DAVIE—However regrettable it might seem to anyone on the outside that the Dolphins paid $10 million for what Jay Cutler did last season, coach Adam Gase still believes it was the right move.
Gase, who handpicked Cutler instead of incumbent backup Matt Moore as his top choice to replace injured starter Ryan Tannehill, chose him because of his familiarity from their time together in Chicago in 2015. How much did that actually pay off? Cutler was in the bottom third of the league in all major passing categories.
Gase was frustrated at some points in the season, but defended the move overall.
“He was somebody who had been in this system before,” Gase said. “We thought that we could get our guys moving in the same direction pretty quickly. It didn’t happen as fast as I was hoping. There’s a lot of good that he personally did. There was probably some games where we wish we could have done some different things.
“When you look back at it, it’s not like there were a ton of options to find a starting quarterback. We felt like Matt was a good option for us, but we felt like having two guys that we knew that could play in a regular season game was our best chance.”
Few proven quarterbacks were available at the time besides Cutler and Colin Kapernick. Kaepernick would’ve been a tougher fit given how close Miami was to starting the season, though he was under consideration. Cutler was a logical choice at the time, but it didn’t work out.
Cutler, who was 34 and retired when Tannehill suffered a season-ending knee injury in training camp, was up and down all year on his way to completing 62 percent of his passes, throwing 19 touchdowns with 14 interceptions, averaging a career-low 190.4 yards per game and posting an 80.8 passer rating.
The most gut-wrenching turn of the Cutler Coaster was his brilliant performance to beat the Patriots on Monday Night Football, followed by a four-fumble, three-interception disaster at Buffalo with the Dolphins’ playoff hopes on the line.
Moore was already under contract for $2.2 million this season and had played well in Tannehill’s absence the year before. Over the final month of last season, he completed 63.2 percent of his passes, averaged 180.3 yards per game and had eight touchdowns against three interceptions. He also went 29 of 36 for 289 yards, a touchdown and an interception in the playoff loss at Pittsburgh.
Moore seemed to fall out of favor with Gase late this season, and Miami’s future quarterback plans appear to be more likely to include David Fales than Moore.
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