After a busy offseason, the Miami Dolphins capped it off by giving us a healthy surprise Monday afternoon. Miami locked up quarterback Ryan Tannehill, giving him a six year, $95 million contract extension, with $45 million guaranteed. However, of that $45 million, $21 million of it will be given to him within the first two years of the deal, which works out better for the Dolphins.
I’m not 100% sold on Tannehill as a franchise QB, but the Dolphins sure are. He’s good, but hasn’t been what I expected him to be so far. He hasn’t made the playoffs in his three years as a starter, but part of that can attributed to the lack of weapons the Dolphins gave him. That’s where giving him the money now makes sense.
Miami traded for wide receiver Kenny Stills in March, signed tight end Jordan Cameron, and added DeVante Parker in the draft. Those are three big time weapons for Tannehill to throw to. The confidence in him within the Dolphins organization was high before. With these set of targets and the big contract, he’s gonna have higher standards.
As I said above, I’m not 100% in on Tannehill. I’m hanging around 75% right now. Why? I just haven’t see enough that makes me think he’s a franchise QB. It’s just not there. However, the new weapons are a huge addition. Last year, Tannehill passed for 4,045 yards and 27 TDs. Those aren’t bad stats, but arm strength has been an issue for him since he joined the league. The longest pass he completed last year was 50 yards. No matter who your receivers are, that number should be higher. With guys to work with, we should see improvement from Tannehill. The question is how much.
I had someone complain about the amount of money Tannehill got. It’s a valid argument, I mean, $96 million over six years is a lot. Tannehill’s average salary comes out to be $16 million. Out of the top 18 highest QB salaries in the league, Tannehill’s cap hit is tied for 14th (based on average salary, list from dailydolphin.blog.palmbeachpost.com). Tannehill’s salary ties Andy Dalton’s, whose contract is structured similar.
Comparing Dalton and Tannehill has pros and cons, but neither has had postseason success. Dalton hasn’t won a playoff game, as his team seems to underachieve every year. Tannehill hasn’t made it, but the Dolphins are hoping that’ll change this year. The money is the same between the two. It’s very likely they have similar paths these next couple years, whether that’s in a positive or negative direction.
My main point: $16 million a year is the starting salary for a franchise QB these days. That’s how much they cost. It’s the simple. If you feel a guy is gonna lead your team, that’s how much you pay them. If you look below No.18 on the list, the only competent QB who isn’t on a rookie deal is Tom Brady. Brady takes less so that he can allow his team to sign guys to help them out (Example: Darrelle Revis).
As the guys at Around The NFL put it on NFL.com, it’s basically the Dalton Scale. Above Dalton’s number, he’s your guy. Below, nope. Tannehill’s matching it. And for now that’s fair.
You have to expect Tannehill and his team to improve. I always say it: Give a guy weapons, then decide if he’s your guy. Tannehill’s shown enough to prove to the Dolphins he has the skill. And now, they got some toys for him to play with. It’s a smart thing to do for your franchise.
The main concern I have with the deal is if they did it too early. He was a free agent in two years, and it seems like they might have been nervous to lose him had they waited. Again, giving him weapons should help, but flukes have occurred in the past (Bears fans mop up tears). There’s always risk here. This upcoming season is huge for Tannehill, but is a unfortunate measuring stick for the Dolphins. Say next season doesn’t go so well, the Dolphins could be feeling like the Bears did last year…. Stuck in buyer’s remorse.
On the NFL’s change to the PAT…..
On Tuesday, the NFL announced changes to the point after and two point conversion. This came after a Peter King MMQB column Monday morning, where he detailed what changes were on the table between the owners. The vote was made Tuesday afternoon then announced. The changes are as follows:
- Extra point moved to the 15 yard line from the two yard line
- Two point conversions are returnable if a turnover occurs, as well as blocked extra points
The move wasn’t a shock. We knew this day was coming, and most of us wanted it to. Based off what I’ve gauged, most people seem to like it. The rule change puts a new emphasis on extra points, which were being called good at a rate of 99.5% . Moving it back to the 15 is a 33 yard field goal, which will drop that number. As for exacts, we can’t say how many point it’ll drop, but my guess is it’ll be in 80 percentile.
Adding bad weather would drop it farther, and with a stadium or two dealing with that every Sunday, it’ll make the kick more challenging. Overall, that one point could decide a game. Shanks are always possibilities too. Can you imagine shanking a 33 yard kick at the end of the game when your team is trying to tie?
The returnable two point conversion is a smaller addition, but they get picked off all the time. That could a new wrinkle to games.
This is one of the smarter things the NFL has done in the past year or so. Let’s hope that trend continues.