Ryan Tannehill free agency recap: Top landing spots, projected contract, updates, rumors and more


Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was a big reason the Tennessee Titans advanced all the way to the AFC Championship game this past season, and his performance was enough to warrant a new, lucrative contract. On Sunday, it was reported that the Titans had signed Tannehill to a long-term contract extension that will pay the 31-year-old $118 million over four years.

Tannehill was virtually dumped by the Miami Dolphins last offseason, and ended up in Nashville as Marcus Mariota’s backup. Mariota was part of the Titans’ longterm plans, and they wanted a veteran to come in and push him to elevate his game. That’s not exactly what happened.

After the Titans started 2-4, head coach Mike Vrabel made the decision to bench Mariota for Tannehill. Immediately, the Titans’ offense improved. Tannehill went 7-3 as the starter in the regular season and completed 70.3 percent of his passes for 2,742 yards, 22 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He finished the regular season with the highest passer rating in the NFL (117.5), and was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month for December, when he went 90 of 132 for 1,322 yards, 12 touchdowns, two interceptions and a 124.6 passer rating while leading the Titans to an average of 31.4 points per game. 

Tannehill took a back seat to Derrick Henry in the postseason, but still passed for 369 yards, five touchdowns and one interception in three games. Here’s a look at his offseason before agreeing to stay with the Titans.

Former top landing spots for Tannehill

  1. Tennessee Titans
  2. New England Patriots
  3. Los Angeles Chargers
  4. Indianapolis Colts
  5. Las Vegas Raiders

It’s hard to imagine the Titans will let go of Tannehill and have to start over at the quarterback position. If a longterm deal can’t be reached, I expect the franchise tag to be utilized. Maybe the Patriots and Titans will swap quarterbacks? Tom Brady is considering leaving Foxborough and has been linked to Tennessee. If Brady does leave, the Patriots will then need a quarterback, and Tannehill could be available. The Chargers are moving on from Philip Rivers and many expect them to draft a quarterback in the first round this year. If that does not happen, they could take advantage in free agency, where Tannehill may be available. Could Tannehill play for a rival of the Titans in 2020? Possibly. The Colts missed the playoffs with Jacoby Brissett under center in 2019, and they could be looking to upgrade. As for the Raiders, it’s not a given that they will want to move on from Derek Carr, but Jon Gruden is always interested in different quarterbacks. The Raiders would likely draft a signal caller or pursue Brady if they did ditch Carr, but Tannehill could be considered a long shot to head out west. 

Could Tom Brady’s time with the Pats be coming to an end? What are the chances he’ll wind up in Tennessee? Will Brinson and the Pick Six Podcast Superfriends break it all down; listen below, and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.

Projected market value for Tannehill in free agency

Over at Spotrac, one of the leading providers of NFL contract and salary cap information, they had projected Tannehill’s estimated contract at four years, $122 million with an average annual salary of $30.5 million. That would have made him the sixth highest-paid quarterback in the NFL when it comes to average salary. It definitely sounds like a lot of money for someone who turns 32 this offseason, but you have to remember that we are talking about the quarterback position.

Scouting report on Tannehill (pros and cons):

Pros:

  • Accurate passer, especially on outside throws
  • Loves to take chances, knows how to fit passes inside tight windows
  • Confident leader, creative on the run/outside of the pocket
  • More mobile than he gets credit for (career-high four rushing touchdowns in 2019)

Cons:

  • Turns 32 in July
  • Injuries: Tore ACL in 2017, shoulder injury took him off the field in 2018
  • One-year wonder? Consistency was an issue in Miami

Rumors, reports and updates

Titans, Tannehill agree to terms on four-year, $118 million contract

Sunday, March 15: “The Tennessee Titans and quarterback Ryan Tannehill have agreed to terms on a long-term contract extension, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. Tannehill had been a candidate to receive the franchise tag. The deal will pay $118 million over four years, according to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington. The deal includes an average annual salary of $29.5 million and $91 million in total guarantees. The Texas A&M product is now the seventh highest paid quarterback in terms of average annual salary.”

Read more from Josh Edwards’ story, here.

Titans not interested in Tom Brady, on verge of Ryan Tannehill extension, per report

Sunday, March 15: “As Brady is set to hit free agency this week, the Titans are working on re-signing Ryan Tannehill (per ESPN’s Dianna Russini). Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Titans are on the verge of a new multi-year extension with Tannehill. 

Tannehill is coming off a career resurgence with the Titans. When he replaced Marcus Mariota, Tennessee became one of the hottest teams in the AFC, and Tannehill took them to the conference title game. Tannehill completed 70.3% of his passes for 2,742 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions in 10 starts for Tennessee, which went 7-3 in those games. He led the league in yards per attempt (9.6), adjusted yards gained per pass attempt (10.2), yards per completion (13.6) and passer rating (117.5).”

