The Dolphins soap opera with quarterback Ryan Tannehill that has gone on for the past three seasons came to an end on Friday. However not with an outright release, but instead with a creative trade with the Tennessee Titans.
So it’s the Joe Flacco trade, with a touch of the Case Keenum trade mixed in. https://t.co/4i1SWDPwOy
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2019
Obviously, Miami GM Chris Grier and Tennessee GM John Robinson had been in discussion for Tannehill, and a creative way in which Miami could get much-needed salary cap relief, while Tennessee got a quality backup for their star-starter Marcus Mariota.
So, as part of this deal the Dolphins are paying a large portion of Tannehill’s new contract signing bonus at $5 million dollars of actual money. And, while that will not give great salary-cap relief to the Fins for this season (as Tannehill’s dead money is $18 million) it will help them for 2020 on the cap:
Dolphins picked up $5 million of $7 million guarantee Titans give Tannehill. That was a way to get a better draft pick out of Titans in 2020.
Team saves $8 million in 2019 cap space. There's $18 million in dead money. Team saves $25 million in 2020 cap. No dead money.
— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) March 15, 2019
The incentive for doing this deal was when Tennessee apparently agreed to give Miami a better draft pick in the 2020 draft. That will now be a 4th rounder next year and the teams swapped draft picks for the upcoming 2019 draft. Tennessee now has Miami’s six rounder and the Dolphins the Titans 7th rounder.
This trade is out of the same creative mold of what the Browns did two years ago when they accepted Brock Osweiler and his $70 million contract that they could absorb under the cap from the Texans in exchange for Houston giving them a second pick.
Tennessee wanted to make this trade, as insurance against Mariota being injured as he has been throughout his career. That included him being out critical games down the stretch of this season, when Tennessee had to turn to back up Blaine Gabbert.
Tannehill leaves the Dolphins after two recent injury-plagued seasons. After tearing his ACL at the end of 2016, Tannehill elected not to have surgery. Instead, he went the route of physical therapy and strengthening the knee, but it betrayed him, when he was injured in training camp of 2017 during a practice.
Then, Tannehill did have the surgery and missed the entire 2017 season. He returned to start 2018 helping the Dolphins win their first three games before suffering a shoulder injury in an October game with the Bengals that sidelined him for another five games.
Miami eventually lost their final three games of the season to finish at 7 -9 and missed the playoffs for the second straight year. That led Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to fire coach Adam Gase, and the handwriting was on the wall that Tannehill at both a high price in actual money and salary cap space would be gone one way or the other.
The larger question is what do the Dolphins do now in trying to find a veteran through free agency or another possible trade? And, now they look towards the distinct possibility of drafting a quarterback in the first two rounds of the upcoming NFL Draft.
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