Dolphins reportedly looking 'hard' at quarterbacks, may have one specifically targeted

There are a lot of teams in the NFL who are interested in acquiring a quarterback this offseason and the draft is going to be a hotbed of rumors about teams who want to secure a future franchise quarterback. You could make an argument that roughly two thirds of the league, and maybe more, could be drafting a quarterback early this year. One team definitely in the mix? The Miami Dolphins, who find themselves in perpetual quarterback limbo. 

According to Peter King of TheMMQB.com, the Dolphins are "looking hard" at a quarterback with their first round pick. And the apple of Adam Gase's eye might very well be Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, a young man who already has an April dinner date with the Dolphins brass.

From King:

Miami, picking 11th in the April draft, is looking hard at quarterbacks, and several people I spoke with here think it's likely they'll go quarterback in the first round. Word already leaked that Miami officials will dine with Baker Mayfield the night before his March 14 pro day. The night before a pro day is prime time for teams interested in a player, and the Mayfield camp surely believes Miami is a strong contender to pick him. 

The elephant in the room for the Dolphins is Ryan Tannehill, the former first-round pick who suffered an ACL injury before the 2017 season that forced Miami into bringing Jay Cutler out of retirement for what would end up being a nightmare finale (?) to his career. It was a shame too, because Tannehill played well in 2016 and was amped for the 2017 season and what the Dolphins offense offered.

Gase has said Tannehill will be the starter for the Dolphins in 2018, but that's easy to say right now when there isn't another quarterback on the roster to challenge him. Gase has also said he wouldn't rule out drafting a quarterback. Given Miami's struggles last year and the squeeze-the-juice nature of coaching in the NFL, it would be logical for Gase to attach himself to a quarterback drafted high. No. 11 is believed to be the floor for Mayfield in this draft as a result. 

Tannehill's contract also offers the Dolphins some relief. It was a low-risk move by Miami to begin with, and they can pick up some serious cap relief either this year or next year if they decide to move on from Tannehill. 

It's the kind of flexibility that sets up perfectly for drafting a quarterback in the first round of the draft. Bring a young guy in, keep Tannehill on the roster, let the two battle and hope you end up in a situation like the Chargers did with Drew Brees and Philip Rivers, only you extract some value for the veteran when you trade him instead of letting him walk. Or Tannehill leads you to the playoffs and you let him leave and you go with the new guy. Or you cut Tannehill and designate him a post-June 1 cut, save a big old pile of money on the cap and roll with the young guy. 

Miami's quarterback quandary actually leaves them a lot of flexibility. Which is why they will absolutely be players in the quarterback market. If you're looking for a team who could make a move into the top-five with either the Giants or the Colts, they are a strong candidate.

At the very least, they will be interested if Mayfield starts to fall down the draft board at all. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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