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Miami Dolphins

Is Mike Tannenbaum on Borrowed Time?

Travis Wingfield

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“Somewhere in that tripod, something is not working,” he said. “The mix is not right. Something along the line is breaking down, whether communicating with players or getting them to play or acquiring players or scouting or evaluation, something is off. At the top of the organization, they have to figure out what the hell it is. Other teams have figured it out.

Dysfunctional organizational structure was the politically correct labeling of Louis Riddick’s thrashing of the Dolphins’ brass back in November. The referenced tripod includes Head Coach Adam Gase, General Manager Chris Grier and Executive VP of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum.

Process of elimination allows us to remove Gase from internal scrutiny. As Simon Clancy said on his March 1stappearance on the Locked On Dolphins podcast, Ross believes he has found “his Don Shula.”

Chris Grier’s storied background as a well-respected scout lends credence to his hand in some recent fulfilling draft classes.

That leaves one fall guy. Stephen Ross’ right hand man for the more than three years, Mike Tannenbaum, has overseen the 22 victory and 26 defeat record since his arrival.

Assigning blame without intimate knowledge of the inner-workings of the organization could be construed as speculation, but connecting the dots helps uncover the mystery.

Mar 11, 2015; Davie, FL, USA; Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Attracting the biggest free agent to hit the market since Peyton Manning was Tannenbaum’s signature move. Dishing out the largest non-quarterback contract in league history paid Ndamukong Suh $60 million for three years of service. While Suh consistently performed at a pro-bowl level, that allocation of resources crippled the Dolphins’ ability to properly fill out a competitive roster.

Tannenbaum’s connection to Suh’s agent, by way of his partnership with Priority Sports and Entertainment, was the lynchpin for the mega-deal. He pushed Ross to make the deal happen to help catapult the Miami defense to another level.

The next three seasons, the Dolphins’ best scoring-defense ranking was 18th(19thand 29ththe other two years). While Grier and his scouting department were filling out the roster with young starters like Kenyan Drake, Xavien Howard and Laremy Tunsil, Tanenbaum has been chasing his tail with substantial salaries for inconsequential players.

Andre Branch, Kiko Alonso and T.J. McDonald were all issued hefty paychecks within the last 15 months. Fast forward to the 2018 off-season and each of those players have been replaced. Barely a year removed from the Branch and Alonso deals, and eight months after the mysterious McDonald extension, each has been asked to take their place at back of the line.

Charles Harris was the team’s first round pick in 2017. The team’s best pass rusher (Cameron Wake) is 35-years old, so a contingency makes logical sense. But when veteran Robert Quinn, along with his $11 million salary, were acquired for a fourth round draft pick, that’s a self-prescribed mea culpa from the Dolphins’ EVP regarding the Branch contract.

One round later, Miami selected Ohio State Linebacker Raekwon McMillan. Fast forward another year, Miami doubled down on Buckeye ‘backers by drafting Jerome Baker. A pair of day-two picks isn’t a good look for the prized-pony from the 2016 draft trade back from pick eight to thirteen – Kiko Alonso.

T.J. McDonald got paid for his work in training camp and pre-season prior to serving an eight-game suspension. Just eight games later, the Dolphins decided the 11thpick of the 2018 draft would serve as his replacement.

The Ben Volin report suggests that Stephen Ross attempted to intervene with the drafting of All-American Safety, Minkah Fitzpatrick. Citing frugality and a desire to acquire more picks as the point of contention for Ross, Volin asserts that the man who has spared no expense in the spirit of winning wanted to pinch pennies opposed to making a selection with the 11thallotment.

Apr 26, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

That report flies directly in the face of every principle Ross has stood for since purchasing the Dolphins a decade ago.

What Volin may have not realized, however, was an inadvertent discovery of turmoil between the Dolphins’ owner and EVP of Football Ops.

Winning is the ultimate antibiotic in the National Football League – it cures every internal illness. The 2016 post-season appearance (the club’s first since 2008) permitted Ross to loosen the reigns on Tannenbaum, enabling him to break open Ross’ checkbook.

When Ryan Tannehill was lost for the season, it meant another $10 million from Ross’ pocket to pay for an atrocious fill-in at the quarterback position.

As a result of this spending spree, the Dolphins had to cut costs in the 2018 off-season. The marquee name joining the exodus was the man Tannenbaum implored Ross to pony up for in 2015, Ndamukong Suh.

Going full circle, a three-year run brought Tannenbaum from a position of emphatically banging the table for the future Hall of Fame defensive tackle, to spearheading his departure.

