Ryan Tannehill has wallowed in mediocrity for the better part of his career.
He’s started every game for the Dolphins since arriving in 2012 and in that time, progress has yet to happen.
He went 7-9 as a rookie, 8-8 the next two seasons, and 6-10 last season. After a 1-4 start to 2016, this season looks to be on par for more of the same. And it’s hard to look elsewhere.
Tannehill struggled mightily. His performance against the Titans Sunday in a 30-17 loss is a microcosm of his entire season to this point—191 yards passing, zero touchdowns and two interceptions for a quarterback rating of 62.3, his worst output of the season.
In a recent interview with Bill Simmons, former Cleveland Browns general manager Mike Lombardi said the Dolphins are likely to be stuck with Tannehill, even if they’d rather not be.
“Here is my rule as a GM: 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.”
Tannehill’s contract—he agreed to a four-year, $77 million extension in 2015, which was added to the final two years of his rookie contract, making it essentially a six-year, $95.3 million contract—could stop Miami from being able to deal him. One option for the front office would be to cut him, but he would still take up $10.4 million against the salary cap in 2017. And that obviously makes trading him a more viable solution.
But if most NFL general manger’s brains work like Lombardi’s, the Dolphins are about to have a messy quagmire on their hands.