In defense of Tannehill, he's never had a running game ranked higher than 12th and the best his defense has done in terms of yards allowed was also 12th. Wilson has played with the league's top-ranked defense each of the past three seasons and the rushing attack on offense has been ranked fourth or higher each of his three seasons.
That helps take the pressure off the quarterback. Of course, Wilson has accounted for a lot of that rushing total. Tannehill can also run, rushing for 311 yards last season.
I am not going to sit here and say that Tannehill is as good as Wilson, but he isn't as far behind him as most think. That's why paying both is smart. Now that Tannehill's deal is done, Wilson's should be coming soon, unless there is a major snag, and Luck will get his in Indianapolis.
All should get these mega deals. When you consider that Cassel, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown and Brian Hoyer could all be starting on opening day, it makes all the sense in the world to lock the quarterback up long term if you think he's that guy.
It's even tougher to find replacements now with the colleges moving more to the spread offenses. That makes it tough to evaluate quarterbacks and project them to the next level. The Tennessee Titans are doing that by drafting Oregon's Marcus Mariota with the second overall pick. That's risky.
Tannehill was a risk when he came out, having only played two years at quarterback for Texas A&M after moving from receiver. He said last summer that his limited time playing the position did set him back. But he showed in 2014 that he is plenty capable of being a quality starter -- even after being the most-sacked quarterback the past three seasons. He does need to work on his deep ball and get his yards-per-attempt number up. He only averaged 6.9 yards per attempt. Wilson averaged 7.7. Three starters averaged over 8 yards last season, so you can see Tannehill's number needs to go up, but a better rushing attack will help that. Miami didn't just give the next coming of Dan Marino this contract extension, but, like Wilson, if everything around him is better Tannehill can win a title. This extension is the smart thing to do, even if $20 million seems like a lot for a quarterback who has never been better than .500 in any season.