Ryan Tannehill

Titans To Start Ryan Tannehill In Week 7

The Titans’ Week 6 switch at quarterback will carry over to their Week 7 game. Ryan Tannehill will start against the Chargers, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Mike Vrabel benched Marcus Mariota against the Broncos, and the former No. 2 overall pick will stay as the backup for at least one more game. This is obviously a key move for a Titans team that has Mariota in a contract year. Mariota, 25, and Jameis Winston are the first quarterbacks to play a season on a fifth-year option; neither has done much to justify an extension in 2019.

Mariota threw three touchdown passes against the Falcons’ bottom-end defense in Week 4 but has struggled for the better part of the past three seasons. After throwing 26 TD passes in 2016, the Oregon alum has just 21 in his past 35 games. He posted a 50.6 QBR figure in 2018 but exits the Titans’ starting lineup with a 30.8 number — 29th out of 30 qualified quarterbacks.

Tannehill will return to a starting lineup for the first time since Week 17 of last season. The former Dolphins first-rounder, taken three years before the Titans’ Mariota investment, came to Tennessee via trade. Speculated to be a threat to Mariota’s job upon arrival, Tannehill will attempt to stop a Titans skid. The Titans have scored just seven points since their Week 4 win in Atlanta.

Tannehil, 31, fared better than Mariota in Denver, completing 13 of 16 passes for 144 yards in Tennessee’s shutout loss. He did not live up to the Dolphins’ expectations, seeing knee problems play a key role in his Miami exit, but will have another chance to prove himself. The Dolphins agreed to adjust Tannehill’s contract, as a result making this a contract year for the longtime starter. Tannehill is now in a contract year as well.

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Extra Points: Bell, Steelers, Tannehill

There was a lot of confusion surrounding Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers last season. It was widely reported during the early part of the season that Bell planned on playing for the Steelers in 2018. The timeline varied but it was consistently reported that Bell planned on showing up sometime after Pittsburgh’s Week 7 bye week. Then he never did, and we never knew what happened, until now. Bell had previously thought he needed to play six games to earn an accrued season and avoid his franchise tag from tolling over to 2019, but then realized that wasn’t the case, he explained in a recent interview with Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com.

Bell had “absolutely intended” to report after Week 7, “but shortly before then, Bell learned that he didn’t need to play any games to hit free agency. Before then, he thought he needed to play six games for an accrued season, but turns out he was free as long as the Steelers didn’t tag him again,” Fowler writes. Bell apparently learned on social media that he wouldn’t have to play, and took the plan to his agent. Bell also revealed that he came close to returning once more, in Week 11.

“‘I was so close to doing it,’ he said. ‘At the same time, I was so torn. Do I go through that? Will they embrace me or will they not? I eventually decided I sat out 10 games, I can sit six more. At the time, the team was malfunctioning, having problems, a lot of blame on me. I didn’t want to come back and not feel welcome,'” Bell said. It won’t change anything, but it’s nice to finally have some clarity on what went down with Bell and the Steelers as he prepares for his new life with the Jets.

Here’s more from around the league as the free agency frenzy is finally starting to quiet down:

  • Ryan Tannehill is no longer a Dolphin, after he was traded yesterday to the Titans. But he’s leaving behind a significant impact, as Tannehill will leave the Dolphins with $18.423MM in dead cap, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. As Florio points out, it only would’ve been $13.423MM in dead cap had they designated him a post-June 1 cut and released him outright. Essentially the Dolphins ate an additional $5MM in dead cap to get back a fourth and seventh round pick, the compensation they got from the Titans in the trade. They also gave up a sixth round pick of their own.
  • Panthers offensive lineman Taylor Hearn was caught on camera getting into a fight outside of a bar and getting knocked out, according to TMZ Sports. Jourdan Rodrigue of The Charlotte Observer tweeted out the Panthers’ statement on the incident, which reads “we are aware of the video, and have been in contact with Taylor and the league about the incident. We will have no further comment at this time.” Hearn, a rookie undrafted free agent from Clemson, appeared in just four games for the Panthers this past season. Already a bottom of the roster type player, this could effect his status with the team.
  • Our friends over at Overthecap.com are out with a great new page to track free agency spending this offseason, keeping track of each team’s signings, how much money they’ve doled out, and how much in guarantees they’ve pledged. So far the Jets have guaranteed by far the most money, as they’re on the hook for at least $115.5MM with the contracts they’ve signed so far. The Lions, Raiders, 49ers, and Bills round out the top five in terms of new money guaranteed. In terms of total spending, including non-guaranteed money, the Packers have been the biggest spenders, dishing out contracts worth a total of $184.1MM.

