Tannehill to 'Take A Step Back' Before Deciding on Next Step
Ryan Tannehill has nothing but good things to say about his experience as the Tennessee Titans quarterback.
Even with all he accomplished this season, though, he could not say Sunday that he would be back with the Titans next season.
“I’ll have to take a step back and look at things here in the offseason,” Tannehill said following the 35-24 loss to Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game. “Obviously, I love this team. I love what this team was able to accomplish. [I have] a lot of love for the guys on this team and love playing with them.
“… Right now, I can’t really think about anything but how close we were and this loss.”
Eventually, he will think about the fact that he led the NFL in passer rating (117.5) and yards per attempt (9.6). In both cases, he also established career-highs and franchise records. The same was true of his completion percentage (70.3).
He will ponder the fact that he was able to participate in a playoff game for the first time. Eventually, he played in three and was a part of two victories.
And he built a rapport with offensive coordinator Arthur Smith that made things better for both of them as the season progressed.
“I love Art,” he said. “I have a ton of respect for what he’s done this year, being a first-year play-caller and how he’s gone about things – his consistency week in and week out, his process of getting ready for the game. Our communication is great. We spend a lot of time together going through the gameplan and just talking through different things – ways we want to attack and possible adjustments we could make.
“So, [I have] a ton of love for Art and really proud of how he’s progressed throughout the year as a play-caller and definitely a lot of confidence [in him] moving forward in his career.”
Whether Tannehill continues his career with Smith and the Titans remains to be seen. He is eligible to become a free agent when the current contract year ends (March 18).
All the things he accomplished in his brief time with Tennessee will make him attractive to teams in need of an upgrade at quarterback. In his eight-year career, he never has earned more than $18 million in a season. Estimates are that he now can command $25 million-$30 million (possibly more) per year in his next deal.
The Titans will have the wherewithal to pay market value and – presumably – will want to bring him back. If necessary, they could ensure his return with the use of a franchise tag, but they might need that for another high-profile free agent.
So, now that there are no more games to be played, it is time to start the waiting game while Tannehill figures out what he wants to do and where he wants to be.
“I think that we started something special here,” Tannehill said. “A lot of belief in one another in what we can do when we buy in and believe in each other and play together. And we did that throughout the whole season.
“So, like I said, I love playing with these guys and I think they feel the same way.”