Ryan Tannehill

AFC East Notes: Brady, Dolphins, Jets

Following the Patriots‘ third Super Bowl title of the decade, they again have their legendary quarterback going into a contract year. Robert Kraft is on board with another Tom Brady extension, but no talks have commenced yet, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Brady has never played into a contract year. While some uncertainty existed around Brady’s place with the Patriots last offseason, Breer adds the key parties are on good terms this year. The 41-year-old quarterback said before Super Bowl LIII he was not going to retire, and an extension would bring down his $27MM cap number. Brady signed team-friendly deals in 2013 and ’16 around the Combine those years.

With the quarterback market finally making big strides over the past year and change, Brady’s demands could justifiably increase. Brady’s historic contributions to the franchise notwithstanding, Bill Belichick may not be wild about a possible $30MM-AAV contract for Brady that runs into future Hall of Famer’s mid-40s, NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran offered during an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show (video link). Of course, with the Patriots an annual title contender and no heir apparent in place, it would seem unthinkable a Brady pact does not get done this offseason.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Although Ryan Tannehill is not expected to return to the Dolphins, GM Chris Grier said no decision has been made on that front. The Dolphins are expected to trade or release Tannehill, and the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson tweets a photo of the seven-year Dolphin quarterback has been removed from their press room. Grier wants input from Brian Flores and his new staff on the 30-year-old quarterback, but the Dolphins are expected to move on from their six-season starter. With an eye on the 2020 quarterback class, they are not believed to be targeting a high-priced free agent to replace Tannehill, either.
  • Armed with nearly $100MM in cap space and a GM potentially on the hot seat, the Jets make sense as Le’Veon Bell‘s buyer. While one report indicated New York won’t use a bank-breaking approach to land the All-Pro running back, SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano notes the Jets are still zeroed in on Bell. The soon-to-be 27-year-old back is still believed to prefer the Colts, per Vacchiano, but Indianapolis may not view him in the same light.
  • Some turmoil has already hit Gregg Williams‘ new team. Mike Maccagnan and Adam Gase initially did not view Blake Williams as a hiring priority for the Jets’ defensive staff, and this irked Blake’s father, according to ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini. Gregg Williams was frustrated with Maccagnan and Gase, but the new Gang Green DC won out, with Blake Williams signed on as linebackers coach. Blake upset some Rams staffers during his time as St. Louis assistant, before being fired after the 2013 season, Cimini notes, adding the young coach has developed somewhat of a polarizing reputation.
  • The Jets may have an issue trading Leonard Williams, with a $14.2MM salary due, but Vacchiano points out the general consensus around the NFL is the 2015 top-10 pick has been misused in New York. With the Jets moving to a 4-3 look under Gregg Williams, Leonard Williams is not a lock to be back. Of course, Gregg Williams may view the former 3-4 defensive end as a weapon in his scheme. The Jets are light on surefire front-seven talent, so their new DC might want some capable veterans to stay.

Jaguars Mulling Joe Flacco Trade

The Jaguars no longer view Blake Bortles as a viable option, and they are exploring the idea of adding another recently demoted passer.

Jaguars brass has discussed the prospect of bringing in Joe Flacco via trade, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. Flacco is open to this potential opportunity, per JLC.

They are also discussing Nick Foles and Ryan Tannehill, La Canfora notes. Foles is not certain to be available, though the current Eagles starter is expected to be. The Eagles are expected to attempt a trade, and the Dolphins are going to explore a Tannehill trade. Both could also hit free agency.

John Harbaugh has now openly broached the subject of a Flacco trade, saying the Ravens’ longtime starter will have a market. But rival GMs do not expect a team to part with anything more than a mid-round pick for the 33-year-old quarterback, La Canfora adds, though pointing out Tom Coughlin and new Ravens GM Eric DeCosta have a strong relationship that could accelerate a deal.

Flacco’s contract runs through 2021. He is due $18.5MM in base salary next season and is set to carry a $26.5MM cap number, though renegotiation could adjust the latter figure. The Jags are likely going to have to eat a $16.5MM dead-money hit on Bortles. The team is projected to be over the cap, so a Flacco trade would need to be accompanied by roster adjustments elsewhere.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins To Explore Trading Ryan Tannehill

It was reported in December the Dolphins were ready to move on from starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Instead of just cutting the sixth-year signal-caller, the team is expected to see what he could, if anything, fetch in a trade, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes

By cutting or trading the QB, the Dolphins would open up $13.2MM in cap space. Alternatively, they could clear out $18.7MM in savings by making him a post-June 1 cut, but that would come with the downside of another dead money hit in 2020.

