When Miami Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill went down with another injury to his left ACL last Thursday, it was only natural that the speculation machine would go into overdrive when discussing who could replace him. Though no surgery has yet taken place, the belief is that Tannehill’s 2017 season is already over. Thus, Miami had a decision to make: Stick with Matt Moore as the starter, or sign or trade for another quarterback to take over the No. 1 job.
One name easily connected to the Dolphins and their head coach, Adam Gase, was Brock Osweiler. The former Denver Broncos and Houston Texans starter landed in Cleveland via a trade and had spent three years with Gase in Denver, thus making him an instant, if only hypothetical candidate for Miami.
However, the Dolphins opted to make their strongest overtures to another Gase-related quarterback, Jay Cutler, with whom Gase worked in 2015 when Gase served as the Chicago Bears’ offensive coordinator. Cutler, who had retired from football in May and transitioned into an NFL analyst for FOX Sports, was officially signed to a one-year, $10 million deal on Sunday. Ostensibly, he will be the Dolphins’ starter for the 2017 season.
It turns out that the Dolphins’ interest in Osweiler was cursory, at best. NFL insider Benjamin Allbright reported that there were offers on the board but none that satisfied both sides; according to Allbright, the Dolphins wanted the Browns to absorb more than half of Osweiler’s fully-guaranteed $16 million salary, while the Browns wanted “multiple” draft picks, a price too rich for either party.
Miami wanted Cleveland to eat over half the salary, Cleveland wanted multiple picks— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) August 7, 2017
Meanwhile, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said on the Dan Patrick Show (via 92.3 The Fan’s Daryl Ruiter) that the Browns were never all that serious about shipping Osweiler to Miami:
.@AdamSchefter to @dpshow #Browns have rebuffed trade offer for Brock Osweiler "Cleveland really wasn't interested in parting ways w/ him"— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) August 7, 2017
And another report from the NFL Network’s Jane Slater says that the Dolphins only had eyes for Cutler, thus implying Osweiler was never in serious consideration for the job in at any point:
Source close to the situation in Miami tells me the Dolphins ONLY spoke to Jay Cutler about the job. Reports suggesting otherwise: false.— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) August 7, 2017
This version of events is the one that appears to be most in line with how Browns head coach Hue Jackson characterized them in his Monday press conference. When asked about the reports Miami contacted the Browns about Osweiler’s availability, Jackson said, “It has never been brought to my attention. I wouldn’t know. No one has mentioned that to me.” He doubled down on that statement; when asked again he reiterated that, “Nothing was inquired to me,” regarding trading Osweiler.
As of now, Cutler is Tannehill’s replacement, while Osweiler will be serving as the starting quarterback in the Browns’ preseason opener on Thursday against the New Orleans Saints. This doesn’t necessarily say anything about Osweiler’s chances to be the Week 1 starter for Cleveland in the regular season nor whether or not the Browns will continue to seek a proper trade partner (or just cut Osweiler outright). But all signs at least point to Osweiler not of the Dolphins’ top candidates to serve as Tannehill’s replacement prior to their signing of Cutler.