Report: Dolphins plan to part ways with Ryan Tannehill, tank 2019 season for Tua Tagovailoa

The Miami Dolphins are reportedly planning well past Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. (AP)
The Miami Dolphins are reportedly planning well past Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. (AP)

It appears the Miami Dolphins don’t have high hopes for the 2019 season. Or Ryan Tannehill’s interest in ending his career with the team.

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The Dolphins will part ways with Tannehill, either via trade or releasing the veteran QB, and spend very little money to replace him next season, according to the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero. Tannehill reportedly expects to be released.

The decision to move on from Tannehill had already been reported at the end of the regular season, but the belief that the Dolphins could get something back in a trade for their starting QB of six years has apparently waned. Tannehill is under contract for two more seasons with a salary-cap hit above $25 million for both, per Spotrac.

If the team releases Tannehill, it reportedly has no plans to go after Nick Foles, Teddy Bridgewater or other major free-agent quarterbacks. It all seemed to be a part of a plan for the Dolphins to be completely noncompetitive in 2019.

Per Salguero, the subject of tanking came up multiple times during a coaching search that ended in an offer to New England Patriots defensive play-caller Brian Flores. However, the plan to tank won’t take the form of the deliberate, cartoonish image in some fans’ minds.

No, the Dolphins will be more artful than that. From the Herald:

Many Dolphins fans believe “tanking” to mean that the coaching staff, players, and everyone in the organization will do what is necessary to lose. That is an artificial approach the Dolphins are definitely not going to take.

The Dolphins aren’t going to throw games on purpose.

Miami’s approach to tanking will be organic.

The club will not dive into the deep end of the free agency pool in 2019, as I reported inartfully in my column Tuesday morning.

So every significant roster need the Dolphins have now — offensive line, defensive line, cornerback, quarterback — will not be filled with the best (highest-priced) player available at the position.

So basically, the Dolphins are planning to spend little to no money on a team that went 7-9 last season. They could also cut or trade some veterans, with Robert Quinn, Andre Branch, Josh Sitton and DeVante Parker mentioned as possibilities.

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That obviously all sets up for a team putrid enough to be in serious contention for the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL draft, with Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa reportedly of high interest to Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. And if the Dolphins miss on Tagovailoa, a potentially even better prospect awaits in the 2021 draft in Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

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