NFL

Will Ryan Tannehill Live Up To His Contract?

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In order to truly be considered a Super Bowl contender in today’s NFL, more often than not you’ll need an elite quarterback.

Elite play from the game’s most glorified position is something the Miami Dolphins haven’t seen since the Dan Marino days and he hasn’t played a down in 16 years. However, the franchise is hopeful they finally have their guy in Ryan Tannehill.

Now, this is not to say Tannehill is the next Marino by any means, but from a pure talent standpoint, he’s the best guy Miami has had under center since the Hall of Famer, which is why the organization felt the need to lock Tannehill up long-term.

General manager Dennis Hickey is expecting great things from his signal caller in the near future.

“Signing Ryan to this deal is important to our franchise,” Hickey stated. “He is a proven quarterback in this league that combines a talented skill set with work ethic, passion, toughness and a team-first mentality.”

Eyebrows were probably raised when Hickey referred to Tannehill as a ‘proven quarterback’, but if you look at his numbers (albeit in a small sample size), you’ll notice a steady incline for the former Texas A&M product.

During Tannehill’s three seasons, he’s increased his completion percentage, passing yards, passing yards per game, touchdowns and quarterback rating.

Despite his steady improvement from season-to-season, does it quality Tannehill as being a proven quarterback?

Probably not, because a quarterback can’t truly become elite until they’re able to prove themselves in postseason play, which is something Tannehill doesn’t know about to this point. As a franchise, Miami hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2008, when they lost to a Ray Lewis led Ravens squad in the Wildcard Round.

Feels like a long time ago, right?

After coming to terms to a six-year, $96 million extension, it’s clear Miami feels Tannehill can steer the ship back in the proper direction.

Dolphins Vice President Mike Tannebaum doesn’t have any doubts about Tannehill’s ability and character. 

“We are thrilled that we were able to sign Ryan to an extension,” Tannenbaum said. “He is an ascending talent, a team leader and checks all of the boxes you are looking for at the position.”

We already know Miami’s defense should be really good, especially after the addition of Ndamukong Suh, but it’s up to Tannehill and the offense to not waste the effort of Suh and Company.

And if you ask Tannehill, the offense shouldn’t have too much trouble putting up points.

”As far as natural pass-catchers, guys that snag the ball with their hands and are athletic, I think it’s definitely the most athletic group we’ve had,” Tannehill told reporters after a team workout.

Miami lost Mike Wallace, but they added Greg Jennings, Kenny Stills and rookie DaVante Parker. Not to mention, running back Lamar Miller showed signs of being an every down back a season ago. The Miami native rushed for 1,099 yards on 216 carries, which is a 5.1 yards per carry average.

If Miami is able to establish a legit ground attack, it’ll open things up for Tannehill and company even more. All of this sounds good on paper, but if Tannehill and the Dolphins come up short of the postseason yet again, people will continue to question if the front office made the proper investment.


About Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels is an NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has several years of experience covering the NFL and NCAA football. He's the radio color commentator for Lincoln University football. Mark's work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and Yard Barker.