Former NFL GM had a brutally honest assessment of Ryan Tannehill, and the Dolphins may be stuck with him
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On Sunday, the Miami Dolphins fell to 1-4 with a 30-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Offensively, the Dolphins were held to fewer than 230 yards of offense for the third time in five games and a lot of the blame is being placed on Ryan Tannehill. The fifth-year quarterback threw for 191 yards, had no touchdowns and threw two interceptions.
On Friday, Mike Lombardi, a former general manager for the Cleveland Browns and special assistant for the New England Patriots, was a guest on "The Bill Simmons Podcast" and spoke about the status of Tannehill.
Bill Simmons asked Lombardi if NFL teams that need a quarterback should take a gamble and trade for Tannehill if the Dolphins give up on him. Lombardi had a brutally honest response, noting that teams should not trade for Tannehill at any cost because he doesn't solve the problem.
Bill Simmons: Let's say you are one of the eight teams that needs a quarterback. Let's say you're running the Bears — [Jay] Cutler's out of the year or whatever — and Miami calls you and says 'We want to dump Tannehill. Third-round pick. You can have him right now." And the salary-cap stuff isn't that bad. Would you roll the dice on Tannehill for a third-round pick?
Mike Lombardi: No, because here is my rule as a GM ... My rule is this: I never want to trade for a player or sign a player and the next day say 'We really need to get a better player.' I never want to do that. I don't want to sign a guard and the next day say, 'We really need a guard.' That's not the business we are in. We're in the solve-the-problem [business]. Now, we have to be tactical and I understand the whole theory of getting a little bit better at first ... The reality of it is, when I trade for Ryan Tannehill, I still need a quarterback, so why would I? Regardless of the price. The price doesn't matter.
The Dolphins are going to be at a crossroads with Tannehill after the season and trading him may be the best solution. But if Lombardi is right, the Dolphins may be stuck with Tannehill.
Prior to the 2015 season, Miami and Tannehill agreed to a four-year, $77 million extension, which was added to the final two years of his rookie contract. He is now in the second year of what is essentially a six-year, $95.3 million contract, making $9.3 million this season.
However, next season is when Tannehill starts to get expensive for the Dolphins. His salary is scheduled to jump to $18.0 million and he will take up $20.3 million against the 2017 salary cap.
Interestingly, the Dolphins could cut Tannehill prior to the 2017 season and they would only have to pay him $8.2 million of the $77 million extension. Only $3.5 million of Tannehill's 2017 salary is guaranteed at this point. In addition, they gave him an $11.5 million signing bonus, but $6.8 million of that was offset when the extension lowered his 2016 salary from $16.2 million to $9.3 million.
The problem is Tannehill would still take up $10.4 million against the salary cap in 2017 if he is cut. So there is incentive for the Dolphins to try and trade Tannehill if they decide he is no longer the answer.
But as Lombardi made clear above, that may not be easy ... at any cost.
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