Here's why the Dolphins, Cardinals should take heed of Kaepernick's new deal
Injuries to Ryan Tannehill or Carson Palmer could be devastating for their franchises
With the 49ers' renegotiation with Colin Kaepernick drawing attention around the league, it's worth noting that they are hardly the only team navigating a tricky contractual landscape with a quarterback who might not be a part of the long-term future. The Dolphins and Cardinals have similar language in their quarterback's contract that could complicate their cap and salary situation in 2017.
Dolphins coach Adam Gase continues to maintain a staunch belief in struggling starter Ryan Tannehill both publicly and privately, sources said, and he has no intention of benching him this season. However, Tannehill has reached a crossroads in his deal where, should he suffer an injury that precludes him from passing an exit physical at the end of the season, the Dolphins would be stuck paying him $18 million in 2017 via an injury guarantee. Otherwise, they could move on from the quarterback without significant cap or cash ramifications. That's a massive risk in the eyes of some given Tannehill's production since being selected in the first round in 2012.
The Cardinals are off to a slow start. Oft-injured starter Carson Palmer has had a slow start as well and returns this weekend from a concussion. As part of the deal the sides agreed to before the season, Arizona would have wiggle room to move on from the passer after the season unless he too suffers a serious injury. In that case, they would be on the hook for a $15.5 million injury guarantee in 2017.
Arizona has Super Bowl aspirations, and Palmer gives them the best shot to reach that goal now, but the contract was constructed to allow them some flexibility to move on from Palmer after the season if need be, and those future pay days are not currently fully guaranteed. A season-ending injury would essentially make that decision for them, however, with Palmer's full salary counting against their cap in 2017.
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