In about as big of preseason news as we can get around the NFL, veteran signal caller Jay Cutler has ended his short retirement and will play for the Miami Dolphins this upcoming season. Cutler has reportedly signed a one-year, $10 million deal and will almost certainly be the team's starting quarterback in Week 1.
It's been a back-and-forth situation in South Beach since Ryan Tannehill went down with what now looks to be a season-ending knee injury during practice on Thursday.
Initial reports suggested Tannehill might have torn the same ACL he did late last season. Those reports were replaced with news that he avoided any structural damage. Then, late on Thursday, it became rather clear Tannehill would in fact miss the season.
Signing Cutler for $10 million seems to be a clear indication that Miami believes Tannehill won't be on the field during the 2017 season.
There's a whole heck of a lot to look at here from a fantasy perspective.
First off, Tannehill has not been valued as anything more than a bottom-end QB2 option in preseason drafts. We can pretty much put Cutler in the same position, meaning he's nowhere near a starter-caliber fantasy option in standard leagues.
In his eight seasons with the Bears, Cutler never finished better than 14th among quarterbacks in fantasy points. Interestingly enough, that No. 14 finish came back in 2014, the year before current Dolphins head coach Adam Gase took over as the Bears offensive coordinator.
While it was just for one season, Cutler did put up his best performance with the Bears with Gase calling the shots in Chicago. That came in 2015, with the veteran compiling 21 touchdowns compared to 11 interceptions. Now that the two are reunited, there's definitely a certain comfort level. Even then, we couldn't possibly value Cutler as anything better than a mid-tier QB2 option.
For the Dolphins as a whole, replacing the injured Tannehill with Cutler should work wonders in the passing game. As we've seen throughout his career, Cutler has no problem throwing deep. That should act as a boon for DeVante Parker and Jarvis Landry.
Though, Landry himself will likely see a downtick in his PPR production after putting up a combined 204 receptions with Tannehill tossing him the rock over the past two seasons.
At least initially, we can also expect a bump in production from third-year running back Jay Ajayi, who put up 1,423 total yards and 10 touchdowns en route to finishing as the 11th-best fantasy running back last season. As of now, Ajayi likely has top-seven upside heading into the 2017 season.