Ryan Tannehill

Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill Healthy For OTAs

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill will be a full participant in OTAs on Monday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). It’s an encouraging sign for Tannehill, who has recovered well from a torn ACL. 

Of course, it has been a bumpy road for Tannehill over the last couple of years. Towards the end of 2016, a partially torn ACL took the QB out of action. Then, Tannehill suffered a complete ACL tear, which ended his 2017 season before it even began. The Dolphins were not quite sure about what Tannehill would be able to do heading into Tuesday, but doctors have given him the green light to do it all in this phase of OTAs.

It’s no exaggeration to say the Dolphins’ season hinges on Tannehill’s health. Last year, the Dolphins scrambled to replace the QB and wound up luring Jay Cutler out of retirement on an expensive one-year deal. The results were underwhelming as the Dolphins went 6-10, including a 6-8 record in Cutler’s 14 starts. The Dolphins have backstopped Cutler with Brock Osweiler for this year, but it’s hard to imagine Osweiler performing much better than Cutler.

Tannehill played 13 games during the 2016 season, completing 67.1-percent of his passes for 2,995 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. The advanced numbers at Pro Football Focus ranked him as just the 16th best quarterback in the league that season, but that’s a step up from Cutler’s No. 35 ranking from last year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Pats, Solder, Dolphins, Jets

Last month, the Patriots drafted Georgia tackle Isaiah Wynn in the first round to help replace Nate Solder. Former Patriots lineman Matt Light believes filling the void will be a tall task.

As far as fans, and how they view this season with respect to the loss to a guy like Nate, Nate’s not a guy you can just replace. No. 1, because he’s a ridiculously large mammal,” Light said of the 6’8″, 325-pound Solder, who is now with the Giants (via ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss). “From the first time I met him, I thought, ‘Man, this just shouldn’t be right that big guys like this are designed the way they are.’ No fat. Runs like a deer. Got the reach and wingspan of a vulture. The guy is just unbelievably talented in so many ways, and he’s smart, a cerebral player. You don’t replace a guy like that overnight.”

In addition to Wynn, the Patriots also have veteran Trent Brown after their trade with the Niners as well as veterans LaAdrian Waddle and Matt Tobin to try at left tackle. Marcus Cannon remains with the squad, but offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia says he’ll continue to man the right side. Those four players have their work cut out for them, but Light feels that they might be able to do an adequate job.

Its been done before. They survived me going through that first year of being lost in so many ways and trying to figure out things on the run,” said Light. “I would say this, for all the fans out there, it’s been documented but I’m not sure it’s been appreciated as it should be, but the work Dante does and the work he puts into the offseason — and the work he puts into the young guys that are coming into the organization and how he motivates those guys and pushes them to be in the best position possible to play the game — I’ve got a lot of confidence in his ability to prepare the guys he thinks are the best to take the field….Definitely something to watch, but I feel as those guys will be ready to roll and be prepared.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Next week marks a big milestone for Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, as Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes. Dolphins doctors, coaches and the QB will meet soon to decide how much work the quarterback will do during OTA sessions that begin on Tuesday and run into mid-June. The expectation is Tannehill, who missed the last month of the 2016 season with a partially ACL tear and all of last season with a complete tear, will be able to participate with little or no limitations, sources tell Salguero. But, even if doctors give him the go-ahead, coaches could still opt to take it easy with Tannehill in an effort to keep him healthy and get extra reps for backups Brock Osweiler and David Fales.
  • After the draft, there was some speculation that the Jets were hoping to land Baker Mayfield at No. 3 overall rather than Sam Darnold. A detailed look at the Jets’ path to Darnold by Albert Breer of The MMQB paints a different picture. After watching Darnold throw in April, Jets VP of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger told boss Mike Maccagnan If he’s there [at 3], take him.” On draft night, Maccagnan was in disbelief when Mayfield went No. 1 to the Browns and the Giants selected running back Saquon Barkley at No. 2, allowing the Jets to select Darnold. Early on in the draft process, few would have guessed that Darnold would be available at No. 3, and the Jets feel lucky to have him. On draft night, Heimerdinger turned to Maccagnan and said, “You have a horseshoe up your ass.”