Known more for their “wins” in March than during the fall and winter, the Dolphins are annually putting chips in the free-agent pot. In 2018, however, there’s a different feel. Bargain buys, character and scheme fits and players that, on the surface, appear to be hand-selected by Coach Gase and Chris Grier, a changing of the guard appears imminent.

Stephen Ross isn’t interested in sacrificing wins to save money, but building a billion-dollar estate draws parallels to constructing a championship football team.

And you don’t arrive at either destination with bad investments.

@WingfieldNFL

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. FR

    May 8, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    Travis excellent review and conclusion. I liked what has been done this off season, Landry walks and they get 2 solid players a 4th and I believe a 7th.
    Suh gone his salary would be enough for 3 outstanding players.
    Tannenbaum should be gone

  2. Carlos Armendáriz

    May 8, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    Good read Travis, and interesting points, we may also have to add that Grier clearly stated (maybe jokingly or not so much) that they had to keep Tannebaum on check so he wouldn’t make any deals by moving up the draft, thats maybe why they stayed put on all picks for the first time since Tannebaum been here, that also signals a change of guard.

  3. Ronald Hiatt Jr

    May 8, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    Good write up Travis, you came to the same conclusion I did. I had this thought since the end of the season. My favorite picks this draft are Fitzpatrick, Gesicki, Smythe, Armstrong, and Ballage. Baker is a LB with athleticism but lacks instincts Griffin was twice the Lb that Baker could be, 1st Griffin has instincts can play either OLB spot whereas Baker is just WLB. Lance Zerlien wrote Baker is going to be an average backup or below average starter, he also states he is worried about the missing hand is why he graded Griffin so low. Ignoring everything and looking at production Griffin 33.5 tfl Baker 18 tfl Griffin 18.5 sacks Baker 7 sacks both 3int, Griffin 10 pd Baker 3 pd. So fear of 1 hand we pass and ignore our eyes.

  4. MiamiMike

    May 8, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    Damn fine article, good read.

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Miami Dolphins

Fantasy Friday: Week 7

Andrew Mitchell

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This Sunday the Miami Dolphins will host the Detroit Lions in Miami. Below we will take a look at 3 fantasy players that could potentially have a good day vs the Lions. All projections are based on a PPR scoring system.

  1. Frank Gore (RB), Projection: 18pts
  • Gore has been Miami’s most effective running back between the tackles. He is has shown that his age is not a factor as he looks to be reaching back in time lately and running like his younger self. I expect there to be a heavy dose of Gore with Brock Osweiler back at the helm of Quarterback. Look for Miami to use Gore often in red zone and he should get a touchdown or 2 this Sunday.

 

  1. Albert Wilson (WR), Projection: 15pts
  • Albert Wilson has been excellent all season. He has been the best WR for Miami this season when it comes to scoring or making plays. His YAC has been ridiculous and look for that to continue vs Detroit’s weak secondary. He should catch plenty of passes and once again very may well find the end zone.

 

  1. Jakeem Grant (RB), Projection: 13pts
  • Grant, a lot like Wilson in stature and skill set has been involved more and more as the season progresses. With Osweiler at Quarterback again for Miami, look for Adam Gase and Co to try and get Grant in space so he can use his speed to beat Detroit’s defense.

 

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Miami Dolphins

9 Players on the Trade Block for Miami to Consider

Skyler Trunck

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In recent weeks, a lot of teams and coaches have been “presumably” shopping players.  The list is becoming longer by the day. Let’s take a look of players that are currently being shopped around.

To set the stage, Miami has been reportedly shopping wide receiver and former first round draft pick, Devante Parker.  He will be factored into these trades to see if he is possible compensation.

Also, Miami is sitting at $7.5m (million) in cap space on the year, with $24m available for next.  It’s probably safe to assume next year’s number will be higher as Miami has been known to cut high-dollar players in the off-season to free up cap.

However, this number still will be relatively low if Miami decides to re-new contracts of players like Cameron Wake, Ja’wuan James, William Hayes, etc.  And if Miami was smart, they’d also look into re-signing players on rookie contracts such as Xavien Howard and Laremy Tunsil.

All-in-all, it’s safe to say Miami would need an impact, top-tier player if they would be willing to part with a large cap space chunk.

 

Le’veon Bell – RB – Pittsburgh Steelers

Let’s start with the biggest name on the trade block — Steeler bell-cow running back, Le’veon Bell.  Bell has been holding out since week 1 in hopes to sign a big contract before the tread of playing RB in this league catches up to him.

