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How the Titans traded for Ryan Tannehill and what that means

When the 2018 season ended, the Miami Dolphins officials publicly said they were still assessing the quarterback position and how it related to former starter Ryan Tannehill. But with Tannehill not listening to new coach Brian Flores or general manager Chris Grier, the answer was obvious. By this time Tannehill and her agent Pat Dye began researching.

"We were looking proactively at the situations around the league and what we thought represented the best opportunity to get on the pitch," said Dye of SportsTrust Advisors this week. "No matter if it was on planet Mars, he wanted the opportunity to get started."

Now Tannehill will start with the Tennessee Titans against the Los Angeles Chargers, the first in place of Marcus Mariota. But at that time?

There simply weren't many points. The Denver Broncos switched to Joe Flacco. The Washington Redskins traded for Case Keenum. Everyone knew that the Jacksonville Jaguars should sign Nick Bellows. Miami was looking for a fresh start, but it seemed intended to negotiate, not cut, Tannehill; It was complicated.

What Tannehill was looking for was this: a place where the incumbent was injured or vulnerable, a team willing to trade for him, a Dolphins organization that would pay part of the contract, and a system that would benefit him.

"Jon Robinson the [Titans] GM seemed intrigued, "Dye said," but he wasn't exaggerating. You could tell that he liked the player and how he would fit in. "

Dye and Tannehill identified Tennessee because Mariota did not go through an injury-free season and because her performance did not extend for several years. Obviously, the organization did not see what it needed to see.

From the Titans' point of view, as one source explained, this was all about Mariota's injury history, not about her performance. If Mariota got hurt, who could intervene and do more than just work? They wanted a high level backup and considered them all. The day before Tannehill's changeover, the move was made easier because Teddy Bridgewater re-signed with the New Orleans Saints.

When Robinson spoke to Grier, the conversations were quick. Both sides have reviewed various QB backup deals in the past, Miami was looking for a third or fourth shift choice and was willing to pay part of Tannehill's salary. Eventually they settled in Tannehill and a sixth in the fourth and seventh of dolphins.

Then came the salary. No one would honor their original contract of more than $ 17 million, but both sides discussed a two-year contract at first. This got very complicated and within 24 hours they negotiated a revamped one year contract.

The contract ended as a $ 7 million one-year contract, with the Dolphins paying a $ 5 million signing bonus and Tennessee covering the rest. Based on incentives, it can be worth over $ 12 million and here's how:

» $ 250K in a roster bonus if it is in the 46 player roster in 13 games.

» $ 100K bonus for being named Pro Bowl holder or reserve.

» $ 250K for a 92.8 passer rating with a minimum of 224 attempts. This can become $ 500,000 with a rating of 94.0, $ 750,000 with a rating of 95.0, and $ 1 million with a rating greater than 96.0.

» $ 500K with 2,250 yards in passes. That increases to $ 750,000 at 2,750 yards and becomes $ 1 million if it exceeds 3,000.

» $ 250K with 18 approved TDs, but that becomes $ 500K with 20 TD passes, $ 750K with 23 valid TDs, and $ 1 million with 25 valid TDs.

» $ 100,000 per game during the season in which he participates in more than 50% of plays (total prizes up to $ 1.8 million), provided his team gets statistical improvements in categories such as touchdowns, total offense, net yards, permitted yards, etc. 2016 season. He can also win this with individual improvements in categories like TDs, percentage completion etc.

» $ 25K per game the team wins and it participates more than 50%, with the top prize being $ 400K.

Meanwhile, the Titans have Mariota in reserve now, and if teams call to try to negotiate it, they will listen – just like any other player. But that sounds absurd based on his $ 20.9 million salary, so it looks like he will be the replacement and be ready. What about Tannehill?

"It looks like we made the right decision and the plan is working," Dye said. "But Ryan will be the first to tell you, he has to do it."

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.

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