NFL notes: Dolphins give Ryan Tannehill $77.7m extension

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) has not had it easy in his first three years in the NFL, but the Dolphins thought enough of him to give him a $77.7 million, four-year extension Monday.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) has not had it easy in his first three years in the NFL, but the Dolphins thought enough of him to give him a $77.7 million, four-year extension Monday.File/Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

Ryan Tannehill signed a $77.7 million, four-year extension with the Dolphins that keeps him under contract through 2020, the team said Monday.

He’s the first quarterback to receive an extension from the 2012 draft class that also included the Colts’ Andrew Luck, the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III, and the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson.

‘‘We are thrilled that we were able to sign Ryan to an extension,’’ said Mike Tannenbaum, executive vice president of football operations. ‘‘He is an ascending talent, a team leader, and checks all of the boxes you are looking for at the position.’’

Last month the Dolphins exercised their fifth-year, $16.2 million option for 2016 on Tannehill’s rookie contract. Tannehill, the eighth overall pick of the 2012 draft, has started every game in his first three seasons and improved each year, although he has yet to lead Miami to a playoff berth.


Last season he threw for 4,045 yards with 27 touchdowns, and his passer rating was 92.8. All of those figures were career highs.

‘‘Signing Ryan to this deal is important to our franchise,’’ general manager Dennis Hickey said. ‘‘He is a proven quarterback in this league that combines a talented skillset with work ethic, passion, toughness and a team-first mentality. We are committed and believe in Ryan as our quarterback for the long term, and we are excited to be able to sign him to this extension.’’

The 2016 salary will be a big increase for Tannehill after making a total of $12.7 million in the first four years of his contract.

Seattle DT has cancer

Seahawks reserve defensive tackle Jesse Williams will undergo kidney surgery after being diagnosed with cancer.

The team announced Williams’s diagnosis of papillary type-2 cancer, but did not provide details. In a statement, Williams says he is going to focus on his health and, ‘‘fighting this battle with a return to football as my ultimate goal.’’


According to statistics from the American Cancer Society, the average age of people diagnosed with kidney cancer is 64 and kidney cancer for those under age 45 is rare. Williams is 24.

General manager John Schneider says Williams has overcome ‘‘a great deal in his life and we will support him in any way possible.’’

Williams was taken by Seattle in the fifth round of the 2013 draft out of Alabama but he’s been plagued by knee injuries and is still awaiting his NFL debut.

UConn WR signs

The Seahawks signed wide receiver Deshon Foxx after the UConn product participated in the team’s rookie minicamp as a tryout player.

To clear a spot on the 90-man roster, the Seahawks waived injured running back Demitrius Bronson.

Foxx started 23 of 38 games in his college career and caught 73 passes for 918 yards and three touchdowns. He was also a threat as a runner, carrying the ball 40 times for 277 yards and one TD.

Bronson signed with Seattle as a rookie free agent in June 2014 and spent the majority of the season on the Seahawks’ practice squad. He was signed to a futures contract in February after the Super Bowl, but did not participate in the recent rookie minicamp with a hamstring injury.

Niners’ Smith retires

Defensive lineman Justin Smith is hanging them up after 14 years, the third defensive star to retire from the 49ers this offseason.

‘‘They all want you to keep playing, and I want to keep playing as well, but when you get on the bald tires, you’re on the bald tires,’’ Smith said.


Smith’s decision had been expected for much of the offseason, but did not become official until the team made the announcement that the 35-year-old defensive stalwart would not be back.

One of the most durable players at one of the most physically demanding positions, Smith had been hampered the past two seasons by a bum left shoulder that he first hurt in training camp in 2013.

That shoulder absorbed the brunt of the punishment as a right defensive end and Smith did not feel up to playing another season.

‘‘It doesn’t respond like I want it to respond anymore,’’ he said. ‘‘If you don’t have the tools, you can’t do the job. It’s time to go.’’

While Smith could still be an effective player, he could no longer be the dominant one he had been for so long in his career and that’s what led to his decision.

‘‘People are going to compare him to everybody else,’’ coach Jim Tomsula said. ‘‘Justin Smith doesn’t compare himself to anybody else. He compares himself to himself. That’s the bar he sets. . . . I've always known with Justin that if he didn’t feel like health-wise he can play at the level he plays at, he’s not going to do it.’’

Smith is the third defensive star to retire from the 49ers this offseason, joining linebackers Patrick Willis and Chris Borland. Coach Jim Harbaugh is also gone, along with running back Frank Gore, guard Mike Iupati, receiver Michael Crabtree, and cornerback Chris Culliver.


Smith was drafted in the first round by Cincinnati in 2001. After seven successful seasons with the Bengals, he signed with San Francisco and had his best success with the 49ers.

Smith was the anchor of San Francisco’s 3-4 defense that made three straight trips to the NFC title game from 2011-13 and one Super Bowl appearance. He tied up blockers and broke down protection to help the team’s stellar linebacker corps of Willis, Navorro Bowman, and Aldon Smith succeed.

While Smith never recorded double-digit sacks in a season in his career, he was so well-regarded that he was selected as an All Pro first-team defensive tackle and second-team defensive end in 2011. He was the first player ever to make the AP’s first and second team at different positions.

Smith also was picked as second-team All-Pro defensive end and defensive tackle in 2012 and made five Pro Bowls in his seven seasons in San Francisco.

During his career, Smith started 217 of 221 games played, including a streak of 185 consecutive starts from his rookie season through December 2012. He finished his career with 1,370 tackles, 87 sacks, 16 forced fumbles, 10 fumble recoveries, 3 interceptions, and 30 passes defensed.

Smith posted at least five sacks in 12 of his 14 seasons played and is one of 13 players to register five or more sacks in at least 12 seasons since sacks became an official statistic in 1982.


Cowboys keep Clutts, cut Collins

The Cowboys re-signed fullback Tyler Clutts and released fullback Jed Collins.

Clutts played all 16 games last season, with one start. He also had his first career touchdown in the playoffs, a 1-yard catch in the divisional round loss to Green Bay.

Dallas signed Clutts late in 2013 after he was released by Miami. He played in four games for the Cowboys that season.

Clutts, 30, has played in 56 games with nine starts over four years, but still doesn’t have a carry.

He spent three years in the CFL and elsewhere out of Fresno State before Cleveland signed him to its practice squad in 2010. He made his NFL debut with Chicago a year later.