Free Agency

Tannehill trade, Mariota under Pressure?

The Miami Dolphins have traded QB Ryan Tannehill and a 2019 6th rounder to the Tennessee Titans for a 2020 4th and a 2019 7th. The deal ends 7 years of under-appreciated effort and unrealised potential in Miami. Tannehills era ended with 123TDs-75INTs, a 42-46 career record as a starter and a 62.8% completion rate. Solid but unspectacular, his best season came in 2016 when he helped Miami return to the playoffs for the first time since 07/08 (with Chad Pennington at the helm) but he missed out on the post-season after suffering a week 14 ACL injury which eventually robbed him of the entire 2017 season as well. The Dolphins never figured out how to get the best out of him, failing to build a competitive roster at any point and often leaving him exposed behind dodgy o-lines. After 77 consecutive starts to begin his career the last 3 seasons have seen 24 games missed. If the ‘Fins are in rebuild-mode then this is the right move for them, and recouping trade capital for a player they probably planned to release for free is a bonus.

To the other side of the deal, the Titans have struggled to find adequate depth in the QB room behind their oft-injured no.1 Marcus Mariota. Yet to start a full 16 regular season games, Mariota has flashed but not yet proven any kind of consistency. Great with his legs but underwhelming on mid-deep passing he needs to be pushed to raise his game, and that could be the best result of this move. No one is claiming a QB battle in training camp, but a proven veteran like Tannehill should be a able to step in at any point and marshall the offense without a significant drop-off in production being perceived. When (not if) this opportunity occurs there is the real prospect of Tannehill playing his way into the starting role, especially if he limits the turnovers to which Mariota has been susceptible. I’ve long been a Mariota apologist but its impossible not to feel that he has to step up this season or risk being allowed to walk rather than obtaining a big-money deal.

Over the last 4 seasons Mariotas backups have been Zach Mettenberger, Matt Cassel and Blaine Gabbert, scraping the odd win but hardly spreading confidence through the organisation or fan-base. Now the Titans have a starting-level QB ready to step in at a moments notice.

What of the Dolphins? New HC Brian Flores is a long-term Pats coach who hardly seems likely to want to tank his first season in the top chair, so, do they draft a QB to develop (they hold the 13th pick so Kyle Murray and Dwayne Haskins are likely to be gone) or find a Bridge guy on a cheap deal whilst waiting to see if the 2020 draft has greater QB potential? The roster looks thin (Jake Ruddock and Luke Falk-5 career passes between them) so don’t be surprised to see a 1 year deal for Bortles or Fitzmagic. Theres always the potential for a swoop for Josh Rosen if the ‘Fins feel he’s a better prospect than those in the draft, they may have one or two rivals if thats their plan though.

Categories: Free Agency

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