Regardless of his season-ending knee injury, the Dolphins seem confident in Ryan Tannehill as their quarterback of the future. There’s good reason for them to believe in him, especially after the strides he made under Adam Gase, and it appears he’s on track to be full strength for next season.
The only caution when it comes to proceeding with Tannehill is that Miami must essentially double his salary to keep him, which means absorbing a cap hit of $20.3 million for 2017.
The Dolphins can get out of most of that money, as well as the rest of a contract that will cost them $60.4 million in cap over the 2018-20 seasons, if they opt out of the deal by March 13. If they go that route, here are five available quarterbacks they can consider:
This could be an interesting name to watch even though he plummeted last season. He has history with coach Adam Gase, who was Chicago’s offensive coordinator in 2015 when Cutler posted a career-high 92.3 passer rating. The Bears are expected to cut him this spring, and there might not be much of a market for him at 33. Miami could offer a one-year deal to use him as a bridge to a quarterback it drafts, or as a possible starter going into the season if Tannehill isn’t healthy.
This is the most accomplished quarterback available. Romo’s last healthy season wasa 2014, when he completed nearly 70 percent of his passes, had 34 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Since then, he’s made four starts. Each of his last two years were derailed by injury, and rookie Dak Prescott took his job this season. Any team interested in hosting his comeback try will likely have to trade for him.
Keenum will be one of the cheapest veterans on the market after making $3.6 million this season, and there’s good reason for that. He started nine games for the Rams this year and put up a 60.9 completion percentage, nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Two organizations have tried to make it work with Keenum, and he’s never been better than OK.
Taylor will be an interesting player to watch no matter who picks him up. The Bills are rumored to be letting him go, and he presents the best mix of talent, youth and potential among the gettable quarterbacks. He is set to make about $17 million in 2017 and could more than that as a free agent, meaning the Dolphins wouldn’t save much (if any) money by making this move.
The most coveted backup quarterback in the league, Garoppolo is going to command a huge ransom from anyone who wants to pry him away from New England. He’s got three years in the Patriots’ system, looked tremendous filling in for Tom Brady briefly this season and just turned 25. ESPN reported in December that it would likely take a package of at least a first- and fourth-round pick to acquire Garoppolo, and the Dolphins have a thin stock of selections this year as it is.
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