Titans QB Ryan Tannehill's surprise season now includes an AFC player of the month award

Frank Schwab

When the Tennessee Titans traded for Ryan Tannehill, they couldn’t have envisioned anything like Tannehill’s 2019 season coming.

Tannehill replaced Marcus Mariota after six games, and then became one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. The Miami Dolphins, who traded Tannehill after Adam Gase couldn’t get much out of him, certainly didn’t see that coming either.

Tannehill was named the AFC’s offensive player of the month for December. Tannehill completed 90-of-132 passes for 1,322 yards with 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions.

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As Tannehill leads the Titans into a wild-card playoff game against the New England Patriots on Saturday night, which can be live-streamed on the Yahoo Sports app, he can make himself a ton of money right before free agency.

Ryan Tannehill had a historic season

Three quarterbacks in NFL history have averaged 9 yards per attempt while completing 70 percent of their passes: Sammy Baugh in 1945, Joe Montana in 1989 and Tannehill this season.

Tannehill’s passer rating of 117.5 is the fourth-best mark ever. Next on the list is Tom Brady’s iconic 2007 season, at 117.2.

Whatever you want to say or think about Tannehill’s season, he was fantastic. Perhaps your view of Tannehill, who didn’t succeed in Miami after being a high draft pick, makes you believe this is a fluke. Perhaps it is. Nick Foles had an out-of-nowhere great season in 2013 and then was nearly out of football a few years later. (He would add more to his legacy though). Case Keenum was one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks in 2017. One-off great seasons do happen, even at quarterback.

Perhaps the playoffs will give us a better indication of whether Tannehill can maintain this level of play in the future. The Titans are going to have to pay to find out.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) scores a touchdown. (AP Photo/James Kenney)
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) scores a touchdown. (AP Photo/James Kenney)

Tannehill in for a big raise

Tannehill will be a free agent after this season. He had a base salary of $1.75 million, which is dirt cheap even for a backup. The Dolphins carried an $18.4 million cap hit to dump Tannehill over the offseason.

Tannehill won’t have a base salary of less than $2 million next season. Tannehill will be 32 so it seems unlikely he’ll get a long deal, but he could get a very lucrative short-term deal. Presumably the Titans, who went 7-3 in Tannehill’s starts, will pay him. Then they’ll wait to see if Tannehill can replicate what he did in 2019.

Before turning the page to the offseason, Tannehill has some more business this season. If he can lead the Titans on a long playoff run, more of the skepticism will start to melt away. And the price will go up.

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab