So, this little Tanny went to market, eh?
The Miami Dolphins signed Ryan Tannehill to a six-year, $96 million contract that keeps him signed through 2020. The money sounds close to being a "new, $100 million deal!" but Tannehill was already signed for this season and had the standard fifth-year option for 2016, so it's really four years for about $77 million.
As you have already heard, the Seattle Seahawks reportedly offered Russell Wilson a contract that would pay him $80 million over four new years. Tannehill's deal implies that if that's what the Seahawks offered, it was pretty close to, and I'm not a "Wolf of Wall Street" guy or anything, but being "market accurate."
Again, I am not secretly a wolf.
Wilson is better than Tannehill and has a much more accomplished resume because of the playoffs wins and Super Bowl championship and ground game, and all of that good stuff, and Seattle offered him more than what Tannehill just got. So it makes sense, but now that the Dolphins have signed their franchise QB, was Wilson's offer enough more? And if not, how much more should he earn?
Remember, Wilson supposedly balked at an average annual salary of $16 million when you accounted for his 2015 salary of just $1.5 million, and that's exactly what Tannehill just got if you account for all six years of the contract. It places him right next to Andy Dalton in AAV, who is also at $16 million, but the big difference is that Tannehill just got $45 million guaranteed and Dalton was only at $17 million guaranteed.
I've seen some people on Twitter scoff at Tannehill's deal, but he's a good 26-year-old quarterback, who is now the 14th-highest paid QB in the NFL (by AAV, tied with Dalton), and that's pretty fair. The guaranteed money might mean less because he was already under contract for the next two years, essentially guaranteeing he was going to earn those base salaries.
Tannehill becomes the first QB of the 2012 draft class to sign his next deal, and it starts the conversation for Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson, while some other teams are waiting for Robert Griffin III, Nick Foles, and Kirk Cousins to click their heels. (The Brock Osweiler situation in Denver is also going to be one of the most fascinating things to watch if he goes another whole season without playing. What will he be worth then?)
Tannehill is 6'4, 220, turns 27 in July, posted a passer rating of 92.8 last season with an Adjusted Value of 14. His completion percentage was 66.4% but his accuracy percentage, which takes into account drops, batted passes, throwaways, was sixth-best in the NFL at 75.9% per ProFootballFocus. However, his yards per attempt was 6.9 (which was also a career-high), his mobility is okay but a bit disappointing when you consider he was a college wide receiver, and he never throws it deep.
Well, "never" isn't fair, because he throws deep on 9% of his throws, per PFF. That's the lowest percentage of deep throws out of 25 qualified quarterbacks.
That low percentage of deep throws can be somewhat accounted for because of not having a great receiving corps and a bad offensive line, as can his high number of sacks (Tannehill led the NFL in sacks in 2013), but not all of it. Tannehill has to take some of that blame, and while it may be shocking to see him "Josh Freeman" his career, there's a good probability that this is as good as it gets.
(Oddly enough, who is currently Miami's third-string QB? Freeman.)
The Dolphins have spent a lot of money on the offensive line and they've "Panthered" their receiving corps by getting rid of almost everyone from 2014 and adding DeVante Parker, Greg Jennings, Kenny Stills, and Jordan Cameron to go along with Jarvis Landry. It's hard to say that this is a make or break year for a guy who has been the starter since day one, never missed a game, and improved a little bit each season, but there isn't much room for excuses at this point.
However, now it doesn't really matter!
Tannehill just got $45 million guaranteed and the organization has put some (but relatively not an inordinate amount) faith in him being the guy for at least another few years. That has backfired recently (Jay Cutler) but it could also be a bargain because of Tannehill blows up with his new line, new receivers, in his second season with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, then he'll look like a dick if he holds out before 2019.
How does this compare to Wilson?
Besides the obvious -- *points to championship trophy* -- Wilson posted a passer rating of 95 last year, which was a career-low. He had a Y/A of 7.7, also the worst of his career. Even though I'm saying things like "low" and "career," I don't mean them as negatives. On the contrary, we can point to the fact that Wilson has put up some of the best numbers in the NFL throughout his three seasons in the league, while also started every possible game. He also didn't have a great offensive line or receiving corps.
Wilson also has an aspect to his game like none other, rushing for 849 yards and six touchdowns last season.
His deep ball% of 11.5 ranked 14th in the league last year, just behind Peyton Manning. I told you Tannehill's accuracy percentage was 75.9, but Wilson's was 76%. They were neck-and-neck, but Wilson came out just ahead. Playing 'under pressure,' which Wilson dealt with more than any other QB, having been under pressure on 46% of his dropbacks, Wilson remained fairly calm and in control. He was sacked on 40 of 251 "pressured" dropbacks, Tannehill was sacked on 45 of 247. Wilson also did what he does more than any other QB in the NFL, throwing the ball away on 38 of those pressures, while Tannehill threw it away just 15 times.
This may not always be a sign that a QB made the right decision to throw it away, but both players avoided making too many dumb decisions as far as interceptions go.
Overall, Wilson is clearly the better QB up to this point, and has earned to be a tier above Tannehill and Dalton, but how much better?
One interesting note is that five of the six-highest paid QBs by AAV have won a Super Bowl: Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning. (The other is Matt Ryan.) Tom Brady, whose deal is extraordinarily hard to follow after numerous restructures, leaves him at just $11.4 million per year. Then there are those who say that maybe Wilson should be paid more like an Eli Manning, who gets $16.25 million per year, but is also coming up for a new deal.
Based on what we know and what we've heard, it's safe to assume that Wilson doesn't want an AAV that would leave him making less than Alex Smith ($17m) or Matthew Stafford ($17.6m), at which point we're now talking about Tony Romo ($18m) and Colin Kaepernick ($19m), but of course he doesn't want the fakeness of the Kaepernick deal.
What Tannehill's deal essentially does is lay down a framework that says "This is what a Ryan Tannehill makes. If you pay Russell Wilson something similar to this, you're saying he's the same as Ryan Tannehill." The deal supposedly offered to Tannehill is so similar that it's obvious now why Wilson and his agent won't accept it.
New money, old money, it's all in line with being the same.
If the Seahawks wanted to stay at four more years rather than anything longer than that, then it would seem like $90 million is more appropriate. It's considerably more than the $77 million over four in new years on Tannehill's deal, and gives him an AAV of $22.5 million on the new money, and $18.3 million over the five full years. The only non-Super Bowl winning QBs making more per year would be Ryan and Kaepernick, and Kaepernick could get cut quicker than a fresh loaf at the Cheesecake Factory.
(Note to self: You still got it.)
As for the guarantee, you'd think it would have to be $50 million, but so what? This is your guy. There is no way this is not your guy. There aren't many foreseeable futures where Wilson isn't the QB for the Seahawks in 2019 if he signs a deal through 2019.
Thanks to Tannehill signing his extension on Monday, hopefully this helps the Wilson negotiation avoid dragging into the season and next year, as it has been appearing to go that way. Who knew the Miami Dolphins could do something ... nice?