According to a report by Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Miami Dolphins’ head coach Joe Philbin wants to push Ryan Tannehill and has even gone as far to say he would turn to backup Matt Moore if he did not see what he wanted from Tannehill. While Tannehill owns more talent and upside than Moore, he is clearly in the stage of his career where it’s time to “do or die.”
Moore has a large salary for a backup QB. Though he may be the best backup in the NFL, that $5.5 million cap hit Moore carries is tough to swallow. With his recent remarks, Philbin may be doing nothing more than selling Moore to potential buyers.
Trading Moore could be in the Dolphins’ and new GM Dennis Hickey’s plan. With the affection that Philbin has shown third-string quarterback Pat Devlin, even calling him a “teacher’s pet” in HBO’s Hard Knocks, it would not be farfetched to suggest that Philbin thinks the younger, cheaper Devlin could man the backup quarterback post.
Moore’s trade value may be dwindling. After the 2011 season, a season in which Moore led the Dolphins to 6-10 record after Miami started the season 0-7 with Chad Henne at quarterback, the Dolphins drafted Tannehill the next April which sent Moore back to clawing for a starting spot.
When Tannehill won the starting job in training camp, many thought Moore would be traded. He was the hottest, most expendable commodity on the team after his success the previous season. The Dolphins opted to keep Moore as the backup, and he has only been aging and losing value since.
Moore appeared in one game last season, and it was in a game where the Dolphins were getting beat down by the Buffalo Bills. Moore went 2-of-6 for 53 yards. He completed one 50-yard bomb but was intercepted two times.
This performance makes one wonder if Moore’s gunslinger mentality is effective in Miami’s west coast offense. A run-and-gun style offense that the Dolphins ran with Tony Sparano is where Moore would most likely thrive, and that would be a team like the Minnesota Vikings.
Moore gained his wins in 2011 on a run-first team with a strong defense. If Tannehill was on that 2011 team — which had more talent than the 6-10 record suggests — it’s safe to say he would have won all the games Moore did if not more.
The argument is similar to that popular one amongst Dolphins’ fans that if Ryan Tannehill and Russell Wilson switched places 2013, Tannehill would have won the Super Bowl and Wilson would have finished 8-8.
Philbin could merely be pushing Tannehill exactly like he states, but trading Moore would be beneficial. Not only that, but if Philbin turns to Moore as an answer for his team, it’s likely his days as head coach of the Dolphins will come to a screeching halt just like every other Dolphins coach in the post-Don Shula era.
Tannehill made enough strides last year for the Dolphins to be comfortable with him at quarterback. A fifth-round pick in the NFL Draft for a team who needs to stockpile as many selections as possible to fortify an entire offensive line is a bit more important than having Matt Moore as an insurance policy.