Bell would be earning close to $14m (million) this year had he signed the franchise tag to begin the year.  Last year he earned around $12m. Expect any contract he will sign to be a double digit figure per year.

One would assume Pittsburgh would probably demand a high-end draft pick back for Bell and not a player like Devante Parker in return as they are already pretty set at receiver.  With all trade possibilities, Miami has draft capital they could work with.

Miami’s running back situation isn’t A-grade, but it’s far from bad.  Considering they also drafted running back Kalen Ballage this last year, it’s safe to say this position is far from a need on this team.

Given Miami would have to give up a first or second round, and take on a double digit salary figure, this trade would be a hard pass.

 

LeSean McCoy – RB – Buffalo Bills

LeSean McCoy is the other big name running back being shopped around throughout the league.  Despite his injury-riddled career, when McCoy plays, he’s one to watch and warrants the price tag that comes with.

McCoy’s cap numbers aren’t quite as bad as what Bell wants — coming in closer $9m a year (contract expiring in 2020).  Miami may be able to take on this contract, but like Bell, you’d likely have to part with another team star (e.g. Ja’wuan James, Cam Wake) this offseason to retain McCoy.

The Bills have also been rumored to want a high-pick in compensation; however, given their below average receiving team, it’s possible Devante Parker could be involved in a trade with Buffalo.

All that aside, running back isn’t a need for Miami, let alone a 30 year old, injury-riddled back with looming allegations.  Even if you are okay with trading with division rivals, like Bell, McCoy should be a hard pass.

 

Ameer Abdullah – RB – Detroit Lions

Another running back on the trade block.

Unlike the other two backs on the block, Abdullah is still on his rookie contract.  However, that contract expires after this year.

Abdullah would likely hit free agency this offseason if he stays in Detroit, as his talent level probably wouldn’t warrant an extension.  This is especially true if rising back, Kerryon Johnson, continues to dominate touches in the Lions backfield.

Abdullah should only be considered if you’re looking for a cheap, stop-gap fill for running back, which is something Miami doesn’t need at this point.

Like all backs in this list, I don’t see this as a trade Miami should pursue.

 

Amari Cooper – WR – Oakland Raiders

Amari Cooper signed a big contract in 2015 to sign him on until 2019.  A good chunk of that contract is due next year — nearly $14m.  No wonder Oakland is shopping him.

Despite the numbers, Cooper is still a good receiver in this league.  He may not be on the same level as Antonio Brown and Julio Jones, but he can be a legit weapon for teams.

However, Miami is not one of those teams needing receiving weapons.  Miami has four legit wide receiver targets, and that does not include Devante Parker.  If Miami was unwilling to pay Jarvis Landry a contract that large, why would they want to pay that to Cooper?

Cooper would likely have to take a pay-cut if Miami were to make a deal for him.  All-in-all, considering Miami’s current receiving core, Cooper doesn’t bring something drastically different to the table that the other members don’t provide.

Given the lack of need, compensation required, and salary-cap implications, it’d be illogical to make a move for Amari Cooper unless one of those three changes.

 

Deone Bucannon – LB – Arizona Cardinals

Onto the defensive side of the ball.  Deone Bucannon was drafted in 2014 as a strong safety prospect; however, he was quickly transitioned to weak-side linebacker, where he made a large impact on the Cardinals 2015 team that lost in the NFC Championship.

It’s all been downhill from there.

Out of 79 eligible linebackers graded by Pro Football Focus, Bucannon comes in dead last with a grade of 28.8.  To put that in perspective, Miami tackle Sam Young, has a 29.2.  Do you remember him?

Yes — Bucannon is grading worse, according to PFF, than Young this season.

All that aside, is he worth a late-round flyer in hopes he returns to former glory?  Maybe.

Last year, Miami could have used a linebacker with Bucannon’s speed.  However, Miami selected a similar player in Jerome Baker in this year’s draft, lessening the need for a speedy linebacker.

Bucannon’s contract is up after this year.  It’s likely he hits free agency if he continues to play the way he has.

Unless Miami’s linebacking core takes a turn for the worse in upcoming weeks, it doesn’t make sense at this point to give up draft capital or players for a linebacker on the decline.  If Miami wants to kick the tires on him, it’d be a better option to pursue him this offseason.

 

Haason Reddick – LB – Arizona Cardinals

Our own Kadeem Simmonds wrote a great piece on why Miami should trade for Haason Reddick.  Although Miami’s linebacking core is playing better than expected this year, adding depth is never a bad idea.

