The Dolphins, at least statistically, might not find a veteran quarterback better than Ryan Tannehill this offseason, but they’re ready to move on, because, well, they now know that he’s not the guy to lead them to anything meaningful. More importantly, the owner knows it.
So who’s the best option to replace him – at least for a year or so – while a rookie draft pick is developed?
I asked two respected longtime NFL executives and got different answers.
One of the executives said, without question, it’s Teddy Bridgewater. But another said he would be eyeing Nick Foles as a one or two-year bridge starter.
Additionally, the Dolphins likely will seriously explore using a first or second-day draft pick on a quarterback.
But unless Miami trades a ton to move up from 13th for Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins (who hasn’t declared for the draft), none of the handful of other first or second day QB draft prospects might be ready to start immediately, a group that includes Duke’s Daniel Jones, Missouri’s Drew Lock, West Virginia’s Will Grier and perhaps NC State’s Ryan Finley.
Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray hasn’t said if he will pursue an NFL career or stick with plans to play baseball.
Regardless of whether a high pick is used on QB, a veteran starter needs to be added as a stopgap, and four are logical options:
1) Bridgewater. An impending free agent, he struggled in his first start in three years on Sunday, going 13 for 22 for 118 yards, one touchdown and one interception in a 33-14 loss to Carolina. Bridgewater likely would have interest in Miami, but he lost one supporter when Adam Gase was fired.
2) Joe Flacco. Very likely to be cut or traded by Baltimore. He’s had a passer rating between 80 and 84 each of the past four seasons, well below Tannehill’s this season. He could be one-year stopgap.
3) Case Keenum. Another potential one-year stopgap. Denver can save $11 million in cap space by cutting him. His numbers (18 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 81.2 rating) are worse than Tannehill’s but he would be cheaper.
4) Nick Foles. When he’s good, he’s very good, including the final two games of this season (63 for 82 for 692 yards, six touchdowns and two picks in wins against Houston and Washington) and a 115 rating, six touchdowns and one pick in last year’s Super Bowl run. The Eagles will save $18.6 million against the cap by cutting him. He’s better than his 88.5 career passer rating suggests.
One potential option was removed when Tampa Bay announced it’s retaining Jameis Winston. The Dolphins might pursue Derek Carr if Oakland is willing to trade him. If none of those materialize, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh McCown and perhaps Tyrod Taylor would be stopgap alternatives.