Photo: Dirk Hansen, FlickrBY SEAN DONOVAN
The Dolphins are hoping that No. 8 overall pick Ryan Tannehill eventually becomes their franchise quarterback, but it seems that they don't want to be completely on the hook to pay him if he doesn't.
ProFootballTalk.com is reporting that the Dolphins are standing their ground on including offset language in Tannehill's rookie contract, which would reduce their financial obligation to the QB in the event that he is cut before the end of his deal.
Many teams that drafted in the top 10 of April's draft, including the Colts with Andrew Luck and Redskins with Robert Griffin III, have given their players fully-guaranteed deals. Those teams would still be liable for the balance of the contract if they released their picks before the end of the four years.
Even a player drafted later than Tannehill, No. 9 overall pick Luke Kuechly, was given a fully-guaranteed contract by Carolina.
The guaranteed money is a nice protection for the top draft picks, who have seen their contracts decrease in overall value due to the rookie wage scale included in the CBA that took effect last season. It is unlikely that a top draft pick is cut in their first few seasons, but it isn't unprecedented. Bills draft bust Aaron Maybin would have fallen into this category, as he was cut just two seasons into his five-year deal.
PFT reported that Dolphins V.P. Dawn Aponte is the driving force behind Miami's resistance to guaranteeing Tannehill's entire contract. Aponte previously worked in the league's management council, a group that pushes for the inclusion of offset language in rookie deals.
It is still early to speculate whether Tannehill will hold out over the contract dispute deep into training camp or even the regular season. Even though he isn't expected to be a starter this year, it would be a significant setback for Tannehill's development to miss some or all of his first NFL training camp.
Much is riding on Tannehill's success in a Dolphins' uniform. But given Miami's recent track record of finding quarterbacks, it might not be an unwise move to try to protect themselves a little bit.
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