The Miami Dolphins have addressed Ryan Tannehill's repeat knee injury by bringing in Jay Cutler as a short-term fix to stabilize the quarterback position. It appears that the Dolphins are primed to take a step back in the win column this season with the sudden change under center, but Sporting News' Eric Galko doesn't necessarily see that as the case.
Instead, Galko summarized Miami's decision to add Cutler as this:
Tannehill’s injury last week was supposed to put an end to that hope. Instead, it opened the door for Miami to "fall upward" as a franchise at their most important position with its signing of Jay Cutler.
Cutler, 34, is more than a mere replacement for an injured quarterback. He’s a short-term upgrade that opens the door for Miami to have a real conversation about Tannehill at the helm of their franchise retool.
According to Galko's article, DeVante Parker and Cutler should combine to form a truly dangerous vertical passing attack. After discussing some of the struggles the Dolphins' passing game has endured under Tannehill, Galko had this to say about the potential of a Cutler-Parker partnership:
While Parker’s downfield-stretching potential might have been limited with Tannehill, Cutler has proven an ability to maximize big-bodied perimeter receivers.
He continues his praise of the pairing by bringing up Cutler's previous relationships with his wide receivers in Chicago.
In Chicago, Cutler helped make a household name out of Brandon Marshall, but his trust and relationship with Alshon Jeffery in 2015 should draw the most parallels and optimism for Parker.
In an injury-shortened 2015 season, Jeffery recorded 54 receptions and 804 yards in only eight games - numbers that closely resemble Parker's output over a 15-game season in 2016.
Along with increasing the potential of Miami's passing attack, Galko is bullish on Cutler's ability to operate under pressure.
Cutler’s recklessness is well known and has become his unfortunate brand as a quarterback. But in 2015, especially, Cutler proved to be in control and quite effective in pressure situations. He completed nearly 50 percent of third down opportunities in the air, generating 4.6 first downs with his arm per game (among the highest in the NFL that season).
Both numbers are stark upgrades from those of Tannehill, whose 2016 season was his best in both categories over his five-year NFL career.
This comparison is largely based on Cutler's ability to regain his 2015 form, and is also dependent on Tannehill's production stagnating inside Gase's quarterback-friendly offense. Cutler is returning from a significant shoulder injury, and is considerably older than the player he is replacing. An upgrade over Tannehill might be a stretch, but isn't a leap to assume that Miami's offense will still be a legitimate threat despite an unforeseen replacement at quarterback.
You can read Galko's complete assessment of the Dolphins' quarterback situation by reading his full article at Sporting News.
Will the Dolphins find themselves in a better position with Cutler at quarterback? Tell us in the comments below.