The dust has begun to settle on free agency with some moves will still be made. And, in some situations, like what Ryan Tannehill did for the Dolphins Wednesday, players help themselves and the team by restructuring their deals.
Tannehill did both, as Armando Salguero laid out in the Miami Herald. He agreed to take his $19.8 million 2018 salary in the form of a signing bonus that can be spread out over future years. So, his cap number for 2018 is now $8.6 million instead.
That saved the Dolphins $11.2 million to use on free agents. This savings is an addition to the Fins having released DT Ndamukong Suh, LB Lawrence Timmons and TE Julius Thomas to save money, too.
The Dolphins are looking hard at trying to sign former Bears free agent lineman Josh Sitton, and that cap freedom created by the moves above will help.
The question now looming is, did Tannehill just make it easier for the Dolphins to potentially go ahead and draft his replacement?
While the exact figures are not known, yet, Tannehill’s cap number in future years probably greatly reduced from what was $18.75 million next year and $19.5 million in 2019.
This means, that if the Dolphins go ahead and draft one of the top QB prospects in late April, there is much more freedom and flexibility for them to get rid of Tannehill next off season.
Remembering that he is coming off ACL surgery as well, the QB situation is still not fully certain for 2018, especially, if the the Dolphins do take a quarterback with the 11th overall pick, or even, move up higher in the top 10 to draft one.
Then, that QB would make on average around $7.5 million per season for his initial four year deal like for second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky of the Bears last year. However, in the last two years, the average of a deal for a rookie taken in the top 10 would be around $8.5-9 million.
By that time, the decision will have been made on Tannehill’s future role.
And by lowering his cap number significantly later for taking the guarantee now, Tannehill made that decision easier.
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