 

 

Dolphins Trade Ryan Tannehill To Titans

The Titans have a new quarterback. On Friday, the Titans acquired Ryan Tannehill in a trade with the Dolphins, according to a tweet from Tannehill’s agents. ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe tweets that Miami will be receiving a 2019 seventh-rounder (presumably No. 233) and a 2020 fourth-rounder. Meanwhile, the Titans will be getting Tannehill and a 2019 sixth-rounder (presumably No. 188).

As a part of the deal, the Titans have also restructured Tannehill’s contract for the 2019 season. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that it’s effectively a one-year deal worth $7MM guaranteed. There are playing-time incentives that could boost that total to $12MM. Either way, Tannehill will be one of the highest-paid backup quarterbacks in the NFL. Furthermore, it’s not as significant of an investment for the Titans thanks to the Dolphins; Miami ultimately paid $5MM of that $7MM guarantee via a signing bonus, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter).

With Marcus Mariota under center in Tennessee, Tannehill will be eyeing a backup role from the onset. However, the veteran could end up working his way into the lineup; Mariota has missed at least one regular season game in each of his four seasons, including two in 2018. With Tannehill, the Titans at least have reliable insurance in case their starter does go down.

The 30-year-old finished last season having completed 64.2-percent of his passes for 1,979 yards, 17 touchdowns, and nine interceptions in 11 starts. He led the Dolphins to a 5-6 record during his outings. While these numbers aren’t outstanding, they’re probably significantly better than what the Titans incumbent backup, Blaine Gabbert, would be able to put up.

The Dolphins have been dangling Tannehill for some time and had little interest in keeping him under the terms of his contract. Tannehill was scheduled to carry a $26.6MM cap hit for Miami in 2019 with a roughly even split in dead money and cap savings in the event of a release.

This week, the Dolphins tried – and failed – to land Tyrod Taylor and Teddy Bridgewater. With few free agent difference-makers remaining, the organization may be forced to shift their focus to the draft. At the very least, it’s unlikely the Dolphins roll into the regular season with their current quarterbacks depth chart, a grouping that consists of Luke Falk and Jake Rudock.

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Latest On Saints, Bridgewater, Tannehill

The Saints have been linked to both Teddy Bridgewater and Ryan Tannehill as they search for a backup quarterback, and we have updates on both situations.

Bridgewater is reportedly deciding between deals from both New Orleans and Miami, but he may have concerns about head coach Sean Payton‘s longevity with the Saints. Payton has long been linked to a potential opening with the Cowboys, and Bridgewater may not be interested in re-signing with New Orleans if Payton isn’t going to be around, per Clarence Hill of the Star Telegram (Twitter link).

Meanwhile, Tannehill has been floated as a potential replacement if Bridgewater doesn’t re-sign with the Saints, but that may not be likely. A source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (Twitter link) there’s “no way” Tannehill lands in New Orleans. New Orleans assistant general manager Jeff Ireland originally drafted Tannehill in Miami.

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Latest On Saints’ Offer To Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater will reportedly meet with the Dolphins today, but he has a firm offer in hand. The Saints are willing to pay him a base value of around $7MM, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com.

With the Saints, Bridgewater would serve as the backup for and heir apparent to Drew Brees. However, the Dolphins have a starting job available and Bridgewater is from Miami. There’s reason to believe that Bridgewater would be interested, but there’s no word yet on whether he would entertain the idea of leaving the Saints.

Meanwhile, if Bridgewater does depart for Miami, the Saints will likely be interested in the man he’s replacing. New Orleans is expected to target Ryan Tannehill as Brees’ backup if Bridgewater leaves, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). There’s a connection in place for Tannehill, as he was originally drafted by now-Saints assistant general manager Jeff Ireland.

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New York Notes: Tannehill, Mosley, Giants

The Jets made some noise on Day 1 of the legal tampering period, adding Anthony Barr, Jamison Crowder and Josh Bellamy to the mix. Their Barr deal also may not preclude them from a C.J. Mosley pact. The Jets aggressively pursued the four-time Pro Bowl linebacker on Monday, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets. Other teams — including the Browns, Colts and Redskins, in addition to the Ravens — made pushes for Mosley, and those may start back up again Tuesday. The linebacker remains unsigned. The Jets still have plenty of cap room and may be set to waive Darron Lee soon, creating room for Mosley alongside Avery Williamson.

While Barr is expected to help the Jets’ edge rush, he is also viewed as someone who will play off the ball, Mehta notes, comparing the latest high-priced Gregg Williams chess piece to Jamie Collins — the Browns’ off-ball ‘backer who would rush quarterbacks as well. However, it sounds like Barr — a UCLA edge defender — will see more time in rush roles than Collins did.

