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NFL Draft: Fins May Take Tannehill…Or Not

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Ryan Tannehill

COLLEGE STATION, TX – NOVEMBER 24: Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Texas A&M Aggies throws a pass against the Texas Longhorns in the first half of a game at Kyle Field on November 24, 2011 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Images)

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Miami Dolphins

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There’s an old saying that there are “lies, damn lies, and statistics.” During each year’s annual buildup to the NFL’s selection special, the words NFL Draft could be added to the list.

The Miami Dolphins appear set on a few players they can pick with the number eight overall pick. Now, it’s all a guessing game as to who the pick will be.

According to profootballtalk.com, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is “pushing” for quarterback Ryan Tannehill to be the first round pick of the team. The report could be true given that Ross has been pushing for a franchise quarterback since he’s been here.

But, CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald reported the Ross story is not true and that Ross has not told anyone who the team should draft. Then again, SI.com’s Peter King reported Monday morning that a highly placed Dolphins source said the original profootballtalk.com was “right on.”

King also reported that Miami offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, who coached Tannehill while at Texas A&M, “isn’t standing on the table for him.” If the last part of King’s report is accurate, the Fins may not be inclined to take Tannehill if his former head coach isn’t gung ho for him.

It’s wise for the Dolphins not to send clear signals as to whether they intend to draft Tannehill, because it keeps the trade market open for a team to move ahead of the Fins and take Tannehill, if the Fins aren’t sold on taking him at eight.

But the very trade market the Dolphins, Jaguars, and Rams hope to generate may be obsolete based on part of the collective bargaining agreement.

Both profootballtalk and SI.com reported that each first round pick this year will be signed to a four-year contract with a team option for the fifth year. Teams have to tell players by May of the fourth season if they plan to exercise the option.

Here’s where it gets tricky. For picks 1-10 of the first round, the fifth year salary will be the average of the top 10 salaries at the position that season. For the other picks in the first round, the fifth year salary will be the average of the third through 25th salaries at that position that year, according to SI.com.

The difference between salaries can be several million dollars and with a hard salary cap in the NFL, every dollar counts.

So while the original theory was the new CBA would make it more beneficial to jump up to take a player may not be entirely true. It ends up making the Kansas City Chiefs, who hold the 11th overall pick, as being in the driver’s seat for the first round.

As for the Dolphins, they could be trying to sandbag on Tannehill and also make it sound like they love Tannehill to keep teams guessing as to who they really like. Given the release of another defensive lineman Monday, the Fins may choose to target a rush defensive end/linebacker in the first round.

All of it leads to Thursday night’s NFL Draft and proves once again why the NFL is the big dog of professional sports among fans.

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