Extension Puts Tannehill in Upper Crust of 2012 QB Class

David Boclair

No one is likely to confuse it with the legendary 1983 class, but the group of quarterbacks who entered the NFL in 2012 has turned into a pretty accomplished one.

Among the 11 drafted that year, two have been starters for teams that won Super Bowls (Russell Wilson with Seattle, Nick Foles with Philadelphia) and three others have won at least one playoff game. As many as four could be Week 1 starters in 2020, their ninth season in the league.

Ryan Tannehill, the eighth overall pick by Miami and the third quarterback selected in 2012, helped enhance the collective reputation of the bunch – and revitalized his own career – when he helped the Tennessee Titans reach the AFC Championship game last season. A backup when the season began, he took over for Marcus Mariota in Week 7, led the Titans to seven victories over the final 10 weeks of the regular season and then won the first two playoff starts of his career.

That was not enough to move Tannehill to the head of his particular quarterback class in terms of career accomplishments. What it did was put him in the upper echelon in terms of earning power.

With the four-year, $118 million contract extension he signed with Tennessee two weeks ago, Tannehill has the potential to more than double his career earnings and to be one of three quarterbacks drafted in 2012 to ultimately make close to (or more than) $200 million in his career.

“At this point, it’s just about sticking true to what you believe in, who you are, keep your head down, keep working, and don’t worry about the outside noise,” Tannehill said recently.

Through the end of 2019, Tannehill had made $77,050,979 (source: OverTheCap.com). He was paid a $20 million signing bonus for his recent contract extension, which raised that figure to $97,050,979.

He is scheduled to earn another $98 million over the next four seasons, which will make him third in career earnings among all 2012 quarterbacks – if those who are active all see their current contracts to the end. By the end of 2020 Tannehill’s NFL income will exceed the amount first overall pick Andrew Luck earned during his career, which ended suddenly prior to the start of the 2019 regular season.

A rundown of the 11 quarterbacks drafted in 2012, with their earnings to date as well as potential earnings based on their current contracts:

Earnings to date
Contract status
Potential career earnings

Russell Wilson

Third round, 75th overall


Signed through 2023


Kirk Cousins

Fourth round, 102nd overall


Signed through 2022


Andrew Luck

First round, 1st overall


Retired 2019


Ryan Tannehill

First round, 8th overall


Signed through 2023


Nick Foles

Third round, 88th overall


Signed through 2022


Brock Osweiler

Second round, 57th overall




Robert Griffin III

First round, 2nd overall


Signed through 2020


Brandon Weeden

First round, 22nd overall




Ryan Lindley

Sixth round, 185th overall




Chandler Harnish

Seventh round, 253rd overall




B.J. Coleman

Seventh round, 243rd overall




“It’s just about staying true to who you are and what you believe in,” Tannehill said. “I’m not a guy who really gets caught up in outside noise or opinions, or anything like that. I don’t know, I guess maybe just being through it, and being in it for so many years kind of just calluses you to (contract issues) and has taught me to just kind of keep my distance from it all and not feed into it.”

One thing that almost certainly will change is his mailing address.

After being traded to Tennessee a year ago – and with one year remaining on his final pact with the Dolphins – he and his family had a temporary residence throughout the 2019 season.

Now, to borrow a line from The Jeffersons, the Tannehills are moving on up.

“We rented a house last year, and we’re still crossing that bridge,” Tannehill said. “I’m not sure what we’re going to end up doing, but we’ll figure that out here in the next few months.”

Comments (1)
No. 1-1

It has been an interesting journey for this 2012 class. Wilson is still by far the best in my opinion but Tannehill's comeback to glory has been quite the journey.