Here is more from the Jets’ first day of unofficial free agency and the latest from Giants headquarters:

  • A third Josh McCown Jets season could occur, with the team maintaining some interest in the soon-to-be 40-year-old passer backing up Sam Darnold, per SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano. But McCown released a statement Monday night indicating he is undecided on continuing his career, which could put the Jets in the market for another backup.
  • One of those options figures to be Ryan Tannehill, given his three-year run with Adam Gase in Miami. However, the soon-to-be-released quarterback has not come up in Jets meetings about filling their QB2 role, per Mehta. Tannehill could command a higher-end backup salary, like McCown, due to his extensive run as a starter. But he has not proven he can stay healthy since his knee troubles began in 2016.
  • A Mosley backup plan may be former Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall. The Jets expressed interest in the longtime Denver starter, according to Vacchiano. This would also point to Lee not being in the team’s plans any longer.
  • A third Morris Claiborne contract will not be on the Jets’ agenda, despite their need at corner, Vacchiano adds. Claiborne’s past two free agency stays ended with Jets deals; the veteran corner will likely have to seek his latest contract elsewhere.
  • The Broncos just reset the right tackle market, with their four-year, $52MM deal for Ja’Wuan James, and that should drive up the price for Daryl Williams. The Giants are likely to express interest in the former Panthers starter, Vacchiano notes. But as was the case with former Dave Gettleman find Andrew Norwell, whom the Giants tried to sign last year, Williams probably won’t come cheap. That said, Norwell and James were coming off healthy seasons; Williams missed almost all of last season because of leg injuries.
  • Big Blue, per Vacchiano, also inquired Monday about former Redskins outside linebacker Preston Smith, who is one of this market’s top edge defenders. The Giants just traded Olivier Vernon to the Browns and have a massive need on the edge. But Smith will also be a coveted commodity on this market.

Dolphins Interested In Tyrod Taylor

The Dolphins are rumored to be targeting Tyrod Taylor to serve as a stopgap signal-caller after the expected release of Ryan Tannehill, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. That is in keeping with a report from Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, who writes that Miami is expected to show interest in Taylor, and potentially one or two other free agent QBs.

The entire piece from Jackson is worth a read for Miami fans in need of some optimism, as he observes that the Dolphins are well-positioned to have $120MM of cap space in 2020. So, if Miami can land a franchise-caliber QB by the end of 2020 draft — a big “if,” to be sure — then the club will have plenty of flexibility to augment the roster in free agency and accelerate its rebuild.

In the meantime, new head coach Brian Flores understands that there may be some short-term pain. But Jackson writes that Flores does not want his team to completely tank, so a veteran QB that can at least keep the team somewhat competitive is definitely in the cards.

Dan Graziano of ESPN.com says the Ravens and Panthers are also obvious suitors for Taylor, so Miami may have some competition for him. As for Tannehill, Graziano suggests that he could reunite with Adam Gase, now the Jets‘ head coach, as Sam Darnold‘s backup.

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Dolphins Contacting Teams On Tannehill

Set to be replaced as the Dolphins’ starting quarterback, Ryan Tannehill has surfaced in trade talks at the Combine, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. However, this may be the franchise’s last-ditch attempt to gain value for its soon-to-be former starter.

These talks can be categorized as the Dolphins reminding teams Tannehill is available, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. The Dolphins are initiating the conversations on the 30-year-old passer, per Salguero, who adds the talks are believed to be preliminary.

The Redskins have discussed Tannehill with the Dolphins, Salguero adds. Washington was connected to a potential Josh Rosen pursuit as well. The latter would be a much better option, financially speaking, being owed barely $6MM in base salary through 2021. Tannehill is attached to an $18.73MM 2019 base.

Odds appear to be against the Dolphins moving Tannehill, whom teams are regarding more as a backup option rather than a player to install as a stopgap starter, Salguero adds, noting also that the 2012 first-rounder is, understandably, believed to want to go to a team that would give him a chance to compete for a starting job. Tannehill started for six seasons, missing all of 2017 because of the most severe of his knee injuries.

There are not as many teams in need of bridge starters as there were last year, with five quarterbacks going in the 2018 first round. Washington and Jacksonville, which kicked the tires on Tannehill, are the main candidates. And the Jaguars are the Nick Foles frontrunners.

It will cost the Dolphins more than $13MM to release Tannehill. He is one of many veterans the team plans to release in the coming days. Miami cut Andre Branch earlier on Saturday.

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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.

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