Tua Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa


The Dolphins have little depth at quarterback after Tua Tagovailoa.

Amid little depth behind quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, the Miami Dolphins could turn to former starter Ryan Tannehill in free agency.

CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin floated Tannehill as an option for a backup quarterback. A former No. 8 draft pick in 2012, Tannehill played for the Dolphins from 2012 to 2018 before he spent the past four seasons with the Tennessee Titans.

“After two injury-riddled seasons to close his Tennessee Titans career, Tannehill’s days as a regular starter are over,” Benjamin wrote. “But the 35-year-old offers extensive experience [151 starts], and the Miami Dolphins’ current insurance plan behind Tua Tagovailoa consists of Mike White and Skylar Thompson, who’ve combined to go 3-6 in emergency starts during their respective careers. Tannehill knows Miami well, and his script-dependent style fits Mike McDaniel’s offense.”

Tannehill won’t cost the Dolphins a similar amount to his four-year, $118 million deal with the Titans that expired after the season. Spotrac projects him for $7.7 million annually, but the Dolphins have only $1.89 million in salary cap space.

That said, Tannehill may not reach $7.7 million as his availability approaches June. In addition, the Dolphins could clear $3.5 million in cap space by releasing White since the team won’t carry more than three quarterbacks on the roster.

A 2019 Pro Bowler, Tannehill had quality moments throughout his career thus far. He has maintained a 64.3% completion rate for his career, and he has a 81-70 record as a starter and 2-3 playoff record.

Ryan Tannehill Could Thrive in Tua Tagovailoa Goes Down

Tannehill also showed he can thrive with big-time talent around him as he did in the 2020 season when he threw for 3,819 yards and 33 touchdowns. That Titans squad had wide receivers A.J. Brown, Corey Davis, and tight end Jonnu Smith catching the ball.

In Miami, Tannehill will have  wide receivers Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and Odell Beckham Jr. catching the ball plus a reunion with Smith. While Tannehill had a down year in 2023 in eight starts, the Titans didn’t have the same offensive talent compared to the Dolphins amid a 6-11 record.

“To put it even more simply, the Dolphins are a talented offense. They’re not exactly built to require a transcendent talent under center,” Benjamin wrote. “In fact, if they just get consistent competence in that spot, they should be competitive. A Tannehill reunion would satisfy those basic requirements, at least for the backup spot.”

Tannehill sustained an ankle sprain in 2023 on the same ankle he injured in 2022 where he missed five games. Over the past two seasons, Tannehill has a 9-11 record amid 4,152 yards passing for 17 touchdowns versus 13 interceptions.

“No one would actually perceive Tannehill as a threat to Tagovailoa’s job security at this point. And who says a starting quarterback can’t return to his old flame in a new role, Benjamin wrote.

Ryan Tannehill Could Become Nick Foles 2.0

Tannehill could serve in a capacity that sparked a recent Super Bowl winner.

“Nick Foles may be an NFL anomaly, but remember that his historic Super Bowl run with the Philadelphia Eagles came years after the Eagles — the team that drafted and first started him — exiled him via trade, then later welcomed him back only as the emergency No. 2 behind a new, more talented face of the franchise in Carson Wentz,” Benjamin wrote.

“That reunion may have felt like an unusual retread at the time, but it worked out pretty well in the end,” Benjamin concluded.

Matthew Davis covers the NFL, WNBA and college sports for Heavy.com. As a contributing writer to the StarTribune, he has also covered Minnesota prep sports since 2016. More about Matthew Davis

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