As part of an "organic tanking" approach to the 2019 offseason, the Miami Dolphins are expected to release starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero reported Friday.
Rebuilding in the wake of coach Adam Gase's dismissal, the Dolphins decided at the end of the 2018 season, their third losing campaign in four years, that Tannehill would not return for an eighth season in Miami, per Salguero.
But now, with free agency just over a month away, Tannehill and Dolphins brass both expect the quarterback to be outright released rather than traded, according to the report.
Tannehill and his representatives could relieve this issue by agreeing to renegotiate his contract with a new team, but that's not their priority. Their priority is not to ease the burden of trading for Tannehill or help the Dolphins trade him.
Their priority is to have Tannehill pick where he plays to maximize his chances of succeeding.
The expected QB change, per Salguero, is "part of a tanking philosophy" the team is set to embrace for 2019. That doesn't mean losing all games on purpose, however. It more so means refusing to pursue the biggest-name free agents at key positions, as they've done in the past with players like Ndamukong Suh. And it most likely means avoiding an instant fix at quarterback -- such as with former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles or ex-Minnesota Vikings starter Teddy Bridgewater, as Salguero noted.
Tannehill was drafted eighth overall by the Dolphins in 2012 and appeared to emerge as a viable NFL starter with a career-best 27 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and 92.8 passer rating in his third season. But he never started a playoff game in seven years with the team, missing 24 regular-season starts -- including the entire 2017 season -- due to various injuries. A converted wide receiver coming out of college, he finished 2018, his age-30 campaign, with 17 touchdowns and nine picks in 11 starts for the 7-9 Dolphins.