Ryan Tannehill will earn that franchise-quarterback extension if Dolphins ever learn to protect him

Dan Marino was sacked six times during the 1988 season. Ryan Tannehill was sacked seven times in a single game at Buffalo a couple of years ago.

That’s a stark reminder of how little help Tannehill has gotten from his constantly-changing offensive line these last three seasons, and how deserving he actually is of the $45 million in guaranteed contract-extension money that the Miami Dolphins gave him the other day.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) scrambles away from Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Corey Wootton (99) and Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (93) at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on December 21, 2014. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) scrambles away from Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Corey Wootton (99) and Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (93) on December 21, 2014. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

As many times as he’s been sacked, it’s fairly amazing that Tannehill hasn’t missed a start, and even more so that his passing numbers have risen at such a rapid pace. He’ll never come close to Dan Marino in production, but if a guy can earn franchise-quarterback money for toughness alone, Tannehill has done it.

Here is a chart that shows the most passing yards ever thrown in the first three seasons of an NFL quarterback’s career. Match that with the number of times those quarterbacks were sacked over the same period.

 

Player                                       Passing Yds                   Times sacked

Andrew Luck                           12,957                             100

Peyton Manning                     12,287                               56

Dan Marino                             11,431                                41

Andy Dalton                             11,360                               99

Cam Newton                           11,299                               114

Ryan Tannehill                         11,252                             139

 

Will Tannehill be around to collect all his contract-extension treasure if this kind of punishment continues? Is it realistic to expect him to lead the Dolphins anywhere important if his blockers can’t keep him from being crushed?

It’s an interesting debate, but I’m optimistic he has more to show us. For a guy who only started 19 games at the position in college, Tannehill’s first 48 starts as a pro have probably gone better than they should.