While the team would like to recoup anything at all for Tannehill, attempting to find a suitor for him in a trade is tricky according to Jackson. Talking to a veteran NFL general manager, Jackson says a team is likely to ask for Tannehill to renegotiate his contract before offering a mid-round pick. That is something the quarterback and his agent, Pat Dye, are likely to balk at, forcing the Dolphins to cut the quarterback and allowing him to pick his own team at the highest bidder.

“The contract numbers are really high on him,” said the league executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The question is would he renegotiate to facilitate a trade. But why would he renegotiate? A team will ask to renegotiate and I think Pat Dye would say no if it involves a pay cut. And then they would be forced to cut him.”

More than likely, the Dolphins will cut the veteran passer, but teams desperate for an option under center have surprised before.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Likely To Move On From Ryan Tannehill

Miami seems ready to end the Ryan Tannehill era. The Dolphins are preparing to move on from the quarterback this offseason rather than paying out the $19MM he’s owed over the next two years, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald hears. 

[RELATED: Dolphins Will Not Pursue Jim Harbaugh]

Tannehill has been less than stellar in Miami, but he hasn’t had great support from his offensive line either. The Dolphins will endeavor to fix the front five, but they apparently believe that they can do better under center.

By cutting or trading the QB, the Dolphins would open up $13.2MM in cap space. Alternatively, they could clear out $18.7MM in savings by making him a post-June 1 cut, but that would come with the downside of another dead money hit in 2020.

Even as the Dolphins ponder their next big move at quarterback, they also recognize that Tannehill has had some strong individual performances. Through 16 weeks, the Dolphins have taken 48 sacks, which ranks as the sixth most in the NFL. Tannehill is undoubtedly frustrated about the circumstances around him, but he is choosing not to dwell on outside factors.

You can’t look at the game that way. You have to control what you can control,” Tannehill said. “If you play the what if games you’re not going to be growing as a person and a player.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Steelers, Dolphins, Ravens, Jets

Free agent kicker Kai Forbath was impressive during his Wednesday workout with the Steelers, and Pittsburgh is “keeping him on hold” while they determine a course of action with incumbent Chris Boswell, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Boswell’s fate with the Steelers could well rest on his performance during Thursday’s practice, per Fowler. Boswell missed two field goals against the Raiders on Sunday, including one that would have tied the game as regulation expired. All told this year, Boswell has missed six field goal attempts (leaving with him a conversion percentage that ranks last in the NFL) and five extra points. According to Football Outsiders’ special teams metrics, the Steelers’ kicking game is the second-worst in the league.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Ryan Tannehill‘s injury woes continue, as the Dolphins quarterback suffered an ankle injury in Miami’s stunning victory over the Patriots on Sunday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Tannehill practiced on Wednesday and should be able to face the Vikings in Week 15, head coach Adam Gase told reporters, including Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (Twitter link), but Rapoport indicates Tannehill could be limited against Minnesota. Tannehill himself, meanwhile, said he’s “encouraged” by his progress thus far, per Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. The Dolphins will be fighting for their playoff lives, as FiveThirtyEight.com currently gives them a one-in-five chance of earning a postseason berth.
  • The Ravens appear likely to target safety help early in the 2019 draft, as Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Eric Weddle could potentially be released next spring if he doesn’t retire, and hanging up the cleats is a possibility for the veteran defensive back giving that he’ll be entering his age-34 campaign. Tony Jefferson won’t be released due to the dead money that would be associated with such a move, but there’s no question Baltimore needs help at safety. As Zrebiec indicates, the Ravens have been horrendous against opposing tight ends, and rank 26th against the position in DVOA.
  • If/when the Jets part ways with Todd Bowles, Gang Green should pursue John Harbaugh as their next head coach, opines Brian Costello of the New York Post. Harbaugh, of course, isn’t nearly the lock to be fired that Bowles is, as Baltimore still has a decent chance of making the postseason, either by winning the AFC North or by securing the No. 6 seed. But if he is available, Harbaugh would add “instant credibility” to a Jets organization that desperately needs it. If Harbaugh doesn’t hit the coaching market, other veterans like Mike McCarthy or Jack Del Rio could be considered by New York, but Costello expects the Jets to target a young offensive mind instead.
  • The Raiders are seeking a new general manager after firing Reggie McKenzie earlier this week, and one name that could surface during the search is Jets director of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger, according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports. However, as Robinson writes, it’s unclear if the Oakland job will have any sort of allure around the NFL, especially given that most executives will see the gig as nothing short of being Jon Gruden‘s “puppet master.” Heimerdinger, for his part, is currently in his third season with New York after previously spending time with the Rams and Texans.

