As Miami Dolphins training camp officially opened, there was one glaring absence.
First-round pick Ryan Tannehill still has yet to agree to a deal with the Dolphins and report to Davie to begin his training camp, despite the fact that fellow first-round quarterbacks Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Brandon Weeden have all signed and reported to their teams.
Tannehill appears to be holding out due to "contract language" as reported by the Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly.
Kelly reports that the financial end has already been agreed to and that Tannehill is slated to receive a four-year deal worth $12.6 million in guaranteed money along with an option for a fifth year. The "offset language" that's holding the deal up refers to how much of that salary Tannehill will receive if he's released prior to the end of his contract or if he's placed on injured reserve.
This worries me and should worry a lot of fans.
Neither Tannehill—nor the Dolphins—should be worried about how much money he'll receive if he's released prior to the end of his deal. With a four-year contract and with the likelihood that either David Garrard or Matt Moore will start the season as Dolphins quarterback, Tannehill will have until the end of his contract to show whether or not he will truly be the Dolphins' franchise quarterback.
What also worries me is the holdout itself. Look at a list of NFL draft busts and you will recall that many of them began their careers with lengthy contract holdouts. Quarterbacks have been especially hurt by holding out.
Matt Leinart held out from signing with the Arizona Cardinals for only two weeks of training camp. Already behind, despite expecting to compete with Kurt Warner for the starting job, Leinart would wind up playing that season (being named starter after Week 4) but only went 4-7 that season.
After Warner regained the starting job in Arizona the next season, Leinart and the Cardinals would go on to the Super Bowl in 2008—while backing up a rejuvenated Kurt Warner. After Warner's retirement prior to 2010, Leinart was named the presumptive starter but would be released from the Cardinals prior to the start of that year's regular season.
Patrick Ramsey would hold out from signing with the Washington Redskins for 16 days his rookie season before agreeing to a contract. While in Washington Ramsey went 10-14 in his career before the Redskins released him after the 2006 season.
Perhaps the biggest draft bust of all time was JaMarcus Russell, who began his career with the Oakland Raiders with a six-week holdout that lasted past training camp all the way to Week 2 of the regular season in 2007. Coming into camp out of football shape put Russell significantly behind, and his career was never able to recover.
Sure you will find rookie holdouts who became a success, but none of them were quarterbacks. I don't like the idea of the Dolphins being put into a position to break that trend with Tannehill.
The only way that could happen would be if he isn't the opening day starter. With a holdout, we're already assured that will not happen.
But neither Ramsay nor Leinart were opening day starters on their teams, yet still struggled not only in their rookie season but beyond. Russell held out past Oakland's first game and would become a national punchline in his short time in Oakland.
Tannehill should get to camp as soon as possible and not risk the possibility that he joins these "illustrious" names in the history books. The longer he's out, the more difficult it will be for him to get to speed in the NFL game.