Last season starting Dolphins’ quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, suffered a sprained MCL and ACL late in the season. Tannehill was forced to miss the last few games of the season including a playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tannehill and the Dolphins made the decision to let the injury try to heal on its own and avoid a surgery that could have taken months to rehab from. The surgery could have caused Tannehill not to be ready for the start of the 2017 season, but now it’s looking like the team and Tannehill made the wrong choice. In one of the first 11 on 11 practices of the season Tannehill reinjured his knee on a noncontact play and may miss the entire season.

The Dolphins now have to figure out who their 2017 quarterback will be and there may only be one choice.

Jay Cutler

When Jay Cutler walked away from the NFL it seemed too early. He had only played 11 seasons in the NFL and seemed to have something left in the tank. Some experts thought Cutler would have to wait until after the draft to find a job, but even after the draft came and went no teams came calling. Cutler decided to walk away from the NFL and into a broadcast booth, but the injury to Tannehill may bring Cutler out of his short retirement. Jay had never been great but he had always been above average and someone that could make a good team competitive and if the Dolphins need a new QB for the whole 2017 season it should be Cutler.

Cutler fits with the Dolphins for one simple reason, Adam Gase.

Before becoming head coach of the Dolphins Gase was the offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears. Gase only worked with Cutler for one season, but it was arguably Cutler’s best year as a pro. In 15 games Cutler had a career best 92.3 passer rating and threw 21 touchdowns to only 11 interceptions. Those may not be hall of fame numbers, but they are the numbers of a QB that has a good grasp on an offense.

The Dolphins are a young team that have enough talent that they should be able to compete for at least a wild card spot in the playoffs, but they need a QB that can run their offense and Cutler should be that guy.

Other options

Of course, there are other quarterbacks that the Dolphins could and probably will consider. The first and most logical option after Cutler may be Matt Moore.

Since entering the league in 2007 Moore has only started 28 games, but is considered one of the best backups in the league. Last year he helped the Dolphins get into the playoffs by winning two of the last three games and had a passer rating of 105.6 in those games. In a playoff game against the Steelers he completed 80.6 percent of his passes and had a 97.8 passer rating, but still lost the game. Moore has been on the Dolphins since 2011 and has shown that he can play some high-quality football, but he may not be good enough to keep the Dolphins competitive for a whole season. He also lacks the big arm that Jay Cutler has and the Dolphins’ offense relies on taking big shots down field. If the Dolphins were to sign Cutler it would probably cost them around $15 million, Moore would be significantly less.

Moore also already has a familiarity with other players on the Dolphins that Cutler doesn’t. If there is some sort of chance that Tannehill can come back this season Moore may be the most cost effective and best short term answer.

Arguably Colin Kaepernick is better than a lot of QBs who are currently on NFL rosters, but he still finds himself a free agent. Some people think it’s because Kapernick kneeled during the national anthem while others point to the fact his team didn’t win a lot last year. Kapernick played against the Dolphins last year and was nearly booed out of the stadium for defending Cuban President Fidel Castro. A good amount of Miami’s population has some sort of Cuban roots and couldn’t stand the idea of Castro being defended.

Dolphins’ linebacker Kiko Alonso – who has Cuban roots – made a game saving tackle against Kapernick last year and after the game admitted there was ‘bad blood’ because of Kapernick’s view on Castro. Other teams like the Ravens may be willing to sign Kapternick, but the Dolphins simply aren’t going to want to take on a guy who is so disliked in the Miami and by other players in the locker room. The Dolphins will most likely look at every other free agent quarterback and trade option available, but at the end of the day Cutler may be the only guy who can step in right away and help make sure 2017 isn’t a lost season for the Dolphins.