Based on where he ranks versus other NFL starting quarterbacks, Ryan Tannehill could end up being a big-time bargain for the Tennessee Titans.
Some people, like former Packers and Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett, have attempted to argue that the Titans overpaid for Tannehill or should have gone in a different direction, but those arguments just don’t make sense.
To prove that point, I’ve comprised a list of all non-Tannehill NFL starting quarterbacks and divided them into four categories: better than Tannehill, equal to, worse than and rookies who haven’t played yet.
BETTER THAN TANNEHILL (8)
.@KB31_Era on belief in Ryan Tannehill:
He doesn’t really get too high or too low. Can always ride behind a guy like that. Leaders at QB, the team’s energy rides off that. He’s a winner.
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) April 28, 2020
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks: Wilson is consistently one of the NFL’s top QB performers. His supporting casts are usually above average at best, which makes his accomplishments all the more impressive.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: Remains the best arm talent in NFL history aside from Dan Marino. Went 13-3 in a Matt LaFleur offense.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: No one has the touch that Brees does. He’s still getting it done in his 40s.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs: The best player in the NFL right now.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens: I still don’t know how the Titans bottled him up in the divisional round of the playoffs. He is nearly impossible to defend.
Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The most decorated QB in league history remains a force, despite what his team’s performance in 2019 would seem to suggest. Better weapons = better Brady. Watch out.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons: The definition of steady. He’s not one of the elites, but he’s a step ahead of everyone I’ve put in the middle tier.
Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans: His abilities to scramble and push the ball downfield make him tough to defend, although his lack of proper technique will eventually catch up to him.
JUST AS GOOD / PUSH (5)
Byard on Ryan Tannehill: He doesn’t get too high or too low. He stayed humble in the midst of success in 2019. He’s a great leader.
— Luke Worsham (@luke_worsham) April 28, 2020
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys: Wins games and makes plays, but his lack of arm strength makes him limited.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers: Always been a big Big Ben fan, but it’s fair to wonder what he has left in the tank after essentially missing an entire season due to injury.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings: He’s all over the place. A hero one week and a goat the next.
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles: Wentz still has yet to unlock his full potential due to injuries and some startling, underwhelming performances.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions: I’d love to see what Stafford would look like if he played for a franchise that wasn’t utterly incompetent.
WORSE THAN TANNEHILL (15)
Jarrett Stidham, New England Patriots: Watched this guy for two full days of practice and a preseason game last summer and I remember nothing about him, which is saying something.
Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders: Too weirdly inconsistent. Hasn’t been nearly the same player since breaking his leg.
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers: Good QB who works well in his system, but prone to inaccuracy and turnovers.
Daniel Jones, New York Giants: Stiff and prone to fumbles. Could improve. We’ll see.
Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears: Wildly inaccurate. He’s what Jake Locker would’ve been had he never been injured.
Drew Lock, Denver Broncos: Promising, but haven’t seen enough to put him ahead of Tannehill.
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns: Followed up a promising rookie campaign with a stinker of a sophomore season. Who knows what the Browns will get from him in 2020.
Dwayne Haskins, Washington Redskins: There’s something in Haskins to tap into, but I don’t believe in the Redskins to do it.
Sam Darnold, New York Jets: The king of the “mononucleosis: out indefinitely” meme hasn’t been impressive through his first two seasons.
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills: You will win games with Josh Allen as your QB, but he will rarely be the reason why you win them.
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals: Electrifying athlete that could soar up this list by the end of his second season.
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams: Sean McVay’s puppet needs to be sent to Gepetto for some work.
Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers: Bridgewater has always been overrated. He’s a fine QB, but people have latched onto him too much because of the hero narrative his knee injury leads too.
Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts: Rivers was one of the NFL’s best as recently as 2018. In 2019, he stunk and turned the ball over at an alarming rate.
Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars: More meme than franchise QB.
Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Of the 28 non-Tannehill starting QBs in the NFL who aren’t rookies, 15 of them are worse than Tannehill, eight are better, and five are about at the same level.
That means that, at worst, Tannehill is the 14th best QB in the NFL and, at best, he’s No. 9.
Tannehill was exceptional in 2019, leading the league in multiple major statistical categories and taking home the Comeback Player of the Year Award.
He’s solidified himself as a top QB who at least half of the NFL would probably give up their signal-caller for in a heartbeat.
If you think the Titans overpaid for Tannehill, you’re off base.
Cover image: Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today