Miami Dolphins Lock Down Both 3rd-Round Picks; Ryan Tannehill Still Unsigned

The Miami Dolphins have been busy over the last few days, signing veteran guard Eric Steinbeck and both of their 3rd round draft picks, Olivier Vernon and Michael Egnew.  This leaves the Dolphins first round selection, and assumed future of the franchise, quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the last of the proverbial Mohicans.

Tannehill was selected with the 8th pick in the 2012 NFl Draft, making him the first quarterback to be selected in the first round by the Dolphins since NFL legend Dan Marino.  While reports suggest Tannehill is coming in third in a three-man battle for the starting position, there is no doubt that he will be the face of the franchise moving forward, or so you would think.

With several possible avenues available to the Dolphins, they chose to bank on Tannehill, despite the obvious fact that media pressure was pushing Miami’s needs ahead of the inexperienced quarterback’s talents.  Now it seems that Miami is trying to protect itself from its choices.

The hold up with Tannehill’s contract is the language.

Normal operating procedure for agents securing a rookie contract is to make it worth more than the previous year’s contract for a player of the same position, as well as consistent with the language being used this year in other rookie signings.  This means Tannehill’s agent is workling to get him more money than a rookie signed last year, say Jake Locker (selected 8th) or Blaine Gabbert (10th), while at the same time making sure that the language in the contract is the same as what is being signed by Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III.  At this point, it sounds like the monetary negotiations are on pace, but the language is different from his fellow draft mates.

Tannehill and his agent are balking at the offset language, which is a safeguard the teams can use to protect themselves from bad investments.  If Tannehill does not evolve into the savior that the ‘Fins have been searching for and he is released, traded, or otherwise removed from the field, the Dolphins would not be stuck with having to pay out his initial 4-year contract in its entirety if Tannehill were to sign with another team.

This is an odd stance for an organization to take on a player that was selected to be the future of the franchise.

The rumor today is that a deal is close to being completed, but it seems as if the damage would already be done.  The supreme confidence shown by management on draft day has been proven to be little more than optimistic bravado.  And Tannehill now knows they are not as sure of him as they led him to believe.  At a time when they should be making this kid feel like he is the second coming of Joe Montana (he already is in Marino’s shadow, so I had to give the guy a break), the Dolphins’ front office is instead telling him they want a pre-nuptial agreement.

The positive thing to remember here is, even if Tannehill’s feelings do get hurt, he will most likely have a full season on the bench to get over it.  Especially if he is forced to report late to training camp, which officially starts for the Dolphins on Friday.


Jeff Everette is a featured columnist for, covering the NFL and NBA.  You can follow him on twitter @jeverettesports, or subscribe to Jeff on both Facebook and Google+ for all of his latest articles, opinions, and rants.

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