AFC East Q&A: Should the Dolphins stick with Ryan Tannehill?

Ryan Tannehill might not be the Dolphins' long-term answer at quarterback, but it doesn't make sense to move him before this season. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Today's question: Ryan Tannehill has had a few years to prove he’s a franchise quarterback. Should the Miami Dolphins stick with him or is it time to move in another direction?

Mike Rodak, Buffalo Bills reporter: Now is not the time to move on from Tannehill, but the next move at quarterback must be plotted now. This has some parallels to the Bills' situation with Tyrod Taylor, in that Tannehill has a growing sample of usually decent, sometimes good but rarely great performances. The Bills' contract allows them to part ways with Taylor after next season without crushing salary-cap consequences, and the Dolphins' deal with Tannehill affords Miami similar flexibility. Yet unless the Dolphins are willing to concede the season and start Matt Moore or 2016 seventh-round pick Brandon Doughty, it does not make any sense to move away from Tannehill before September. The route Miami should consider is drafting a quarterback in the early rounds next spring and insuring themselves in case Tannehill's development plateaus. Keeping such a stagnant quarterback around is a safe move that keeps fans in their seats but ultimately robs a franchise a chance at a Super Bowl run.

Mike Reiss, New England Patriots reporter: Here is the beauty of the situation for the Dolphins: They don’t have to rush the decision. They are committed to Tannehill in 2017, and since so much can change in an NFL calendar year, the smartest thing to do is to step back and assess how things look after the season. With more data and another year of evaluation in a business where players develop at various rates, it should be easier to make the decision that is best for the Dolphins under second-year coach Adam Gase. The other factor to consider is that if the Dolphins do move on from Tannehill, what is the alternative? One of the worst things a team can do is make a change just for the sake of making a change. If there is no clear-cut replacement option, that is all the more reason to stick with Tannehill, while layering the depth chart behind him with developmental prospects who could blossom into something greater in time. If that ultimately is the approach, the Dolphins are in good hands with general manager Chris Grier, who I view as one of the NFL’s more underrated talent evaluators.

Rich Cimini, New York Jets reporter: I have two answers to this question: No, Tannehill is not a true franchise quarterback, but yes, they should stick with him. Does that make sense? I would rank him in the 16 to 20 range among the 32 starting quarterbacks. That might not excite the Miami fan base, but there are several teams that would take him in a heartbeat. It’s hard to find quality at the position, and the Dolphins have a quarterback who can be counted on to post a 25-to-12 touchdown-interception ratio every season, give or take, and he will cost an affordable $73 million over the next four seasons. I get it -- that ain’t cheap -- but that deal will look like a bargain in a year or two when the cap increases. The bottom line is that the Dolphins have a fixed cost at quarterback for the next four years, with a good but not great player still in his prime. Plus, there’s this question to ponder: Are there any better alternatives?