If the New Orleans Saints need to pivot to a different backup quarterback, Ryan Tannehill will reportedly be a target.
On Tuesday, it looked like Teddy Bridgewater was headed back to the New Orleans Saints. But a deal is not yet done, and the Miami Dolphins were making a late push on Wednesday as free agency opened. If Bridgewater does not return to New Orleans, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network expects Ryan Tannehill to surface as option to become Drew Brees’ backup.
Tannehill’s departure from the Dolphins is a formality at this point, pending a move to sign a different starting quarterback, even with a solid chunk of dead money to absorb. Miami’s effort to trade the former first-round pick has been fruitless, so he’ll be cut and looking for a job soon enough.
Apart from injuries that cost him 24 games over the last three seasons, Tannehill has struggled to find consistency in coaching. He’s had three head coaches in seven seasons (six in which he played), along with four offensive coordinators (Mike Sherman, 2012-13; Bill Lazor, 2014-2015; Clyde Christensen, 2016-2017; Dowell Loggains, 2018).
By comparison, with acknowledgement of the rare longevity, Brees and Saints’ head coach Sean Payton have been attached at the hip since 2006. Going a little further down the coaching pecking order, Pete Carmichael Jr. has been in place as quarterbacks coach, quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator and then offensive coordinator in New Orleans since 2006 as well.
Saints assistant general manager Jeff Ireland was the general manager in Miami, and drafted Tannehill eighth overall in 2012. That tie may explain the Saints’ potential interest.
If Bridgewater departs, no follow-up move to add a quarterback will come without Payton’s cooperation and stamp of approval. If he vouches for Tannehill, it will be done regardless of any input Ireland may have.
For Tannehill the New York Jets, where he would reunite with Adam Gase and become Sam Darnold’s backup, have stood out as a potential landing spot. But if the Saints wind up looking for a backup themselves, working with Brees and Payton looks perfect as a soft landing and stable structure to get his career on the right track.