Reddick was a 2017 first-round draft pick.  Coming out of college, Reddick was sold as incredibly athletic with sky-high potential in this league but also marked as raw and as someone who would need time to develop.  Knowing he needs time to develop in this league, it’s odd that Arizona is already ready to ship him.

It also didn’t help things that Arizona moved him to the edge, where he was severely undersized.  He’s much more suited for an outside linebacker position where he can utilize his athleticism more.

Reddick is still on his rookie contract, so he’d be a great value.  Of all players we’ve looked at so far, Reddick makes the most sense.

I expect a mid-to-late round pick would be sufficient for a player like Reddick, or a player like Devante Parker to pair with Cardinal rookie quarterback, Josh Rosen.

He’s cheap in both salary cap implications and trade compensation, has potential, and at the very least, provides depth.  Make a move, Miami!

 

Patrick Peterson – CB – Arizona Cardinals

Huh — three Cardinals on the trade block?  Seems like new head coach, Steven Wilks, wants to clean house.  It makes sense after watching the beat-down Arizona took at home on Thursday night football.

It’s shocking to see Patrick Peterson on the trade block.  He’s been in the pro bowl every year he’s been in this league, been selected to three all-pro first teams, and is only 28!

He’s an elite player in this league at a position some would argue as the most difficult to play in today’s NFL.

He’d be an expensive player to trade for in both salary cap implications and trade compensation.  Although it’s not astronomical, he’s due $12m in 2019 and $13m in 2020. It’s also probably safe to assume a trade for Peterson would involve multiple high-end draft picks.

Miami still needs to pay their own star corner, Xavien Howard.  Would it make sense to pay another corner to pair with Howard, especially after re-signing cornerback Bobby McCain this past offseason?  Maybe not so much if you consider how much draft capital it would cost to attain him.

Although adding Peterson to a secondary consisting of Reshad Jones, TJ McDonald, Xavien Howard, Bobby McCain, and Minkah Fitzpatrick would be a dream secondary and a nightmare for opponents, the cost is just too steep.

It’s best Miami uses that draft capital and cap space elsewhere and continues to build for the future.  Peterson is a trade-candidate better suited for a team that is one player away from a super bowl appearance.  Miami is not that team.

 

Gareon Conley – CB – Oakland Raiders

Gareon Conley was selected just after Miami’s first round pick in the 2017 NFL draft.  He was projected to go much higher, but due to off-field allegations at the time, he saw a draft day slip.

Conley is a more intriguing target than Peterson for the simple fact the price is low.  He’s on his rookie contract and wouldn’t demand high-end draft picks in a trade.

It’s no secret Miami is not deep at corner, as was on display this past weekend in Chicago.  Conley seems like a player that’s worth making an offer for.

However, like Reddick, Conley is a player who hasn’t found success in this league yet.

If he were to come into Miami, he’d need time to grow in this system.  He wouldn’t provide much, if any, upgrade over our current depth at corner, but next year — who knows?

Make an offer, Miami!

 

Karl Joseph – S – Oakland Raiders

Another former first rounder from Oakland on the trade block.  Karl Joseph is an interesting trade target.

Like Conley, Joseph also hasn’t found success in this league, and he’s regressed this year having only played less than 3% of snaps in the three games he’s played before going down with an injury.

He had a promising start to his career, so it’s tough to decipher why Oakland would give him limited opportunities to start the year.

Coming out of college and in his limited NFL Career, Joseph has shown promise.

It’s tough to imagine Joseph will be a costly addition, possible a late round pick.  It’s also clear Oakland is unhappy with Cooper given the trade rumors and his lack of production in some games this year.  It’s possible a player like Devante Parker could be used as trade compensation for either Conley or Joseph.

Joseph seems like a player who could fit in this defense if he heals up and continues to build on his 2016 and 2017 season.

Miami’s own safety, TJ McDonald, is signed on until 2021, but Miami could move on from him after next year with minimal dead money.  If Miami could get Joseph back on track, he may be a suitable, cheaper, and younger replacement to McDonald.  At the least, he’d provide depth to a safety core that has seen Reshad Jones miss two games thus far this year.

Like Reddick and Conley, Joseph joins the list of players Miami should strongly consider making an offer for.


I’d be interested to here what you think. Follow me on Twitter @skylertrunck and let’s discuss.

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Miami Dolphins

So You Want A Franchise QB?

