The Miami Dolphins need Ryan Tannehill to be healthy if they want any chance of competing for a playoff spot come autumn.
Last year, things went south for the team from South Beach. After reaching the playoffs for the first time this decade in 2016, Miami had high hopes for last season before a torn ACL to Ryan Tannehill scuttled those dreams.
With Jay Cutler replacing him, the Dolphins limped to a third place finish in the AFC East, going 6-10. However, there is good news on the horizon, with Tannehill partaking fully in the team’s first OTAs of the spring. While there is no contact allowed per terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Tannehill can test the knee by dropping back and moving around in the pocket.
Turning 30 years old in July, the former Texas A&M star has been more productive than some realize. In five seasons, Tannehill started 77 games and threw for 18,455 yards and 106 touchdowns against 66 interceptions. This year, the challenge will be even greater after Jarvis Landry was traded to the Cleveland Browns in March.
Miami has a few advantages going into the campaign, including a weakened Buffalo Bills team and a rebuilding group in the New York Jets. The AFC as a whole is also atrocious, so a wild card spot can likely be had by a team going 9-7.
Ultimately, though, Tannehill’s ability to rebound will be the biggest factor in whether the Dolphins can be relevant by the midseason point. If they aren’t, perhaps Miami starts seriously considering its future with Tannehill, who could be released after this season for a cap savings of $13.2 million in 2019, and $20 million in 2020, the final year of the pact.