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Breaking Down The New Tannehill Contract

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The Miami Dolphins announced last week that they had signed quarterback Ryan Tannehill to an extension through 2020. We take a look at how that deal actually breaks down.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins recently signed starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill to an extension, keeping him with the team through 2020. Prior to working out a new deal with Tannehill and his agent the team had, back in April, exercised Tannehill's 5th year option. The option would have guaranteed the Dolphins control of Tannehill though the 2016 season while also giving Ryan a nice sized raise from under 5 million a season to just over 16 million.

When the deal was first announced last week most fans voiced their approval and the idea that it was a "good deal" for the team while others claimed that it was too much money tied up in a guy that still had plenty to prove. As I always say, in is impossible to judge an NFL contract based on some number that is thrown out by an agent. A total dollar amount or total amount that can be "possibly" earned of any given contract never tells the whole story as is the case here.

It's doubtful that any fan will argue against the concept of this being a great deal if Tannehill emerges to be a top tier quarterback. If this occurs over the next few seasons it will actually be a hell of a deal and no one should be surprised if Tannehill's agent then approaches the team and asks for a "restructure" in search of more money. At that point, if he becomes all that we all hope he will then the team will likely be more than happy to find a way to get him more money. But what if for whatever reason he were to regress or fail in some epic fashion or worse (I won't say it, no need to jinx things)? Well the deal is for 6 years and worth 97 million with 21.5 million in guaranteed money but that's far from the whole story.

With the Dolphins picking up the fifth year option they were already due to pay Tannehill 16.2 million for the 2016 season. Ryan was also slated to make just over 4 million in 2015, the final year of his rookie deal. The new deal only count's against the cap for $16,513,364 in the first two years. The 21.5 million in guaranteed money is made up of the base salaries in 2015 and 2016 plus a signing bonus of 11.5 million. That means if the Dolphins decided they needed to walk away from Tannehill after 2016 they would only be on the hook for 6.9 million in dead money from the bonus and 3.5 million of the 2017 season (will explain the 3.5 mil below). If Ryan were to be traded the team would only be on the hook for the 6.9 million.

The deal is more or less designed for Tannehill to prove himself worth the big dollars in years one and two of the deal. The big money years of the deal are 2017 and 2018 with a base of $17,975,000, 2019 with a base of $18,725,000 and 2020 with a base of $19,497,523. Each of the final four years also include a workout bonus of $25,000. After 2016 each season essentially becomes an option year for the Dolphins. The 2017 salary is guaranteed for injury with 3.5 million of it being fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2016 league year so I would consider this an automatic and why I added it to the dead money if Ryan is released following the 2016 season. The remainder of the 2017 salary becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2017 league year.

Beyond the 2017 portion of the contract the only guarantee built in to the deal is 5.525 million of his 2018 salary that becomes fully guaranteed in case of an injury on the fifth day of the 2018 season. By this point the Dolphins will have long since decided that they will continue on the same course with Tannehill as their man or would have cut bait.

Season Base Salary Bonus Pro-Rated Roster Bonus Work Out Bonus Cap Hit
2015 $660,000.00 $4,213,364.00 $1,457,523.00 $0.00 $4,873,364.00
2016 $9,340,000.00 $2,300,000.00 $0.00 $0.00 $11,640,000.00
2017 $17,975,000.00 $2,300,000.00 $0.00 $25,000.00 $20,300,000.00
2018 $17,475,000.00 $2,300,000.00 $0.00 $25,000.00 $19,800,000.00
2019 $18,725,000.00 $2,300,000.00 $0.00 $25,000.00 $21,050,000.00
2020 $19,497,523.00 $0.00 $0.00 $25,000.00 $19,522,523.00

What are your thoughts on the Tannehill deal?