Folks, here's truth: Sometimes overpaying is just the right price.
The Dolphins' front office has lately gotten a reputation for declining to overpay for players, and particularly for quarterbacks. They declined to overpay for Kyle Orton and Carson Palmer last season. They declined to overpay for Robert Griffin III, Matt Flynn, and Alex Smith this offseason.
Now, it must be said that overpaying is a relative term. What seems like overpaying for one team might be reaching the exact right price for another. Obviously, the Washington Redskins don't think they overpaid by giving up three first-round picks plus other considerations for RG3. The Raiders last year thought multiple first-round picks for Carson Palmer was about right.
So let the message go out from here: Unless a quarterback falls directly to you (rare unless you are the Indianapolis Colts) sometimes overpaying is not only necessary, it is wise.
Can we agree on that?
I don't ask that question lightly. Most people would say overpaying is something to never be done. Overpaying is a great way to set a franchise back if you overpay for the wrong person. But here is my caveat:
If the Dolphins can identify a quarterback they have a conviction about, they should move heaven and earth to get that guy, including overpaying for him. Failing to do this means that you're doing nothing. Failing to overpay, if necessary, shows an unwillingness to gamble. It shows a play-it-safe mentality about which nothing terrible will ever be written -- but nothing great will ever be written, either.
And that brings me to Ryan Tannehill.
The Dolphins are doing everything they can to gain a conviction on this kid. They interviewed him at the Indianapolis Combine. They went to his pro day Thursday. They took him to dinner Wednesday evening. They spent time with him after the pro day, asking him to break down plays and show how prepared he is to understand the West Coast offense. (As an aside, it stands to reason Tannehill is a natural for the Dolphins offense since he's run it, or a major portion of it, during his 19 starts for Texas A&M.)
Tannehill, who was converted to wide receiver at A&M before being converted back late in 2010, is clearly taking advantage of the fact he's a quarterback and, by all accounts, the third best quarterback prospect in a draft with six or so quarterback-needy teams in the top 15 or so spots.
The Dolphins, at No. 8 seem in good position to land Tannehill if no other team shows desperation. But the problem is other teams, including Seattle, Kansas City and others might show enough desperation to try to get ahead of Miami to pick Tannehill. Those teams, in other words, might be willing to overpay for Tannehill.
That means the Dolphins might have to (gasp!) move up from No. 8 to pick Tannehill. They might have to (gasp again!) overpay for Tannehill. What makes this galling to some people is they believe taking Tannehill at No. 8 is already overpaying for the kid.
That's just the way it is.
The fact of the matter is that the NFL is a quarterback league and any team without one that is either a star or has the potential to be a star is living in the knowledge that it has virtually no chance of winning a Super Bowl until that guy appears on the roster.
And to get that guy on the roster, like it or not, you might have to overpay.