Against all my hopes and wishes, the Dolphins will enter next week’s free agency with Jeff #Fireland as GM. A position that will never look as attractive as it does right now.… with a young QB, lots of cap space, and lots of draft picks. I guess that’s life… as a dolfan.
Let me preface all of these moves by explaining the direction I think this team should take. The Fins are constructed very poorly. An archaic, run-first offense with a lack of playmakers… and a defense that can stop the run (in a passing league). This offseason is about reversing those trends (basically asking #Fireland to forget everything he knows).
On offense, I would add playmakers to the passing game. All 8 teams in the divisional round of the playoffs scored at least 28 points… by comparison, in 2012 the Fins accomplished that twice (Oak & NYJ). NFL rules favor the offense… how else can you explain all 8 playoff teams giving up at least 28 points in the divisional round? So my #1 priority this offseason is finding guys who score TDs (or help me score TDs).
This team isn’t getting fixed in one offseason… these next 2 months will be a foundation for change, but not everything will get addressed. With that in mind, the secondary is going to be a work in progress. The Fins will face Brady twice, Flacco, Dalton, Ryan, Newton, Rivers, Roethlisburger, Brees, Luck, and Freeman in 2013. You could have 2 great CBs and still get picked apart by those guys without pressure. My #1 goal on defense is finding a compliment to Cameron Wake. The playoff teams are going to score 28+… teams can try to take away 3 or 4 weapons… or they can pressure one QB. Which one is easier to address THIS offseason?
With all that said, here is my unsolicited advise for Mr. #Fireland…
Dolphins Free Agents
Jake Long: Smell you later. You don’t fit the scheme, you don’t finish the season, you aren’t an elite LT anymore. I don’t want Jake back at a discount… I don’t want him back at all. I can replace you with a better fit this offseason. I’m not saying he’ll be a pro bowler, but my new LT will fit my scheme better.
Sean Smith: need help packing for KC? In a league dominated by passing, you’re not cutting it. You’re like the awkward kid that grew too fast and never adjusted. No ball awareness, no hands, and obviously no idea what your self-worth is. Go play for Andy Reid,who somehow made DRC look bad.
Reggie Bush: I’ll miss your work ethic, but not your dancing. Too bad to, because in my new up-tempo passing offense you could have been productive. You’ll fit in nicely in Detroit or Atlanta.
Randy Starks: I’d try to resign Randy to a team friendly deal… but tagging him is out of the question. I’d tell Starks he’s coming back to compete with Jared Odrick to start, because I’m making a pass-rushing DE one of my priorities this offseason. If you want big money, you can leave.
Brian Hartline: love you dude, but I can upgrade in this draft. People want to talk about your chemistry with Tannehill… but I can replace you with Swope in the 3rd or 4th round and he has just as much chemistry and is faster (that’s an example, not my plan). I need TDs not yards. You’re the type of WR that can be eliminated from the game by a good corner… want proof? See the Rams game. Zero catches. I’m looking for more of a true Y WR… and you just don’t fit the mold.
Anthony Fasano: it’s too bad Bill Parcells is out of the league… he’d take you in a second. Good passing teams all have one thing in common… a stud TE (Gronk, Graham, Davis, Gonzalez, etc). You’re a good TE, but definitely not a stud TE. I’d welcome you back for the right price… and to feature in some 2 TE sets… but an upgrade is needed at TE.
The Dolphins haven’t finished above .500 in 4 straight years… keeping the same players and expecting different results is insane… it’s true… look up that stupid saying about insanity.
Mike Wallace: Young, fast, accomplished. I don’t care what the price tag is… I pay it. I’m not letting Mike leave Davie when I know he might end up in Foxboro. Roll out the orange carpet, have Fergie blow him… I don’t care. Last season Mike Mayock said the Dolphins looked like they were playing offense inside the red zone the entire length of the field. Mike Wallace single-handedly ends that.
Look at the good passing teams… they are all constructed the same way (I’ll use SB champion Ravens as example). The X is the speed guy that opens up the defense (Torrey Smith)… the Y is a big physical possession WR that can make big plays (Anquan Boldin)… the TE can challenge the middle of the field (Pitta)… and the underneath routes are handled by RB (Rice) or a 3rd WR (Jones).
Mike Wallace is a true X WR. I get pissed at people using #1, #2, and #3 incorrectly. It’s not a depth chart thing… they’re specific roles in the offense, each different. The Fins don’t have an X or a Y on the team… that’s why I’m letting Hartline walk… he doesn’t fit the style of offense I’d run.
Jared Cook: IF he becomes a free agent, he and Wallace become 1a and 1b in my list of priorities. Cook is 6’5″ and runs a 4.5 40 with a 41″ vertical… and is only 25 years old. Can you imagine Wallace’s 4.3 speed on the outside and Cook’s 4.5 speed in the middle? His size, speed and leaping make his catch radius much larger than Fasano’s. He becomes a security blanket for Tannehill with Hartline gone.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: As I stated earlier, CB is going to be a work in progress. But DRC is only 26-years old, 6’02″ with 4.3 speed. He is an instant upgrade and worth having a conversation with.
John Abraham: I need more pressure on the QB. Abraham is 34-years old, but is almost a certain for 10 sacks a year. I would be very interested in bringing in Abraham as a situational rusher. I’d still add a rookie, but this would give me more flexibility at #12 in the draft.
Bryant McKinnie: Dolphins aren’t very good (ok they suck) at finding talent from Miami. McKinnie played great in the playoffs this season. He’s 33-years old, but handled the SF pass rush better than anyone on the current roster. You can offer an attractive contract that isn’t Jake Long money and come out with a solid LT.
Andy Levitre: with Buffalo tagging Byrd, Levitre will be a free agent. Stealing Levitre from Buffalo upgrades the Fins oline while hurting a divisional rival. If I’m able to get McKinnie too… a left side featuring McKinnie, Levitre, & Pouncey would be outstanding.
Before you start leaving comments that the Fins can’t sign all of these guys… that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying this is the list of guys I’m bringing to Davie to have a conversation with. The Fins have close to $50 million to spend… so getting a couple of these pieces is a good start.
Teams aren’t built thru free agency… they’re built thru the draft. The guys signed in free agency will dictate my draft board. For example… Eifert is in play at #12 if Cook doesn’t get out of Tennessee… Cordarrelle Patterson is in play at #12 if Wallace signs elsewhere… and DE might be my choice at #12 if I can’t get Abraham (or even Freeney).
The franchise tag deadline is in 6 hours… so things will start to crystalize soon. Let me hear your thoughts below or tweet me @dolfan565