Earlier this month, the Ryan Tannehill era officially ended for the Miami Dolphins, as the team traded their starting quarterback for the past seven seasons to the Tennessee Titans, where he is now expected to play behind former No. 2 overall draft pick Marcus Mariota. A new report, however, suggests that the Dolphins had tried to shake things up at the quarterback position as far back as last year, as the team purportedly inquired about longtime Detroit Lions star Matthew Stafford prior to the start of the 2018 season.
On Tuesday, Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald cited “multiple” league sources familiar with the discussions, reporting that then-Dolphins head coach Adam Gase had gone as far as to personally ask Lions coach Matt Patricia if it was possible to trade for Stafford. As noted, the talks don’t appear to have progressed to the point where the Dolphins were asked to come up with a potential trade package, but Salguero wrote that Gase would have likely offered Miami’s 2018 first-round draft pick “and probably more” in order to acquire the 31-year-old Stafford.
While Patricia had just recently joined the Lions at the time of the supposed inquiry, he reportedly informed Gase that he did not intend to part ways with Stafford, given how valuable he has been to the Lions since he was picked first overall in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Commenting on the Dolphins’ rumored attempt to trade for Stafford, The Miami Herald’s Salguero wrote that the move contradicts the belief that Gase was unwavering in his faith in Tannehill, so much so that he chose to leave the Dolphins’ quarterback rotation relatively unchanged. Despite the fact that the 30-year-old former first-round pick missed the entire 2017 NFL season due to a knee injury, the Dolphins did not draft a quarterback in the first round of last year’s draft, as they opted for defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick as the No. 11 overall selection.
As further pointed out by Salguero, Stafford’s run with the Lions has generally been successful and productive, though, at this point in the career, he has yet to stand out as a “consistently elite” player or as someone who could turn Detroit into a Super Bowl contender. Last season, Stafford led the Lions to a 6-10 record, throwing for 3,777 yards with 21 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions in 16 games.
Meanwhile, Tannehill put up solid numbers last year in his return from injury, as he had 17 touchdown passes, nine interceptions, 1,979 passing yards, and a 92.7 QB rating while going 5-6 in 11 starts, per Pro Football Reference. Tannehill will likely be replaced this season by veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who signed with Miami this month after a stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.