Jay Cutler as Replacement for Miami Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill

Posted by Jordan Walterss on Monday,August 7, 2017 11:48, EDT in

The Miami Dolphins haven’t yet announced how much time starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill will miss this season after injuring his knee last week on a non-contact play in practice. It seems pretty obvious, though, that the Fins are expecting Tannehill to have season-ending surgery on that knee. That’s why they signed Jay Cutler out of the Fox TV booth and Cutler wouldn’t have returned to playing if he didn’t think he was the clear starter in 2017. That and a cool $10 million contract with the chance to earn more.

Miami has a win total of 7.5 at MyBookie, same as it did before the Tannehill injury. Tannehill has a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee — again — and although it is not yet decided whether that injury will be repaired via surgery or addressed with treatment, he will be out a long time.

Jay Cutler as Replacement for Miami Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill

Tannehill, 29, suffered a similar injury to the same knee last December and at that time the decision between the quarterback and his doctor, and the Dolphins and their doctor was to treat the ligament rather than replace it. That looks like a mistake now.

Cutler talked with the Jets but did not seriously pursue NFL jobs after the Bears released him March 9. He announced his intention to retire and joined Fox Sports, where he was to be teamed with Kevin Burkhardt after an impressive audition. Cutler, who lives in Nashville, was scheduled to work the Bears- Titans preseason game Aug. 27. He also was expected to work the Falcons-Bears regular-season opener Sept. 10 at Soldier Field.

How Well Did the Dolphins Do Last Year?

The Miami Dolphins made the playoffs last year for the first time since 2008 and believe they can again with simply solid quarterback play. No one is asking Cutler to become Joe Montana or anything. Cutler played one year under Dolphins head coach Adam Gase with the Bears in 2015. Gase believes in Cutler perhaps more than any coach whom the quarterback has had in his career.

Cutler threw for 3,659 yards, 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in their one season together. The Bears also went 6-10 that year and ranked 23rd in passing. How much higher is the ceiling in 2017 for Cutler, 34, who is now two years older and coming off a season-ending shoulder injury last season.

Was Jay Cutler Good Last Season?

Last season, Cutler played in just five games because of thumb and shoulder injuries. He suffered a torn labrum in his right throwing shoulder and underwent surgery in December. Before the Dolphins’ agreement with Cutler, veteran Matt Moore had been poised to take over for Tannehill as the starting quarterback.

Moore soon turns 33 and has 28 starts in 10 seasons. Last year he helped the Dolphins clinch their first postseason berth since 2008, going 2-1 as a starter to end the regular season before a first-round playoff loss at Pittsburgh.

The money in Cutler’s contract — $10 million with $3 million more in incentives — clearly puts Cutler ahead of Moore in the pecking order. It also gives deference to Tannehill by giving Cutler a borderline starter salary well below Tannehill’s $17.975 million.

The Miami Dolphins picked Jay Cutler to replace Ryan Tannehill this NFL season.

Will Miami Have a Good Offensive Line in 2017?

The Dolphins do have some nice offensive talent around Cutler. Jay Ajayi has the complete skill set and aggression to be a top-five running back. Receivers Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills and tight end Julius Thomas provide a group of pass-catchers as loaded as any Cutler has ever played with. The Dolphins’ offensive line was dreadful a year ago, and will depend on second-year left tackle Laremy Tunsil and hope for the health of center Mike Pouncey for improvement.

Dolphins officials also looked into Tim Tebow, currently playing minor-league baseball with the Mets, and Colin Kaepernick. Cutler is probably a better option at this point even though he generally comes off as a guy who didn’t care enough. As in, didn’t really care if you did or didn’t really care if he didn’t really care. One time in Chicago, Cutler shoved and cursed at an offensive lineman during a game. Another time, Cutler was recorded cursing about a coach on the field.

Miami opens the preseason on Aug. 10 vs. Atlanta and the regular season April 10 vs. Tampa Bay. No, the Dolphins don’t face the Bears this season unfortunately.

Expert Miami Dolphins NFL Prediction

I’d go over that win total but not by much. This looks like an 8-8 team to me, which will mean sitting out the postseason.