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

So you’ve come to the conclusion that this is the time to invest in a franchise quarterback.

Maybe you realized this 5 years ago, after having given up on Ryan Tannehill a few mediocre years into Joe Philbin‘s tenure.

Maybe you rode the Tannehill train for the past 7 years, only to come to the conclusion that you can’t go around the uncertain merry-go-round again.

Maybe you’re one of those critics that believe a football team should draft a quarterback every year until they get it right.

You may have started down a different path, but you joined together with plenty of other Dolphins fans and have become unified in the notion that the Miami Dolphins need a new quarterback.

So what does this mean for your beloved Miami Dolphins? A lot, actually. Everyone likes to fantasize over the latest draft possibilities at quarterback each season; it’s how we trick ourselves into thinking Jake Locker and Blaine Gabbert are better than J.J. Watt.

In fact, look at the next four players drafted after Ryan Tannehill (who was 8th-overall in the 2012 NFL Draft):

Pick 9: Luke Kuechly (CAR)
10: Stephon Gilmore (BUF)
11: Dontari Poe (KC)
12: Fletcher Cox (PHI)

All of those players have gone to the Pro Bowl and are viewed as top players at their respective positions.

This isn’t to say that Tannehill was the wrong choice. Miami needed a quarterback and it’s fair to conclude that they weren’t going to select Russell Wilson in the 3rd-round. But this is just one example among many of how a quarterback is taken prior to better football players.

Let me get this out of the way up front. I like Ryan Tannehill as a quarterback and believe he received an untimely mix of poor coaching and poor offensive line play. Matt Ryan wouldn’t have succeeded in this environment and neither would Wilson. I don’t think it’s fair to take a different quarterback (that isn’t a Hall of Fame quarterback), insert them into Miami, and conclude that the team would have performed better. Look at what Jeff Fisher did to Jared Goff in one season with the St. Louis Rams. You don’t think Philbin had a big part in Tannehill’s (lack of) development early on? Insert the best coach/offensive coordinator Tannehill has had in his career and he has his best season cut short by an injury. It’s no coincidence Adam Gase was able to turn Tannehill into a legitimate franchise quarterback.

It’s just unfortunate that we might never really know how successful Tannehill would have been in Miami if he had a better situation around him. You want a hot take? I think Ryan Tannehill will win a playoff game for another team, and it’s going to be a smack in the face.

But it’s also fair to to want a quarterback that is going to bring you certainty and not anxiety.

And that’s where we have to be careful with what you wish for.

Ryan Tannehill isn’t the reason this team wasn’t successful. This was a collective failure by the Miami Dolphins – a continuation of the mediocre ways they’ve developed this 21st century. Getting rid of Ryan Tannehill doesn’t solve your problem. In fact, it magnifies it greatly.

Unless your solution is to obtain Teddy Bridgewater (a player who had a worse knee injury and has seen less game-action than Tannehill has), or obtain a freshly-cut Eli Manning at season’s end (which, lets be honest, is extremely likely from the New York Giants‘ perspective), then you’re best avenue is to draft a quarterback. And for everyone’s sake, lets stop going with the retreads and start building a team.

Risk of Paying for a Prospect

This is the biggest push back fans make for trading up. It’s too risky.

Those with common sense realized that the Miami Dolphins were not going to finish in the top-10 of the 2019 NFL draft. They are too talented of a team (even without Tannehill) to go 5-11. And, given their current status, they’re not about lose 8 of the next 10 games, so it’s safe to say that the Dolphins are going to have to give up a lot of draft capital to obtain the guy they want.

I’m not content with “waiting” for a quarterback to fall. Miami hasn’t gotten lucky since Dan Marino wore #13, so I’m not hedging my bets that Aaron Rodgers falls to them in the late-teens/early-20s in the draft. Nor do I believe they’ll be able to identify a 1st-round talent like Russell Wilson in the 3rd-round.

This is the riskiest part of your decision. Are you willing to risk the next 4-5 years on a quarterback that might force you to do this same exercise all over again?

Keeping it easy, lets say Miami will have to give up (at least) 3 1st-round draft picks and 2 2nd-round draft picks to move to the top-3 spots of the draft. If you get this quarterback selection wrong, you’ve now eliminated 5 potentially productive players from your roster. As Dolphins fans, we know these draft picks don’t always pan out as such, but taking away 5 starting players on rookie contracts is a lot to overcompensate for.

With that said, does anyone remember what the Philadelphia Eagles gave up to get Carson Wentz? Anyone remember what the New York Giants gave up for Eli Manning? If you get the pick right, all future assets are instantly forgotten.

