clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Quarterback options for Miami Dolphins if Ryan Tannehill knee injury is serious

New, comments
NFL: Miami Dolphins-Training Camp Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

It seems too early to do this, not knowing what the status of Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s left knee actually is, but it is what is being discussed all over social media right now, so maybe it is time to have a place to discuss it here on The Phinsider. Tannehill appeared to injure the knee during a roll-out at Thursday’s training camp practice. As he approached the sideline, Tannehill appeared to simply crumble as he planted with his left leg, falling into a pile of other players. He was taken out of practice, and speculation continues to mount as to the seriousness of the injury.

It is the same knee that Tannehill sprained last year, including a partial tear of the ACL that was deemed to not require surgery. Tannehill, the coaches, and the doctors had all stated that the knee was healed and that the quarterback was 100 percent ready for football. Now, questions are swirling again.

The Dolphins - and the fans - are hoping for great news about Tannehill, but the

The biggest question may be, who would replace Tannehill if he is out for a lengthy period of time? We have some candidates.

Nothing Changes

Matt Moore, Miami Dolphins

When Tannehill went down last year, Moore came in to start the final three games of the season and the team’s playoff game. The team went 202 over that span, with Moore completing 63.2 percent of his passes for 721 yards with eight touchdowns and three interceptions in the regular season, plus 289 yards, a touchdown, and an interception in the postseason. Moore knows the offensive system, heading into his second year with head coach Adam Gase - the same as Tannehill - and has a relationship with the receivers already. Using Moore as the starter if Tannehill cannot play is the most stable of the options for the Dolphins, and may be the easiest of the options.

Ties to Adam Gase

Peyton Manning, retired

It would be an absolute stunner, but the retired Manning had some of his best production with Gase as his offensive coordinator. Manning’s name has to come up as an option, but it does not feel like there is any way to actually make it happen.

Jay Cutler, broadcasting

Cutler may or may not be “retired” but he is not in the game right now. Cutler is working for Fox this season as a broadcaster, but he also knows Gase’s system from when the Dolphins’ head coach was the offensive coordinator with the Chicago Bears. It would be easier to convince Cutler to come back than Manning, if there is any desire at all for the 11-year vet to add a 12th season.

Free Agents

Colin Kaepernick, FA

Kaepernick, he of the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who was once seen wearing a Miami Dolphins hat, will be the first name that pops up in a lot of places, and he could be the quarterback that makes the most sense for Miami to add. He might not come in and immediately beat our Moore, given Moore’s comfort in the offensive system already, but he probably can work his way to the starter’s role eventually. Last season, Kaepernick started 11 games with the 49ers, throwing for 2,241 yards with 16 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions, giving him a 90.7 passer rating. He is obviously a controversial option, given the feeling some people have over his kneeling during the National Anthem protest last year, but his on the field play is not nearly as bad as some people seem to claim, and he could be the emergency option Miami has to consider.

And none of that mentions the t-shirt Kaepernick wore with Fidel Castro on it - clearly an issue in South Florida.

Robert Griffin III, FA

RG3 never lived up to the cost the Washington Redskins paid to get him, nor the hype that surrounded him coming out of Baylor. He has an injury history that could be scary - especially for a team that is looking for a replacement for a quarterback with (potentially) a knee injury. He also has to learn how to be a true pocket passer, because those injuries have robbed him of some of the movement he used to have.

Thad Lewis, FA

Lewis is heading into his seventh season in the NFL, if someone signs him, but his longest stint with one team was in 2011 and 2012 with the Browns. He as a Dolphins killer in 2013, his one season with the Buffalo Bills, but that also marked the last time he has been on the field in a game. Lewis has bounced from the Houston Texans, Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, and 49ers in the past three years, including spending all of last year on injured reserve with the 49ers. Any team would only be hoping that Lewis could be an emergency backup quarterback at this point, and the Dolphins would likely prefer to go with Moore starting and 2016 seventh-round pick Brandon Doughty as the backup before adding Lewis.

Christian Ponder, FA

The 12th overall pick in 2011, Ponder has bounced around the league the last few years, including spending last year with Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers. That said, the 49ers elected to use Blaine Gabbert over Ponder when given the choice between the two. That is not a ringing endorsement, and would likely signal the Dolphins are choosing to use Moore as their starter and Ponder as the backup.

Johnny Manziel, FA

The circus that the NFL seems to worry would happen if a team signed Kaepernick would probably be even worse if a team were to add Manziel - both from the fans and from Manziel himself. No one knows if the former Cleveland Browns first-round pick is even in football shape. He is out there and an intriguing option if his life is put together and he can learn to play football like a professional, but there are a whole lot of question marks.

Trades

Brock Osweiler, Cleveland Browns

Without going to crazy with trade possibilities, Osweiler is clearly an option for a trade if the Dolphins are willing to eat a big salary. The Browns traded for Osweiler this offseason in an effort to pick up the draft picks they received in the deal; Cleveland seems to be working on either Cody Kessler or DeShone Kizer as their starter, which could mean Osweiler is available. There is work that Osweiler has to do to improve his game, but he does have ties to Gase from their joint time with the Denver Broncos, so there is at least a connection there.