2018 NFL Draft: Miami Dolphins want QB depth beyond Ryan Tannehill

Adam Gase, Mike Tannenbaum and Chris Grier each have a role in rebuilding the Dolphins. (AP)

MOBILE, Ala.—If everything goes according to the Dolphins’ plans, Ryan Tannehill will be their starting quarterback for years to come. Plans don’t always work out, of course, and they haven’t with Tannehill the past two seasons.

But even if he comes back healthy and continues the improvement he showed under Adam Gase in 2016, Miami management wants to get younger and better at the position to avoid the snafu it encountered last summer. That means quarterback is in play with the No. 11 pick in the draft, and the Dolphins are doing extensive evaluation on Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield at the Senior Bowl.

“You have to balance winning for today and developing for tomorrow, and last year obviously didn’t go the way we hoped,” vice president Mike Tannenbaum said this afternoon. “It gave us a chance to reflect on some things we could do better, and part of that is making sure we have good depth at as many positions as possible knowing that over the course of a 16-game season, they’re going to play. That’s what history shows us.”

When Tannehill went down early in training camp, the Dolphins weren’t satisfied proceeding with Matt Moore as their No. 1 quarterback for the season and they had no up and comer developing behind him. That’s not a situation they want in the future.

Miami lured Jay Cutler out of retirement with a $10 million contract, as opposed to rolling that space over into next season’s salary cap, and it didn’t work out. Cutler completed 62 percent of his passes, threw 19 touchdowns against 14 interceptions, averaged a career-worst 190.4 yards per game and posting an 80.8 passer rating. He ranked in the bottom half of NFL starters in all categories.

The Dolphins also turned to 27-year-old journeyman David Fales, who has a chance to be the backup next season but wouldn’t seem to have the upside of a first- or second-rounder in this year’s draft.

Philosophically, Miami would want a quarterback that play behind Tannehill as a rookie and eventually develop into a starter or a trade asset if Tannehill cements himself as a franchise player.

“We’re always going to try to put the best team together where we have players, not only in starting roles but backup roles, that can go in and contribute right away,” Tannenbaum said. “There’s always a balancing act of trying to put a good team on the field, but knowing that you’re going to have quality backups behind them as well.”

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