Ryan Tannehill Rumors: Titans Eyeing Long-Term Contract for Breakout QB

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2020

Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill answers a question after an NFL football game against the Houston Texans Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Houston. The Titans won 35-14. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

The Tennessee Titans are prepared to offer Ryan Tannehill a long-term contract and could reportedly franchise-tag him if the sides are unable to come to an agreement before he hits free agency.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Saturday the Titans are committed to Tannehill as their quarterback of the future after he led them to a wild-card playoff berth. Tannehill threw for 2,742 yards and 22 touchdowns against six interceptions after taking over for Marcus Mariota, putting up an NFL-best 117.5 quarterback rating.

The Titans signed Tannehill to a one-year contract during the offseason to back up Mariota, who fell out of favor after taking 25 sacks and struggling to move the ball down the field during a 2-4 start. Tannehill had proved to be a solid passer during his time with the Miami Dolphins but failed in taking the leap above average and struggled with his health.

This season has been a culmination of everything Miami saw when it picked him in the top 10 of the 2012 NFL draft. Tannehill has been accurate in the pocket, blasted his career high with 9.6 yards per attempt and has the Titans positioned to upset the New England Patriots on Saturday.

"He's always had a very, very good arm throwing the ball down the field, pretty accurate at throwing throws, deep balls, intermediate routes," Patriots safety Devin McCourty said, per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. "We've seen him for years, we've been a part of some of his best games in Miami, so we know what he's capable of and we've watched how he's leading that team."

While Tannehill deserves to return as the Titans' starter in 2020, the franchise tag may be the prudent route. Rewarding a historically mediocre quarterback coming off a career-best stretch is how you wind up with a Joe Flacco contract.

Franchising Tannehill would reward him for playing well above his pay grade in 2019 and keep the Titans flexible if he regresses. There were few who would have taken Tannehill over Mariota coming into this season, but Mariota will be the one looking for a quality backup job in free agency.

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