Dolphins, Tannehill Haven’t Discussed 2019

Ryan Tannehill says he has been given no assurances that he will be the Dolphins’ quarterback in 2019 (Twitter link via Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald). The QB added that he’s not focused on the future right now, but it’s definitely a topic of discussion within the Dolphins’ headquarters. 

Tannehill is set to have a cap hit of over $26MM in 2019, hasn’t been able to stay healthy, and hasn’t been consistent on the field even when he is able to play. If Tannehill cannot close out the season on a high note, the team will have to think long and hard about whether to stick with him. Releasing Tannehill would result in a $13.4MM cap hit, though it would free up about $13.1MM in funds.

The Dolphins could attempt to rework Tannehill’s contract, though his guarantee for 2019 could provide him with leverage. Instead of taking a significant pay cut, Tannehill may prefer to pocket his $13MM and try his luck on the open market.

Tannehill missed the end of the 2016 season with a torn ACL, then missed all of the 2017 season when he re-tore the ACL. This year, Tannehill started the first five games, then went down with a mysterious shoulder injury. He returned in on Sunday to complete 68% of his passes and throw for two touchdowns in a loss to the Colts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill To Play On Sunday

Ryan Tannehill will return to start for the Dolphins on Sunday against the Colts, coach Adam Gase tells reporters. Tannehill has missed the last five games with a right shoulder injury, but he looked sharp enough in Tuesday’s practice to get the nod. 

Brock Osweiler had a few impressive moments as the fill-in, but the team ultimately went 2-3 without Tannehill in the lineup. Tannehill had his own ups and downs under center before the injury, but he ultimately represents the Dolphins’ best option as they push to get into the playoff mix.

The Dolphins’ 31-12 loss to the Packers before the bye was disheartening, but they’re still alive at 5-5. A win over the Colts would take them over the .500 mark while dealing a blow to another 5-5 Wild Card hopeful. After that, the Dolphins face the Bills, Patriots, Vikings, Jaguars, and Bills (again) to close out the year.

In his five games this season, Tannehill has thrown for 972 yards, eight touchdowns, and five interceptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Dolphins, Patriots, Obi, Eagles

Although Ryan Tannehill won’t be available when the Dolphins face the Packers this weekend, he’s expected to return to action after Miami’s Week 11 bye, head coach Adam Gase told reporters today (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). Tannehill hasn’t played since Week 5, as a shoulder injury has forced the Dolphins to turn to backup Brock Osweiler, who’s posted a 2-2 record with Tannehill on the shelf. Miami has been reticent to release any sort of timeline on Tannehill’s recovery to this point, so the mere fact that the club has highlighted a possible return date is seemingly good news.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • When the Patriots signed defensive back Obi Melifonwu earlier this week, they actually inked him to a two-year deal through 2019, reports Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. While Melifonwu will only earn minimum base salaries over the next two seasons, he did receive $100K guaranteed in 2019. Given his experience level, Melifonwu would have been an exclusive rights free agent next spring, meaning New England could have kept him at little cost. But as Volin notes, the fact that the Patriots added guarantees to Melifonwu’s deal indicates they had competition for the ex-Raider (the Cowboys, Chiefs, and Saints also worked out the former second-rounder). Melifonwu can collect a $25K workout bonus, a $30K Week 1 roster bonus, and $125K in per-game roster bonuses next season.
  • The XFL has hired former Bills general manager Doug Whaley as its senior vice president of football operations, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Whaley led Buffalo’s front office from 2013-17, but never the club never made a postseason appearance under his leadership. After interviewing for both the Browns and Packers general manager positions earlier this year, Whaley took on a gig as the director of scouting for the NFLPA’s Collegiate Bowl. For what it’s worth, the XFL isn’t scheduled to get under way until 2020, so Whaley could conceivably return to the NFL before then.
  • While the Eagles ultimately made only one trade (swinging a deal for Lions receiver Golden Tate), it sounds like the Birds may have targeted other positions before last week’s deadline. “You try to see if there’s a [defensive back] out there,” Philadelphia head coach Doug Pederson said today, per Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). “You maybe see if there’s another pass rusher out there and then what are you giving up as a team?” The Eagles recently lost 2017 first-round pick Derek Barnett for the rest of the year, so adding another edge defender certainly wouldn’t have been out of the question.

