Tannehill is usually listed as Plan D
The New York Jets‘ quarterback situation is more uncertain than ever heading into the 2023 offseason.
The first domino in the veteran QB market is yet to fall, as Derek Carr has returned from his two-day trip in New Orleans to mull things over. The indications are that the Saints are the favorites to land him considering that they are the only team to host Carr thus far.
A decision will need to be made by February 15, three days after the Super Bowl, which is the date a clause in his contract triggers $40.4 million in future guaranteed money. If he’s not traded by the 14th, then expect him to be released and hit the open market.
There were some rumors circulating online yesterday that Carr had multiple other visits lined up and had canceled those, indicating a deal was close with New Orleans. I can 100% confirm that there was no visit set for the Jets, and there was no visit set for the Panthers, either.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Raiders receive any compensation for Carr. If the Saints want him to restructure his contract, it really doesn’t make any logical sense for him to waive his no-trade clause and accept a trade to New Orleans before talking with other teams.
Carr is one of the names being linked with the Jets alongside Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Garoppolo. I still think the Jets end up with one of those three, and if I were a betting man, I would place my money on Garoppolo.
However, if they’re unable to land one of the three, would Ryan Tannehill be another option? His name has been mentioned over the last week and is worth exploring.
Tannehill is set to carry a $36.6 million cap hit next year. That alone could give the Titans the motivation to move on, especially with new GM Ran Carthon in the building. Tannehill has been a good QB in Tennessee, but as he enters his age-35 season, the franchise may be looking toward the future of the position.
The issue is that Tannehill would carry a dead-cap hit of $18.8 million if he were traded or cut prior to June 1. If the Titans traded him post-June 1st, his dead cap hit falls to $9.6 million in 2023 and $9.2 million in 2024. The problem is that it is critical for teams to know who their QB is going to be long before June; this is the same issue holding up any potential Aaron Rodgers trade.
There is always the possibility that the Titans release Tannehill with a post-June 1 designation, which would have the same salary cap ramifications as a post-June 1 trade but allow teams to acquire the QB via free agency.
Still, leaving aside the financial element, would acquiring Tannehill be a good move for the Jets in terms of on-field performance?
The Jets hired former Titans offensive line coach Keith Carter this offseason, so there would certainly be some familiarity there. The offense that Tannehill ran under Arthur Smith and Todd Downing has similar elements to the one expected to be run under Nathaniel Hackett.
Tannehill is coming off a season in which he appeared in just 12 games, completing 65.2% of his passes for 13 touchdowns and six interceptions. The year before, he completed 67.2% of passes for 21 touchdowns, although he did throw 14 INTs. In 2020, he had a career year, throwing for over 3,800 yards and 33 touchdowns to 7 interceptions.
Tannehill is certainly not a star at the position, but if you’re looking for a bridge QB for the next year or two to hold down the fort and you’ve struck out on the three main targets, you could do worse.
One thing to like about Tannehill is his ability to perform under pressure. In 2022, he ranked seventh out of 41 qualifying quarterbacks (min. 50 pressured dropbacks) with a 54.3% completion percentage while under pressure, tossing five touchdowns and just one interception.
That’s no fluke, either. In 2021, he was ranked as the sixth-most accurate passer under pressure, completing 54.5% of passes, although he did throw six interceptions to his six touchdowns. In 2020, his completion under pressure dropped to 43.4%, but he threw 10 touchdowns to 4 interceptions.
Tannehill has enough positives to his game for the Jets to keep him in mind. He would not be my first choice, or my second or third, but if the compensation is low enough, he may be worth a shot.
While this would be a difficult sell for the Jets’ fanbase, it might just buy Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh another year.
Carr hasn’t interviewed anywhere else because the Raiders will only let him talk to teams that have made an acceptable trade offer. Carr would be foolish to jump on a NO offer without at least hearing what other teams have to offer, which won’t happen until he’s released.
I have been saying since day 1 they aren’t getting Carr, his options are better elsewhere, and I don’t see them getting Rogers. I have always said this will come down to Tannehill or Jimmy.