Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill injured his left leg at training camp Thursday on a non-contact play. It’s the same knee in which Tannehill suffered a partially torn ACL last December, forcing him to miss his team’s brief playoff run.
Early indications are that Tannehill avoided any sort of structural damage, but it remains unclear whether he’ll miss any sort of extended time. Here are five options for the Dolphins in the event they need to make a move at quarterback:
Elevate Matt Moore to starter
Moore started in Tannehill’s place for the final three games of the 2017 season, completing 52-of-82 pass attempts for 674 yards and eight touchdowns to three interceptions.
Moore was less impressive in the Dolphins’ wild-card loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, connecting on 29-of-36 attempts for 289 yards, one touchdown, and one interception – much of which came after he took a horrifically violent hit from Bud Dupree and somehow remained in the game.
Some consider Moore one of the better backups in the NFL, and he’s the obvious choice to replace Tannehill. But it’s difficult to imagine the Dolphins winning a Super Bowl, or even a playoff game, with the 32-year-old career backup under center.
Trade for Brock Osweiler
Looking solely at Osweiler’s play from last year, Dolphins fans would understandably see this as a less-than-ideal option. But that’s before considering some of the less obvious factors in the equation.
Osweiler wasn’t thought to be part of this year’s plan when the Browns acquired him in a salary-dump trade from the Texans. All he’s done in the few months since is impress the coaching staff at every turn, earning himself a training-camp roster spot and what would appear to be a good chance at the starting job.
Since Cleveland would probably still rather turn to DeShone Kizer or Cody Kessler, young talents who have more of a future with the still-rebuilding club, it’s fair to assume that Osweiler will remain available. Why not pair him with Adam Gase, who was the offensive coordinator for two of Osweiler’s four seasons in Denver?
Sign Colin Kaepernick
The Dolphins represent an intriguing landing spot for Kaepernick – not only because the offense crafted around Tannehill appears to be a good fit for Kaepernick’s similar skill set, but also because team owner Stephen Ross was supportive of Dolphins players who participated in national-anthem protests last season.
Addressing whether Kaepernick’s been blackballed by NFL owners this offseason, Ross had this to say last week, according to the Palm Beach Post:
“I would sure hope not. I know a lot’s been written about it, but you know owners and coaches – they’ll do anything it takes to win. If they think he can help them win, I’m sure – I would hope they would sign him.”
Lure Jay Cutler out of retirement
Cutler has repeatedly downplayed the possibility of making a quick return to football, insisting he’s content to move on and begin a broadcasting career. And that may be the case.
If one situation could entice him to end his retirement before it can truly begin, however, this might be it.
Gase’s work as Bears offensive coordinator in 2015 helped Cutler enjoy one of the most efficient seasons of his 11-year career. The veteran signal-caller’s familiarity with the system would allow for a seamless transition, the timing of Tannehill’s injury gives him an opportunity to get acclimated, and the Dolphins’ offense provides a strong supporting cast.
Miami has more than enough cap space to make it worth his while, too.
Lure Peyton Manning out of retirement
According to Archie Manning, Gase sent a text to Peyton Manning, who retired after winning Super Bowl 50 to cap the 2015 season, after Tannehill’s injury in December 2016. Gase asked about Peyton’s interest in returning to football.
The text read “Hey 18, Tannehill went down,” Archie told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “I think he’s going to miss some time. The first question I’m going to get at the press conference in the morning is if I’m going to try to bring you to Miami. What do you want me to tell them?”
Gase was offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos during two seasons Manning spent with the team. In 2013, Manning threw an NFL-record 55 touchdown passes in Gase’s offense.
Now 41 years old, Manning is highly unlikely to return to the field. But it can’t hurt to ask (again).
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