No, this is not a dig at quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He is the Miami Dolphins‘ franchise quarterback, whether people agree with it or not. Entering 2014, the Dolphins will have one starting quarterback barring injury, and that’s none other than Tannehill. There will be no quarterback competition.
But this is the NFL. Beyond 2014, no one knows if Tannehill will remain the Dolphins’ franchise quarterback. You can never have a shortage of quality players in the NFL, and nowhere is that more evident than at the quarterback position. Outside of Tannehill, the Dolphins have veteran Matt Moore locked up as the primary backup, with Pat Devlin as the third-string quarterback. It’s safe to say that outside of Tannehill, none of Miami’s quarterbacks on the current roster have a spot locked up in 2014.
So the question is begged, should the Dolphins draft a quarterback in 2014?
Obviously, there are more pressing needs for Miami to address in the 2014 NFL Draft. With the 19th overall pick, Miami won’t draft a quarterback. Offensive guard and tackle are positions of need. Running back is another one, along with the cornerback and defensive tackle positions if the Dolphins allow cornerback Brent Grimes and defensive tackle Randy Starks to depart through free agency. Quarterback takes a backseat to all five of those positions as far as needs to address for the Dolphins.
Having said that, Miami will have seven draft selections in May. It would be hard to believe that Miami won’t at least draft a developmental quarterback with one of those seven selections. Moore is due to earn $4 million in 2014, and he has a signing bonus of $1.5 million. If the Dolphins were to cut Moore, they would only owe him $1.5 million, while clearing $4 million off of their books in the process. If the Dolphins were to find a worthy quarterback in the 2014 draft, who’s to say that Moore wouldn’t be disposable?
With Tannehill now considered a veteran quarterback entering his third season, the need for a veteran quarterback disappears if Miami is able to find a cheaper, younger alternative at the position. Remember, as highly regarded as Moore was when he became a free agent in 2013 by Miami, a year can make a huge difference in the NFL. Tannehill has now proven that he can handle being a starting quarterback in the NFL. The desire to retain Moore in 2014 won’t be the same as it was in 2013, when Tannehill was entering his second season as a raw and unproven quarterback in the league.
The Dolphins won’t address the quarterback position in the first two rounds of the draft, but from rounds three through seven, anything goes. Intriguing names that will likely appear on the Dolphins’ radar in the middle rounds are known and proven winners from the college ranks such as Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger, Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd and Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray.
If Miami wishes to draft a quarterback that can enter the organization as a backup plan just in case the Tannehill project goes awry, 2014 is the perfect year to address that need. The quarterback class is stacked, and Miami won’t need to address the position in the first two rounds in order to find a solid young quarterback.
It is never too early to be thinking about the future. If the Dolphins draft a quarterback in the middle rounds of 2014, they accomplish either one of two things. They find their backup quarterback over the next few years, assuming Tannehill proves himself as Miami’s franchise quarterback. If Tannehill fails as Miami’s quarterback of the future, the Dolphins potentially find themselves a new franchise quarterback.