Dolphins Looking To Move Up In First Round?

The Dolphins could be eyeing a quarterback in the first round. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweets that the organization would consider trading up tonight if a quarterback slides down the board. Regardless of what happens, the Dolphins have told starter Ryan Tannehill that he’ll be their starter in 2018.

The Dolphins are currently slotted in at the No. 11 spot of the first round, and they’re also armed with four additional picks before the end of the fourth round. Unless they’re willing to sacrifice a 2019 first-rounder, it’s unlikely they’d have the draft capital to move into the top-five. However, they do have enough picks to conceivably move up several spots.

Tannehill is only 29-years-old, so the Dolphins realistically shouldn’t be in any rush to find a replacement. Of course, the team might not be overly thrilled with the 2012 first-rounder’s future prospects, especially after he missed the entire 2017 campaign after tearing his ACL. Tannehill played 13 games during the 2016 season, completing 67.1-percent of his passes for 2,995 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Baker Mayfield To Meet With Seven Teams

Baker Mayfield‘s April figures to be busy. The Oklahoma signal caller will meet with the Browns, Bills, Jets, Giants, Dolphins, Broncos, and Cardinals, Robert Klemko of The MMQB reports. 

The Giants will sit down with Mayfield before the Jets, Manish Mehta of the Daily News adds. He’ll meet with the G-Men on April 8 and 9 before continuing his pre-draft tour with the Jets on April 9 and 10. The Jets conducted a private workout with Mayfield in Oklahoma on March 24, fueling speculation that he could be among the QBs in consideration for them at No. 3 overall.

Mayfield was last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, but some evaluators question whether he has the height to succeed at the next level. There are also some character concerns thanks to his actions during games against Ohio State and Kansas and a public intoxication arrest.

Most of the teams in this bunch were expected to show interest in Mayfield, but the Dolphins and Broncos are not obvious fits for him given the presence of Ryan Tannehill and Case Keenum, respectively. The Cardinals make more sense for Mayfield since Sam Bradford is not necessarily a long-term answer under center and the Bills are also a logical fit since they are not completely locked in on A.J. McCarron as their starter for 2018. Unlike the Dolphins and Cardinals, the Bills have ample ammo to move up for Mayfield with the Nos. 12 and No 22 picks in their possession.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Restructure Ryan Tannehill’s Deal

The Dolphins continue to create cap space on a busy day. After making the decision to cut Ndamukong Suh, the Dolphins have agreed on a restructure with its offensive centerpiece player.

Miami reworked Ryan Tannehill‘s contract, per Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, and will save $11.2MM in cap space because of this move. Coupled with the team’s restructuring of Reshad Jones‘ contract, the Dolphins created $17.8MM in additional cap space.

Tannehill’s cap number will be reduced from $19.8MM to $8.6MM this season. This will make it more difficult to cut the injury-besieged quarterback in the near future, but this won’t be too much of a deterrent. The Dolphins, who are obviously hoping their starting quarterback can shake his knee trouble this season, would now save just more than $15MM by cutting Tannehill in 2019 compared to the previous $18MM-plus amount.

The Dolphins used some their cap space already by agreeing to terms with future Tannehill targets Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola.

Peter King On Browns, McCarron, Tannehill

Here’s the latest from Peter King of The MMQB:

  • The Browns have four picks in the top 35 of this year’s draft, but coach Hue Jackson is still pushing for the team to acquire A.J. McCarron, King hears. If the team does go for McCarron in March, the plan would be for the team to also draft a rookie quarterback to be groomed behind him. The Browns, of course, nearly landed McCarron before last year’s trade deadline before a paperwork snag tanked the deal. One has to wonder if McCarron would be skeptical about the Browns’ level of commitment to him in such a scenario, particularly after seeing how Mike Glennon‘s arrangement worked out with the Bears. Then again, McCarron might be faced with a similar scenario with any team that shows interest him.
  • It has been said that the Dolphins are committed to Ryan Tannehill at quarterback, but King is not convinced after speaking with executives at the combine. Miami is look at QBs at No. 11 overall and several people who spoke with King believe they’ll select a signal caller there. Tannehill has missed the last 19 Dolphins games with back-to-back ACL tears.
  • After speaking with several GMs, scouts, and coaches, this is King’s rough consensus for the top ten player’s in the draft: Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, USC quarterback Sam Darnold, North Carolina State edge rusher Bradley Chubb, Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward, and Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith.

