With Ryan Tannehill questions, Dolphins reportedly reach out to Jay Cutler

The New England Patriots might have the AFC East clinched before Thanksgiving.

After initial reports said Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s knee was structurally sound, which seemed to indicate he had avoided a major injury, other reports started to paint a picture that’s more alarming. ESPN’s Adam Schefter said Thursday night the Dolphins “fear” Tannehill needs season-ending surgery, though no decision has been made. The other option Schefter presented is that Tannehill “could decide to rest it for six to eight weeks and try to come back from his knee injury again.”

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It doesn’t sound like we’ll see Tannehill soon, even if he doesn’t get surgery. Tannehill decided to get stem cell treatment instead of surgery on a partially torn ACL, and that seems like a mistake now.

Matt Moore is next in line for the Dolphins. But a couple of really interesting free-agent options might have to be considered.

The Dolphins have already reached out to Jay Cutler, the Miami Herald reported Friday. Cutler took an analyst job with Fox this offseason, but perhaps he could be persuaded to play again. The Herald said Dolphins coach Adam Gase personally reached out to Cutler, and it makes sense. Cutler played under Gase when Gase was the Chicago Bears’ offensive coordinator. Cutler already knows the offense. Jeff Darlington of ESPN said Thursday that Cutler would be interested in delaying his career as a Fox network analyst to play for Gase, but it would have to be for a starting job and the salary of a starting quarterback.

Then there’s the Colin Kaepernick speculation. Everyone has figured Kaepernick’s best chance to get signed would be if a team suffered a serious injury to its starter, and here we are. On July 28, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said about a team signing Kaepernick, “If they think he can help them win, I’m sure — I would hope they would sign him,” according to the Palm Beach Post. Ross told Dolphins players who wanted to take a knee in protest last season, like Kaepernick did, that he supported them. There are probably NFL owners who are against signing Kaepernick because of his protest, but it doesn’t seem Ross would be.

The Dolphins hope Tannehill can avoid surgery and returns soon. But if he’s done for the season, as the team reportedly fears, things could get really interesting in Miami.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, left, hands off to running back Kenyan Drake an NFL football training camp, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, at the Dolphins training facility in Davie, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!