The Miami Dolphins announced yesterday that rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill will be the team's starting quarterback against the Houston Texans in the opening week of the regular season. When Tannehill takes the field, on September 9, he will become the first rookie quarterback in franchise history to start the opening week. But, the promotion of Tannehill could spell the end of the road for veteran quarterback David Garrard.
Garrard held the lead in the team's three-way quarterback competition heading into the first preseason game. He looked to be head and shoulders above Tannehill and incumbent starter Matt Moore, and was ready to walk away with the starting job. Then, as he turned to look at his kids in his backyard pool, something in his knee popped, and the job was gone. Garrard had to have surgery, and is expected to miss at least 3-4 more weeks.
Now, the question becomes, what do the Dolphins do with two quarterbacks, each scheduled to make over $2 million, who will sit on the bench behind the rookie? Moore could be an attractive option for a team that has a starting quarterback get injured. But, that would mean Miami would have to carry both Moore and Garrard until a trade could be completed.
That also gambles that a 34-year old quarterback who had to sit out an entire season last year due to a back injury, and now has had a knee surgery for turning wrong, can stay healthy and be ready to go if he is needed.
Add in that if Garrard is on the Dolphins roster for Week 1 of the regular season, his full $2.75 million salary becomes guaranteed and Miami could be ready to move on from Garrard.
Sometime during the next week, the Dolphins should begin working with Garrard on an injury settlement, allowing the team out of the quarterback's contract. The Dolphins, who are near the bottom of the league in salary cap space would get a little relief this year, with Moore and Garrard having a combined cap number of $5.85 million. Letting Garrard walk would also open up a roster space for a developing Pat Devlin.
Something has to change in Miami, with four quarterbacks on the roster, and only space for three when final cuts happen. The Dolphins could continue to carry all four right up to the deadline, hoping Garrard heals, allowing them to trade Moore, otherwise, this could be the end of the line for Garrard with Miami.