The Titans clearly have concerns about Marcus Mariota. That’s why they’re bringing in Ryan Tannehill to provide insurance at the quarterback position.
Many people believe Marcus Mariota is facing a make or break season for the Titans. If he fails, now Tennessee has a reasonable alternative at the quarterback position. At the very least, Ryan Tannehill will give coach Mike Vrabel a guy to turn to if Mariota falters.
The Dolphins seemed prepared to release Tannehill, but instead they were able to get some meaningful assets in return for his services. According to Ian Rapoport, the Dolphins will receive a 2019 7th round pick and a 4th round selection in 2020. The Titans will get Tannehill as well as a 6th round pick in this year’s draft.
This deal may not seem like a seismic transaction, but it’s got a lot of interesting ramifications for both teams. Assigning grades on a deal with so many far-reaching tentacles isn’t easy.
Titans Grade: B
Make no mistake about it, this trade should send a clear message to Mariota. His inconsistency is a real concern for the Titans. The combination of injuries and uneven play when he’s been healthy makes 2019 a huge season for the former first round pick.
Vrabel and company clearly weren’t comfortable going with Blaine Gabbert as the backup. Tannehill gives them an experienced backup with more upside. He struggled with injury issues of his own in Miami, but he also flashes serious arm talent. Tannehill shouldn’t be counted on as a starter, but he does profile as one of the better backups in the NFL. The interesting question is just how much heat he can put on Mariota.
Ryan Tannehill, 2019 6th round pick
2020 4th round pick, 2019 7th round pick
It’s worth noting here that Tannehill will be restructuring his contract in Tennessee. The grade would be much lower if the Titans were taking on the $18 million and change the players was originally due this season.
The only downside here is giving up a fourth round pick for a player who was likely going to hit the open market for free. That prevents the Titans from receiving an A, but their grade remains solid because of the protection Tannehill gives them at a crucial position.
Dolphins Grade: A-
The Dolphins get the better end of this deal because they got assets for a player they were wiling to lose for free. Some may argue with the logic behind the organization’s willingness to cut ties with Tannehill, but Miami’s front office clearly wants to find a new franchise quarterback. They’d lost faith in Tannehill.
Really, anything Miami gets here has to be considered a bonus. In a perfect world, they could have transformed Tannehill into 2019 draft assets, but a fourth rounder in 2019 is a very valuable asset. Don’t be surprised if the Dolphins try to package that pick to move up to grab a quarterback they like in this year’s draft.
This isn’t a deal that will help Miami win in 2019, but it’s a subtle win for the front office that will help accelerate their rebuild.