While the Dolphins finished another year without making the playoffs and their owner has bungled things up yet again by building a confusing hierarchy, there's been at least one bright spot: Ryan Tannehill's emergence.
And now reports from Dolphins camp have begun to surface that the team is ready to make Tannehill their long-term guy by giving him a contract extension.
On Wednesday, General Manager Dennis Hickey met with the media for the first time since the season ended and addressed the possibility of giving the Dolphins quarterback that extension.
Under NFL rules, the Dolphins have until May 3 to give Tannehill at least a one-year extension. But Miami would like to give him a long-term extension, which would take some maneuvering of the salary cap.
Hickey didn't say much but did say the team likes the progress Tannehill has made and is excited about his future.
"We're excited about what Ryan has brought to the table for us as an organization, not only on the field but off the field, and the way he handles his business," Hickey said, per the Palm Beach Post.
Just a day before Hickey's remarks, Stephen Ross made similar comments about Tannehill, telling ESPN that he's pleased with the QB's progress and saying that, despite the Dolphins' continual dance with mediocrity, the future is bright because of Tannehill.
"I think you saw the development of Ryan, and a lot of the other younger players, and I think that bodes well," Ross said to ESPN's James Walker. "It's hard. You see all these teams making coaching changes and you see us, and none of them have quarterbacks, mostly don't. So I think that bodes well for the future as we build something."
Whatever Dolphins fans feel about Ross and the team's overall perpetual crapfest, it's tough to deny that Tannehill's progress is the one good thing to point to.
After a rough start to the season, Tannehill emerged as one of the most accurate passers in the NFL in 2014, posting a passer rating of 92.8 and throwing for 4,045 yards and 27 touchdowns. Tannehill also seemed to thrive under new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor's system and proved his toughness as the Dolphins offensive line crumpled down the stretch.
Miami has a ways to go before it can be in the same stratosphere as teams like the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots. Finishing third in the AFC East and constantly missing the playoffs is not fun.
But with Tannehill, there's now at least some hope, which has been missing for some time.
Now it's time to lock him up and give the kid that extension.
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