Ryan Tannehill‘s chance of becoming a top-tier quarterback is still an unknown, but he is still valuable because of his contract. After counting just $2.9 million against the Dolphins cap in 2013, he is considered the fifth most underpaid player in the NFL, according to ESPN:
Tannehill never peaked as high in 2013 as some other quarterbacks, but nevertheless performed fairly consistently from week to week. His raw numbers were also hurt by 33 receiver drops and 25 passes thrown away. While other quarterbacks from his class garner more buzz, Tannehill will one day receive his due — at least in terms of dollars. Tannehill deserves to get paid like an above-average starting QB. But Miami has their QB locked up on the cheap for another two seasons.
Their statistical reasoning was based off measuring what a player should have made “based on the quality of his play” compared it to his actual cap hit. In their study, Tannehill should have had a cap hit of $15.3 million. His 2014 cap hit of $3.45 million ranks 30th among all quarterbacks.
Underpaid or not, Tannehill’s development in Year 3 is going to dictate whether this franchise becomes a playoff team after coming up short in 11 of the last 12 seasons.