Updated: Mar 18, 2020
Hours after the NFL’s new CBA was approved by the players, the Titans signed Quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, to a 4 year, $118 million extension. The deal includes $91m in guarantees with $62m fully guaranteed. The deal averages $29.5m per year, making Tannehill the 7th highest payed Quarterback in the NFL.
Exactly 1 year ago today, the Titans traded a 2020 4th RD & 7th in 2019 to the Dolphins for Ryan Tannehill and a 6th RD in 2019. At the time, the deal did not seem that significant, Tannehill appeared to be a backup to Marcus Mariota. After Week 6 however, Ryan Tannehill was named the Titans full time starter. Tannehill eventually lead the league in many statistical categories such as passer rating and efficiency and lead the Titans to the AFC Championship. Tannehill exceeded everyone’s expectations and did much more than was asked of him.
After the switch was made to Tannehill from Mariota, the difference was clear. The Titans problems such as a poor offensive line and poor play calling suddenly seemed to resolve. Tannehill made all the throws that he needed to and was vital to the success of Derrick Henry. Henry lead the league in rushing and he improved immensely as Ryan Tannehill took over and the passing game improved.
This deal comes to no surprise as Tannehill was one of the Titans biggest offseason priorities. The Titans opted not to use the franchise tag on Tannehill which could mean they will use it on Derrick Henry or Jack Conklin.
While it is great that the Titans have found a Quarterback and they have signed him for 4 years, $91m in guarantees is very concerning. During his 6 years in Miami, Tannehill posted consistently below average numbers and did not make a playoff appearance. After going 10-2 as a starter in Tennessee, he earned himself a massive contract but were the Titans too quick to jump all in on Tannehill?
There is really no way to tell, recent history shows it going both ways. One example is Nick Foles signing with the Jaguars after winning a Super Bowl in Philidelphia. The Jaguars signed Foles to a 4 year, $88m contract with $50m garanteed. This severely backfired after Foles played poorly and eventually broke his collar bone. Foles was benched in favor of 6th round draft pick, Gardner Minshew. Another recent example is Jimmy Garoppolo, who panned out much differently. After he was traded to the 49ers and went 5-0 as a starter, he signed a 5 year, $137m contract. After Garoppolo missed the majority the 2018 season with a torn ACL, he lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2019 and was nearly won another Super Bowl (he won 2 in New England).
It is great that the Titans have locked up Tannehill and can now focus on other free agents such as Derrick Henry, Jack Conklin, and Logan Ryan but this deal is a bit much. For me, 4 years is too long for someone who played just 10 good games. I think Tannehill can strive for the next year or two but I am not convinced there will be long term success based on his track record.