There are many things to like about Miami Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He is athletic, extremely durable and has improved in yards, touchdowns and passer rating in each of his three seasons.
But something Tannehill struggled with since entering the NFL in 2012 is leadership. This is a concern entering his fourth season.
The Dolphins endured a high-profile bullying scandal with two of Tannehill's offensive linemen in 2013. He had a receiver controversy with an upset Mike Wallace at the end of last season. The Dolphins also suffered back-to-back, late-season collapses in December on Tannehill's watch.
To put it bluntly, Tannehill is not a natural leader, which is essential for the quarterback position. He has an even-keeled personality and prefers to lead his teammates by example.
But oftentimes that doesn't cut it in the NFL as a franchise quarterback. You must be a strong leader of men, many of whom also have strong personalities. There were plenty of times in the past three seasons when Tannehill needed to be more vocal. He needed to call out teammates in his locker room and personally challenge them to do better. The calm approach does not always work, especially for a team that is still learning how to win and hasn't been to the playoffs since 2008.
With Tannehill receiving a $96 million extension from the Dolphins on Monday, he must show more leadership. He is the team's second-highest paid player behind Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Miami officially made Tannehill one of the faces of the franchise this week. He knows it and his teammates know it.
There is no longer a reason for Tannehill to tiptoe around. He will be a valuable member of the Dolphins for the foreseeable future. Those who don't fall in line with Tannehill will not last long in Miami.
It's time for Tannehill, 26, to realize he has the juice in Miami's locker room. He's the captain now and has 96 million reasons to act accordingly.