AP NEWS

Tannehill may be about to play final game for Dolphins

December 26, 2018
FILE - In this Dec. 16, 2018, file photo, Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill warms up before an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, in Minneapolis. Tannehill, who became the Miami Dolphins’ starter in 2012 and has still never taken a postseason snap, may be about to play his final game for the franchise Sunday, Dec. 30. The Dolphins are wrapping up another disappointing season, and with Tannehill due a big raise this offseason, the team is expected to move on at quarterback. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn, File)

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Ryan Tannehill is hoping he’ll be the Miami Dolphins’ quarterback again in 2019, which may place him in the minority in South Florida.

Long-suffering Dolphins fans are ready to move on, gauging from Twitter buzz and boos that rained down on Tannehill and his offense in last week’s dismal home finale.

Detractors are likely to get their wish. Tannehill, who became Miami’s starting quarterback in 2012 and has still never taken a postseason snap, probably will play his final game for the franchise Sunday.

His contract balloons to $18.7 million in base salary next year, when he would count $26.6 million against the salary cap, and the Dolphins are expected to seek a cheaper, younger alternative at quarterback.

Tannehill, 30, shrugs off the uncertainty of the moment.

“You can’t think about it,” he said Wednesday. “You can’t. What’s the good in wondering and pondering and wasting time? It’s out of my control. The powers that be will make those decisions, and we’ll go from there.”

Tannehill, 42-45 as a starter, wants to return.

“I love this organization,” he said. “I love competing with the guys on this team. I’ve been here my whole career and love it in South Florida. Yeah, I’d love to be here.”

Tannehill ranks 11th in the NFL with a passer rating of 99.0, highest of his career. He’s third in touchdown percentage.

But he missed five games with an injury to his throwing shoulder. And when he played, the offense was wildly inconsistent.

Miami (7-8) ranks 30th in total yards, and poor performances the past two weeks may have sealed Tannehill’s fate. The offense sputtered to losses against Minnesota and Jacksonville, eliminating the Dolphins from the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons since he joined them.

The only time they made the postseason was in 2016, Adam Gase’s first season as head coach, when Tannehill had the best stretch of his career before missing the final four games with a knee injury.

Gase’s status beyond Sunday’s finale at Buffalo is also uncertain. The coach has been Tannehill’s most ardent defender, and Gase said the team’s rough patches — such as this week — have only strengthened their relationship.

“You’re under fire all the time,” Gase said. “When you’re the head coach and the quarterback, you’re not missed. Everybody knows where you are.

“At quarterback you take a lot of bullets, and sometimes you don’t get the credit you deserve.”

Earlier this week, while discussing Tannehill’s struggles in the dysfunctional offense, Gase said, “Nobody helps him.” Tannehill said he doesn’t look at that way, even though he’s playing behind a patchwork line and lost two key receivers to season-ending injuries.

“You have to control what you can control,” Tannehill said. “If you play the what-if games, you’re not going to be growing as a person and a player.”

Partly because of chronic issues with pass protection, Tannehill has been sacked 244 times. His toughness has never been questioned, but durability is an issue because he has missed 24 games in the past three seasons.

When asked about the next step for Tannehill in 2019, Gase said, “The biggest thing is to stay healthy.”

That will likely be a concern for another coach and another team.

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