
  • Brock Osweiler, though, performed better than Kizer on Saturday, and ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi notes indications point to the trade acquisition being given elevated to starting status against the Saints. This would be a rather startling development considering Osweiler was acquired as a trade chip the Browns attempted to subsequently unload. Cody Kessler, Cleveland’s first-unit passer throughout the offseason, has struggled during camp, per Grossi. PFR’s readers voted Osweiler as the player the Browns should go with this season.
  • Equipped with a dominant defense, the Texans are expected to make a strong push to win a third straight AFC South title. They aren’t 100 percent decided on their quarterback, but John McClain of the Houston Chronicle notes (on Twitter) Tom Savage has been “clearly No. 1” ahead of Deshaun Watson. DeAndre Hopkins also threw his support behind the fourth-year player, whom the fifth-year receiver said “does everything well.” Bill O’Brien and, to a lesser degree, Rick Smith said before camp Savage will be the Texans’ Week 1 starter.

Latest On Dolphins’ QB Quandary

Adam Gase attempted to provide clarity on the Dolphins’ quarterback situation on Saturday, but the position is far from solidified after the latest Ryan Tannehill injury occurrence.

Gase confirmed he’s spoken with Jay Cutler about being a possible emergency-circumstance addition, but the second-year coach said only one conversation has occurred. Gase did say Cutler expressed his interest in a Miami job, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports. Gase said Cutler did not seek an arrangement where he’d only leave his Fox post for a guaranteed starting job, per Salguero.

He was interested,” Gase said of Cutler’s status, via Salguero. “I think he’s just trying to figure out everything. … He didn’t demand anything.

Salguero offers that a reunion between Gase and Cutler, who worked together for the 2015 Bears, remains the most likely conclusion to the Dolphins’ sudden passer crisis.

Meanwhile, both Salguero and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk are hearing matters are not calm on the Tannehill front. Salguero said he’s been told “over and over” reports of the 29-year-old quarterback having avoided structural damage are not correct. The Miami-based reporter adds the team is considering all options, including a season-ending ACL surgery for Tannehill. That’s the buzz Florio is getting, offering (on Twitter) the feeling is it’s “quietly becoming a given” the sixth-year starter will undergo surgery.

Tannehill, of course, did not undergo surgery for the partial tear he suffered late last season.

Jeff Darlington of ESPN.com, though, threw some cold water on a Cutler/Dolphins pact. The ESPN reporter tweeted Cutler is “leaning heavily” toward staying retired and beginning a broadcasting career. But this situation has brought unique intrigue for Cutler, whom Darlington reports (on Twitter) would only consider the Dolphins as a return destination. Even though Miami’s supporting cast — Jarvis Landry/DeVante Parker/Kenny Stills/Julius Thomas/Jay Ajayi — would represent one of the better groups of Cutler’s career, it doesn’t look like the 34-year-old free agent would return to football (Twitter link). But Darlington adds, via Twitter, Cutler isn’t 100 percent certain about spurning this interest yet.

Cutler’s television agent, Mark Block, tweeted his client hasn’t decided anything yet.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Notes: Quarterbacks, Moore, Cutler

It has been a tumultuous 24 hours for the Dolphins. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill left practice earlier this week after suffering a non-contact injury, and subsequent reports have indicated the 29-year-old may miss the entire upcoming season.

Predictably, a number of free agent quarterbacks have now been connected to the wide-open Miami gig, including former Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. Reports said that the organization had reached out to the veteran signal-caller, while later whispers said that there was mutual interest between the two sides. The 34-year-old retired back in May, but signing with Miami would allow him to reunite with former Bears’ offensive coordinator (and current Dolphins head coach) Adam Gase.

There haven’t been many updates since last night, but we’ve compiled several reactions to all of the news below…

  • ESPN’s Josina Anderson said (via Twitter) that no deal is imminent between the Dolphins and Jay Cutler. The team is still doing its due diligence and having discussions on all of the possible options. Our list of the top available quarterbacks can be found here.
  • One of those options would seemingly be backup quarterback Matt Moore, who has appeared in 10 total games over the past five seasons. If the 32-year-old is required to step in as the starter, he’s confident the offense can continue to click. “I’ve done this before in stepping up and getting ready if need be,” Moore told ESPN.com’s James Walker. “So that’s as much as I know and kind of the attitude I have moving forward. It stinks [with Tannehill being injured], but I thought today was a good practice. Guys were popping around and pretty competitive.”
  • Meanwhile, while many assumed that Cutler had retired for good, former teammate Kyle Long said he wouldn’t be shocked if the veteran returns to the field. “Obviously, knowing Jay for a while, I completely thought he was on full Montana mode, just chilling with his wife and kids,” the Bears lineman said (via ESPN.com’s Jeff Dickerson). “But nothing would surprise me. Obviously being with [Dolphins coach Adam] Gase here and having relative success and a good relationship there, you never know. I don’t know anything about it. I just read about it today and thought it was pretty funny as well.”

Latest On Dolphins’ Quarterback Situation

There has been mutual interest between Miami and Jay Cutler since Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill suffered a left knee injury on Thursday. Adding to the speculation, Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post reports that Cutler would “really like to” reunite with Dolphins head coach Adam Gase. The feeling is mutual, as Cutler is Miami’s No. 1 choice among available passers, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, who adds that the two sides have discussed a contract (on Twitter).

Jay Cutler (vertical)

The 34-year-old Cutler, who retired from football in May after receiving limited interest as a free agent and then signed with FOX Sports, has a good relationship with Gase from their time in Chicago in 2015. Then the Bears’ offensive coordinator, Gase helped Cutler to one of his best seasons, in which he completed 64.4 percent of passes, averaged 7.58 yards per attempt and threw 21 touchdowns against just 11 interceptions.

Whether Cutler joins Gase in Miami will largely boil down to the severity of Tannehill’s injury, which will either keep him out for several weeks or sideline him for the entire season. Cutler would reportedly only put his broadcasting career on hold to join the Dolphins as a full-time starter, so a less serious diagnosis for Tannehill might lead the Dolphins to look elsewhere for help under center.

One possibility could be Browns veteran Brock Osweiler, who isn’t a lock to make a roster that also includes rookie DeShone Kizer and second-year man Cody Kessler. Osweiler worked under Gase as a backup in Denver from 2012-14, when the latter served as the team’s quarterbacks coach and then O-coordinator, and developed immense respect for the coach. Gase is “brilliant” and “a tremendous coach,” Osweiler told Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com.

Thanks to the close relationship between Osweiler and Gase, not to mention the strong likelihood that Kizer will start for the Browns, the Dolphins will probably inquire about an Osweiler trade, writes Cabot. It’s unclear whether Osweiler, after struggling mightily last year in Houston, would overtake Tannehill’s main backup, Matt Moore, or sit behind Moore on Miami’s depth chart.

The 32-year-old Moore acquitted himself well while filling in late last season for an injured Tannehill, when he helped the Dolphins finish 2-1 to post a 10-6 record and earn their first playoff berth since 2008. Gase lightly endorsed Moore on Friday, telling reporters (including Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today): “Right now, Matt is our quarterback. We’ll see where we go from there because I’ve got to figure out what’s going on with Ryan. And then we’ll make a decision after that.”

There’s “no timetable” for a decision on Tannehill, Gase added, but the Dolphins are going to have to take action soon with the regular season just over a month away.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.