Dolphins Remain Committed To Ryan Tannehill

The Dolphins will not among the team’s in the market for a quarterback this season. At least, not a starting quarterback. Ryan Tannehill’s health is a concern after he suffered ACL injuries in back-to-back seasons, but the team is “fully on the Tannehill bandwagon,” Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald writes.Ryan Tannehill

That may seem like a no-brainer decision, but the Dolphins would only be on the hook for $4.6MM in dead money if they were to release Tannehill this offseason. Also, this year’s free agent quarterback market is the best its been in a while with players like Kirk Cousins, Drew Brees, and Case Keenum potentially reaching the open market. Rather than overpay for another vet in free agency, the Fins will move forward with Tannehill as their top QB.

Given Tannehill’s knee troubles, the Dolphins know that they have to have a solid QB2 at the ready if Tannehill suffers another injury. Trouble is, backup Matt Moore is headed for unrestricted free agency and Salguero hears that he may be headed for another team.

Moore, 34 in August, felt slighted by the signing of Jay Cutler and wants to explore his options to see if he might be a better fit with another team. Meanwhile, Cutler is also on an expiring contract and it’s hard to see the Dolphins shelling out enough money to keep him as a reserve, particularly given his up-and-down season. If Moore doesn’t return, Miami may want to explore some borderline QB1/QB2 types, like Tyrod Taylor. Alternatively, they could find their Tannehill contingency in the draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Dolphins’ Quarterback Plans

Some rumors coming out of Miami prior to this season indicated it was possible Jay Cutler could stick around for the Dolphins as a potential Ryan Tannehill replacement. That doesn’t appear to be the franchise’s plan.

The Dolphins are committed to having Tannehill return as the starting quarterback in 2018, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (video link). Adam Gase and the Dolphins front office think “extremely highly” of Tannehill, and they’re committed to having him return for a seventh season in Miami before possibly deciding what to do at quarterback after next season, per Rapoport. Tannehill’s contract becomes a pay-as-you-go arrangement after 2018 (and only $4.6MM in dead money is attached to a Tannehill release after this season).

But the Dolphins have likely seen Tannehill emerge as their best option given what the Cutler-led offense has generated in his absence. However, the Cutler era looks set to continue once he returns from his rib injury.

Miami remains committed to having Cutler come back as the starter, despite how Matt Moore fares against the Ravens on Thursday night, Rapoport reports. The team believes Cutler will be sufficiently healthy by Week 9, and the Dolphins intend on benching Moore for Cutler should that occur. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reported earlier this week the Dolphins were going to keep Cutler as their starter.

Despite the Dolphins’ offense noticeably less potent under Cutler than it was under Tannehill or even Moore last season, the team is evidently intent on continuing to see if the 34-year-old recently unretired passer can turn his season around.

Cutler and Moore threw for two touchdown passes apiece in the Dolphins’ Week 7 win over the Jets, but Cutler is averaging a career-worst 5.5 yards per attempt through his six starts. Moore averaged 8.29 yards per attempt last season and finished with eight touchdown passes compared to three interceptions in his three relief starts for Tannehill last December.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Rumors: Redskins, Elliott, Cutler

Redskins safety Su’a Cravens is expected to report to the team Tuesday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Cravens, of course, informed the club several weeks ago that he intended to retire only to reverse his decision almost immediately. Cravens has been in contact with head coach Jay Gruden, and the two have discussed football and life issues. As Rapoport suggests, the fact that Cravens is reporting does not necessarily mean that he will suit up right away, given that he is battling an injury and, as his recent history suggests, may be at a crossroads in his young life. Nonetheless, it is a positive step for one of the more promising defensive talents in the league.