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Tannehill, Parker, Bills, Ivory, Jets, Maccagnan, Bowles

The Dolphins will have a lot of tough decisions to make this offseason, including what to do with Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill is set to have a cap hit of over $26MM in 2019, hasn’t been able to stay healthy, and hasn’t been great on the field even when he is. Deciding Tannehill’s fate “clearly tops” the list of Miami’s priorities for the offseason, according to Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald, who writes “Tannehill would need to be exceptional when he returns from his shoulder injury” for the Dolphins to bring him back at that salary next year.

Tannehill missed the end of the 2016 season with a torn ACL, then missed all of the 2017 season when he re-tore the ACL. This year, Tannehill started the first five games, then went down with a mysterious shoulder injury. He’s been sidelined for four games, and it’s not clear when he’s coming back. It’s still very early, but at this point it would be a surprise if Tannehill is brought back at his current cap number. For what it’s worth, Beasley writes that the Dolphins like Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Speaking of decisions the Dolphins have to make, they’ll also have to decide the fate of receiver DeVante Parker and right tackle Ja’Wuan James this offseason, according to Beasley. Parker is owed $9.4MM next year, and Beasley writes that keeping him “seems unlikely now, but if he strings together several games like the one last Thursday in Houston (six catches, 134 yards), it becomes a strong consideration.” James will be a free agent after this season, and Beasley writes that “unless he’s great the final eight games, the Dolphins again figure to explore outside options” this March.
  • The Bills’ offense has already been an injured mess this year, and they got even more bad news today. Running back Chris Ivory “was taken to Erie County Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center, for evaluations on his left shoulder”, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). It’s unclear the exact nature of the injury, but it seems clear Ivory will miss some time, and he’s been playing a fairly big role in the offense lately.
  • Jets GM Mike Maccagnan “was noticeably less effusive” when talking about Todd Bowles in his ‘state of the team’ press availability than he was in last year’s availability, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Cimini thinks that Maccagnan “is safe, no matter what” and is trying to separate himself from Bowles and from the narrative that the two are joined at the hip, in case Bowles needs to be fired. Bowles is on a very hot seat, and it wouldn’t be surprising if a change is made soon with the Jets suffering another loss today.

Extra Points: QB’s, Tannehill, Jets, Maccagnan, San Antonio

Every year there’s a so-called “quarterback carousel” in the NFL offseason where a group of second-tier signal callers end up changing teams. This upcoming offseason could be the busiest yet, with a large crop of quarterbacks that have front offices that aren’t committed to them longterm. This year’s draft class is currently seen as being relatively weak, so many teams will likely be seeking to address the position through trades or free agent signings.

Former NFL agent and current CBS Sports Analyst Joel Corry took a look at the quarterbacks most likely to change teams this offseason, and it was a long list. He included 11 names, with some high profile ones like Derek Carr, Eli Manning, and Jameis Winston making the list. The whole article is worth reading for Corry’s analysis as someone who’s been involved in these negotiations before.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Speaking of quarterbacks, Ryan Tannehill will miss his fourth straight game this weekend when the Dolphins play the Jets, and it looks like he’ll be out beyond this week. Tannehill is not expected back for the team’s Week 10 game against the Packers, according to Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). It sounds like the earliest Tannehill could return would be after Miami’s bye week, in Week 12. Coach Adam Gase revealed the nature of Tannehill’s injury for the first time today, describing it as a “shoulder capsule” injury.
  • If Jets GM Mike Maccagnan fails to lead the team to the playoffs in 2019 he should be fired, opines Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Maccagnan has said he will be “very active” in free agency this offseason, and the pressure will be on for him to finally end the years-long rebuild and deliver tangible success. If the Jets don’t start winning more games in Sam Darnold‘s second season, it’s likely it’ll be a new regime in New York in 2020.
  • There’s been a lot of noise about the prospect of an NFL team relocating to London, or even one going back to San Diego, but there’s apparently a new market in the mix. San Antonio mayor Ron Nirenberg said recently that the city would have an NFL team “in the next 10 years”, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk. San Antonio was in the running to get the Raiders before they settled on Las Vegas, and they have a team in the upstart AAF league, so they’re clearly serious about professional football.