The Miami Dolphins are dedicated to signing quarterback Ryan Tannehill to a contract extension before Week 1 of the 2015 NFL season kicks off, reports NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport (via Dan Hanzus of NFL.com).
Tannehill, the Dolphins’ 2012 first-round draft pick, is set to make only $660,000 in base salary in what is, for now, the final year of his rookie contract. His total salary cap hit for the year is just over $4 million and includes both prorated signing and roster bonuses.
However, if the Dolphins pick up Tannehill’s fifth-year option, that would cost them $16 million against the salary cap in 2016. This is an unsupportable figure, given the recent contract extension awarded center Mike Pouncey that costs over $10 million against the cap next year and, of course, the signing of free agent defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, who carries a $28.6 million cap hit in 2016.
The goal is to sign Tannehill to a long-term extension in order to not just lock down the player the Dolphins view as their franchise passer but also to make his cap hit more manageable in 2016 and moving forward. All told, Tannehill could ultimately make $16 million in 2016, but the Dolphins can structure the payments so that it has minimal cap impact, such as additional prorated bonuses.
Tannehill has seen steady improvement as a professional quarterback. His completion percentage rose from 58.3 percent his rookie season to 66.4 percent in 2014. He also recorded career highs in passing yardage in 2014, breaking the 4,000-yard mark for the first time, and had a career-best 27 passing touchdowns[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#1bc4b6″]He also recorded career highs in passing yardage in 2014, breaking the 4,000-yard mark for the first time, and had a career-best 27 passing touchdown[/mks_pullquote] and a career-low 12 interceptions. This was aided by a quarterback-friendly offense installed by coordinator Bill Lazor, who took over for Mike Sherman last year.
Locking Tannehill down for the long term is just one step for the Dolphins to achieve a stable offense. They also need to rebuild their receiving corps, which saw Brian Hartline be released and Mike Wallace traded this offseason.
But it’s clear that the Dolphins feel that Tannehill is the quarterback to build around and his eventual extension should reflect that fact.
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