The Titans have agreed to terms on a contract extension with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. A source informed Jeff Darlington of ESPN that the contract extension spans four years and worth a maximum of $118MM. The deal reportedly includes $62MM in fully guaranteed money and $91MM in partial guarantees.
This extension not only frees up Tennessee to use the Titans on another free agent (like running back Derrick Henry), it also takes them out of the running for impending free agent Tom Brady. Obviously, Brady’s free agency has been the largest storyline of the offseason and the many ties between the Titans regime and the Patriots only furthered those rumors.
Per Darlington’s report, Tannehill’s new contract makes for the sixth-highest full guarantee of any quarterback and would rank as the seventh most valuable contract for a quarterback by average per year value (slotting behind Matt Ryan and ahead of Kirk Cousins). Darlington added in a later tweet that Tannehill’s contract includes $17.5MM in full guarantees in 2020, $24.5MM in full guarantees in 2021, $29MM guaranteed for injury (that converts to full guarantees on the fifth day of the previous league year), and a $27.5MM base salary in 2022.
Tannehill followed a unique path to his nine-figure contract. After stalling out in Miami the Dolphins traded him to the Titans last offseason alongside a 2019 sixth-round pick for a 2019 seventh-round pick and 2020 fourth-round pick in a relatively underreported move. Tannehill entered the season as the team’s backup to Marcus Mariota, but as Mariota failed to take another step forward, Tannehill stepped in and led Tennessee on a late-season charge into the postseason where they upset the Patriots and nearly upset the eventual Super Bowl champion Chiefs.
In just 12 regular-season games (10 starts), Tannehill completed 70.3 percent of his passes and led the league in quarterback rating and nearly every yards per attempt statistic. Most valuably for Tennessee, his strong play out of play-action paired perfectly with their bruising running game (led by Henry). While Henry is still set for free agency, the Titans have gained new leverage now that their franchise tag is no longer necesarry for their quarterback.