The Miami Dolphins signed fourth-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill to a six-year, $96 million deal with $45 million guaranteed on Monday, casting their vote for him as a franchise-caliber quarterback without paying through the nose for a player that has yet to prove himself as a long-term solution.
Tannehill's contract locks him up in Miami through the 2020 season, and ensures that the rest of the AFC East - the Buffalo Bills included - knows exactly who will be lining up under center for the Dolphins for the foreseeable future.
Conventional wisdom holds that Tannehill, who will turn 27 right around the time that 2015 NFL training camps open, is on the cusp of establishing himself as one of the better, non-elite quarterbacks that the league has to offer. He made a sizable leap forward in 2014, accumulating 4,045 passing yards and a 27-to-12 touchdown-to-interception ratio, and he has Pro Bowl potential in a Dolphins offense that improved considerably at wide receiver this offseason.
That improvement a year ago was evident, and exemplified, by his performance against a Bills defense that ultimately finished in the Top 5 in the NFL. Tannehill has had more than his fair share of struggles against the Bills (not to mention in his five full games against Rex Ryan and his former team, the New York Jets), but his Week 11 performance a year ago in a 22-9 win over Buffalo on Thursday Night Football was arguably a season-killer for the Bills, and a breakout performance for Tannehill against a team that has otherwise given him fits. In that game, he completed 26-of-34 passes for 240 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Here is how Tannehill has fared (and progressed) in each of his first three seasons against a Bills defense that has also improved each season, and against Ryan's Jets defenses in that same time frame.
What do you think of the Tannehill signing, Bills fans? History does not indicate that the fan base should have much to worry about from Tannehill or Miami's offense on the whole, but he did improve last season, and markedly so against Buffalo. Is it a good signing for Miami? Should he be perceived as a problem for a Bills defense that is expected to be very good in 2015?