Read more from Jeff Kerr’s story here

Titans focused on re-signing Ryan Tannehill, not landing Tom Brady

Wednesday, March 11: “The team has reportedly had intense talks with Tannehill as free agency approaches, and are ‘focused‘ on “getting a deal done” — per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. So much so they’ll possibly use the franchise tag on him if nothing is agreed to by the league’s new tag deadline of March 16, according to multiple reports, which would be a clear and definitive indication they’re somewhat out on trying to obtain Brady.”

Read more from Patrik Walker’s story, here

Titans to consider letting Tannehill test the market, per report

Wednesday, March 4: “At the NFL combine last week, the big decisions facing Tennessee were a popular subject of conversation, and ESPN’s Matthew Berry says he has a good idea of what the Titans will end up doing. According to a ‘Titans insider’ Berry apparently spoke with, he expects the team to franchise tag Henry if they can’t agree to a long-term deal, and allow Tannehill to test open market.”

Read more from Jordan Dajani’s story, here

Titans GM on Tannehill: ‘We’ll see how it goes’

Tuesday, Feb. 25: “We’ll see how that goes,” Jon Robinson said, via Paul Kuharsky of PaulKuharsky.com. “His contract is up. We’ll have those contract negotiations with a lot of our players. Like I said, I’d like to keep as many of those guys on the team as possible.”

“But the 2020 Titans, they’re going to look different than the 2019 Titans. That’s the way it is. The 2019 Titans looked different than the 2018 Titans. There’s rookies that come in. There’s trades, free agency, there’s waiver claims. And we told our team that. They understand that. They’re professionals.”

Read more from Jeff Kerr’s story here.

Derrick Henry believes Tannehill is the future

Tuesday, Feb. 18: “During a recent appearance on Taylor Lewan and Will Compton’s Bussin’ With the Boys podcast, Henry admitted that there are other decent options out there when it comes to quarterbacks, including arguably the best player of all time, but asked, why wouldn’t the Titans want Tannehill back?”

‘[Brady] still can play,’ Henry said, via Pro Football Talk. ‘Obviously, age doesn’t matter for him, he’s still playing at a high level, but my question would be: Why ain’t Ryan good enough, you know? . . . Speaking for everyone on the offense, we fed off of him . . . Ryan Tannehill is our quarterback and went to the AFC Championship, why would we not want Ryan back?'”

Read more from Jordan Dajani’s story here

Tannehill lands new agent ahead of free agency

Wednesday, Feb. 12: “The 31-year-old quarterback is now readying for what should be a monstrous payday, shedding his previous representation and joining Creative Artists Agency, a mega-conglomerate of talent known for negotiating some of the biggest contracts in sports. Things get much more intriguing from there, considering CAA also represents league-leading rusher Derrick Henry, who is also an unrestricted free agent set to break open the piggy bank in 2020. Considering the Titans would like to retain both, if at all possible, can go forward having more efficient conversations in trying to make that a reality.”

Read more from Patrik Walker’s story here

Tannehill says he’d like to return to Titans

Monday, Jan. 27: “I’d like for things to line up and I’d like to be back (in Tennessee) if it all gets worked out, but you never know what is going to happen,” Tannehill said, via the Titans website. “So you have to try and mentally prepare for that as well, what else can happen. We’ll just have to see. But hopefully we can get things worked out and keep building on what we did this year.”

“I do know I love the (Titans) organization, I love the team, I love the guys on the team, and I love the tone coach (Mike) Vrabel sets, and the vision that he has. I feel like we’re headed in the right direction.”

Read more from Jeff Kerr’s story here

Agent’s Take: What’s next for Ryan Tannehill

Wednesday, Jan. 22: “Tannehill is a prime candidate for a non-exclusive franchise tag unless a long term deal can be worked out before the designation window closes. One approach Tannehill’s camp could take in early negotiations is to use the 2015 contract extension Tannehill signed after adjusting the deal to a 2020 salary cap environment as a starting point for serious discussions. Tannehill received a four-year, $77 million extension with $45 million in guarantees from the Dolphins when the salary cap was $143.28 million. With the 2020 salary cap projected to be in the $200 million neighborhood, an equivalent deal would average nearly $27 million per year. Since Tannehill has clearly performed better this season than he ever did with Miami, merely adjusting his Dolphins deal may not be enough to reach an agreement with his camp.”

Read more from Joel Corry’s story here

Tannehill non-committal on future with Titans

Sunday, Jan. 19: “I’ll have to take a step back and look at things here in the offseason,” Tannehill said, via a video from Erik Bacharach of The Tennessean. “Obviously, I love this team. I love what this team was able to accomplish. I have a lot of love for the guys on this team and love playing with them. I will take a step back and look at that. But right now, I just really can’t think of anything but how close we were and this loss.”

Read more from Josh Edwards’ story here





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