Now for more from the league’s east divisions:

  • The Redskins reshuffled their front office in June, but per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the team considered adding another executive during training camp. Washington reportedly brought in James “Shack” Harris, Charles Bailey, Bill Kuharich, and Ron Hill to watch practice and meet with other staffers, but the team ultimately decided to stand pat and does not plan to make any other additions at this time.
  • Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has never been arrested or charged with a crime, but since June 2014, Elliott’s name has appeared in at least four investigations concerning assault, battery, domestic violence, and disorderly conduct, as Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News writes. The entire piece is well worth a read, and it suggests a troubling pattern of behavior that Elliott will need to correct in order to live up to his sky-high potential.
  • Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald says Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler has impressed the team with his demeanor and work ethic, and if he plays well this season, Salguero writes that Miami would consider re-signing him and trading Ryan Tannehill, thereby creating a great deal of cap room and netting an early draft choice in the process. We are a long way from that happening, of course, but if Cutler somehow becomes a modern-day Jim Plunkett, Tannehill could be on a different sideline in 2018.
  • We recently learned that the Dolphins were interested in trading for Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, but Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that Miami went hard after the star DB, making attempts to land him both back early in the free-agency signing period and as recently as last month.
  • Patriots LB Dont’a Hightower was riding a stationary bike after he left the team’s Week 1 contest with a right knee injury, leading to optimism that he might be ready for Week 2. However, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reports that Hightower sought a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews last week, which Hightower did not deny. Problems with his right knee forced Hightower to begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list, and given that New England’s defense clearly needs him, this is a situation worth monitoring.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/12/17

Here are today’s minor moves.

  • Ryan Tannehill‘s season is officially over. The Dolphins placed the quarterback on IR and signed linebacker Junior Sylvestre. Tannehill, who will have knee surgery next week, is expected to be ready for the 2018 season. Sylvestre spent time with the Ryan Grigson-era Colts for two years but was cut after Indianapolis’ 2016 training camp. He signed with the Bills earlier this year but was cut after a month.
  • The Panthers signed defensive lineman Connor Wujciak, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Wujciak was an Eagles UDFA signing on in 2016, but an injury wiped out his would-be rookie season. The Chiefs worked out Wujciak last week. Panthers defensive tackle Vernon Butler will miss some time, Ron Rivera revealed Friday — via David Newton of ESPN.com — opening the door for an extra defensive line opportunity. Rivera said Butler’s target date for a return is Week 1. The Panthers waived defensive tackle Drew Iddings with an injury designation to open a roster spot, Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer reports (on Twitter).
  • Carolina also brought back offensive lineman Brian Folkerts, Person reports. The Panthers made room by cutting offensive lineman Tyrus Thompson, who had spent time with them since last season (Twitter links). A three-year backup blocker who played in 16 games for the 2014 Panthers, Folkerts last played for the 2015 Rams. Los Angeles cut him when paring its roster down to 75 players last summer.
  • Cornerback Jumal Rolle signed with the Bills and will replace Charles James, whom the team released, Joe Buscaglia of WKBW reports (on Twitter). Both players have at least two years’ experience and both previously played for the Texans. The 27-year-old Rolle was a Houston UDFA in 2014 and has played in 18 games. Rolle also intercepted three passes as a rookie before becoming mostly a special teams player in the time since. James played in 21 games with Houston between the 2015-16 seasons; Buffalo claimed him on waivers in May.
  • The Broncos relocated defensive lineman Billy Winn to IR after his ACL tear diagnosis emerged Friday. They signed linebacker Nelson Adams, Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com reports.
  • Linebacker Reshard Cliett negotiated an injury settlement with the Chiefs, becoming a free agent after being removed from Kansas City’s IR list, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (on Twitter).
  • The Giants waived linebacker Jimmy Herman, whom they signed Friday. James Kratch of NJ.com tweets Herman was given a “left squad” designation.
  • The Saints and linebacker Sae Tautu agreed on an injury settlement to trigger Tautu’s release from New Orleans’ IR, Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com tweets.
  • Rookie wide receiver Keevan Lucas signed a three-year contract with the Eagles, the team announced. Philadelphia waived linebacker Steven Daniels to make room. A Tulsa product, Lucas declared early but was not signed by a team after the draft.
  • Washington signed wide receiver Jamari Staples and waived/injured left tackle Kevin Bowen, per John Keim of ESPN.com. The Chiefs waived Staples in June after initially signing him in May. The Redskins also placed Trent Murphy on IR. Murphy tore his ACL in Washington’s preseason opener Thursday night.