The Tennessee Titans will have a chance to move in and sign quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Don’t bet this would be inappropriate, though.
While one might question Taneyhill’s feasibility as a quarterback to lead the Titans to the Super Bowl, a Tennessee launch or trade in him before the 2022 season is “not feasible,” according to former NFL agent and salary cap expert Joel Currie, who writes for Network CBS Sports.
According to OverTheCap, Tennessee, which is worth more than $6.2 million over the expected maximum space for next season, will cost $57.4 million by cutting Tannehill. The penalty will be his fully guaranteed base salary total of $29 million for 2022 and $28.4 million of the remaining proportional signing bonus money in his contract. That would bring in an $18.8 million loss in cover space.
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Trading Tannehill before June 1 will lower the cap by $28.4 million and $10.2 million in cap savings, but the receiving team will be in trouble due to their fully guaranteed base salary of $29 million for next season. The state of Tennessee will likely have to pay a portion of that salary to facilitate the deal, consuming the maximum savings. There is also the question of who will want Tanehill after his season – including the AFC League loss to the Bengals, and he threw 17 interceptions – and who will be the midfielder in at least 2022.
Tannehill signed a four-year, $118 deal with the Titans after the 2019 season, but restructured his deal in June to facilitate Julio Jones’ trade, which added two revocable years to the end of Tannehill’s deal, adding to the challenge of moving his contract.
“That wasn’t possible and wasn’t really possible before his contract was restructured to accommodate Julio Jones’ trade,” Corey, a Nashville native, told The Tennessean. “There’s no good exit strategy unless you can find a deal and I don’t think anyone would even want to take his fully guaranteed base salary of $29 million for next season from Ryan Tanehill.”
If the Giants want to move on from Taneyhill, their best bet is to wait until after the 2022 season, when they can save $17.8 million off the cap by trading it or cutting it before June 1, 2023.
Tennessee’s path to a 2022 quarterback center upgrade is to draft one or acquire a veteran via agency or free trade. The latter is how the Titans upgraded their quarterback position after the 2018 season. Tennessee acquired Taneyhill from Miami for a fourth and seventh round, restructuring their deal into a one-year incentive-packed contract. After Marcus Mariota struggled in the first six games of that season, Tanehill took over as a starter.
“Bring someone to push Tannehill,” Corey said of the idea of boosting quarterback depth next season. “Whether it’s Mitchell Trubesky or someone like that….or you’re a project quarterback. It’s not the best year to find a quarterback, but maybe it’s the right way to go.”
In March 2020, new deals were scheduled between Tanehill and returning star Derek Henry. The Titans went the franchise route with Henry (before he eventually signed him to a new contract), then signed Tannehill to his existing one.
This contract essentially gave him three years of security: his salary for 2020 and 21 was fully guaranteed upon signing, and on the fifth day of the league year 2021, his base salary for 2022 was also fully guaranteed.
“It’s cut and very dry,” Corey said. “(Tanhill) had leverage when he took the job and his contract expired (2019).”