Draft picks replenish annually. Miami can give up their 2019 and 2020 1st-round draft picks and by the time the Dolphins have figured out if their fresh new quarterback is the answer or not, they’ll have their 2021 and 2022 1st-round draft picks waiting for them, ready to be used in another blockbuster trade.

The fear is that getting this selection wrong means you’ve now set your franchise back for the unforeseeable future. Miami has avoided this risk and look what they’ve accomplished over the last 15 years. How much worse can a regrettable draft trade be than the current trend this team is on?

Benefit of a Young Quarterback

This is where you analyze how important a quarterback on a rookie contract is.

Carson Wentz brought the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl on a rookie deal.
Joe Flacco won a Super Bowl on a rookie deal.
Aaron Rodgers won a Super Bowl on a rookie deal.
Russell Wilson won a Super Bowl and went to another Super Bowl on a rookie deal.
Ben Roethlisburger won a Super Bowl on a rookie deal.
Eli Manning won his first Super Bowl on a rookie deal.

How else do all of those teams end up with such dominant defenses? Mark Sanchez went to back-to-back AFC Championship games because he cost nothing compared to the offensive and defensive talent they were able to build around him. That was a product of Mike Tannenbaum, and he followed the blueprint each other team above followed. Young quarterback mixed with a dominant (and expensive) team.

Of all the teams that have gone to the Super Bowl in the last 6 years, only three quarterbacks weren’t on rookie contracts: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan. One of those quarterbacks accepts abundantly less than what he deserves to make (allowing his team to reap the benefits of the additional salary cap space) and the other happens to be a legitimate exception to the rule (Ryan). Manning only made $17.5m the years he took the Denver Broncos to the Superbowl – which is still pretty low for a quarterback that’s discussed in the “greatest of all time” conversation.

The NFL runs on its quarterbacks, but Super Bowl success is reliant upon a dominant team, not a specific individual. The Eagles won last year’s Super Bowl because their team (and Fletcher Cox) was dominant, not because Nick Foles was their quarterback.

Having a quarterback on a rookie contract allows you to obtain the other assets necessary to build a championship-caliber team. The Dolphins aren’t going to be able to lock up Xavien Howard, Minkah FitzpatrickDavon Godchaux, Vincent Taylor, Jakeem Grant and Jerome Baker if they’re too busy spending $20m on a quarterback.

What This Means for Your Roster

If you’re planning on drafting a quarterback next year, then say goodbye to most of your favorite players. Even if they do get the pick right, and they have a franchise quarterback, it’s going to take some time before everything gets turned around (not like anyone would complain with the ‘franchise QB for veteran talent’ trade off). The quickest turnarounds the NFL has seen come in Year 2. The Los Angeles Rams with Jared Goff and the Eagles with Carson Wentz are the latest examples of this. Big Ben won a Super Bowl in Year 2. Russell Wilson won his in Year 2. Even our own Dan Marino made it to a Super Bowl in Year 2.

But you need a Super Bowl-caliber team around them to accomplish that, and it’s hard to say Miami has that right now. They’re a young team, but they aren’t dominant (yet).

Cameron Wake? Won’t be part of the turnaround
Reshad Jones? Won’t be around

In fact, it’s probably easier to list who will be around if Miami selects a quarterback in the 2019 NFL draft – figuring the team will see the full turnaround in 2020-2021:

Laremy Tunsil: Most likely, but you’re paying him to be a top-3 LT in this league
Kalen Ballage: By default, rookie deal
Jakeem Grant: If the team extends him and he develops hands softer than stone
Albert Wilson: If he’s still the multiple-trick pony he currently is
Kenny Stills: A speed receiver that’ll be close to 30; unlikely to be around
Charles Harris: If the Dolphins exercise his 5th-year option; currently unlikely
Davon Godchaux and/or Vincent Taylor: Do you have the money to extend both or are you just picking one?
Xavien Howard: Did you pay him?
Minkah Fitzpatrick: By default, rookie deal
Raekwon McMillan: Did Miami extend him?
Jerome Baker: By default, rookie deal
Mike Gesicki: By default, rookie deal
Bobby McCain: it’s likely he’s still around and on his current contract
John Denney: he’s immortal

Assuming all of the above players are kept (they won’t be), and taking John Denney’s immortality out, that’s 13 players out of a possible 52-man roster that remain from the currently constructed Dolphins squad; and 4 of them will still be on your team because they’re on their rookie deals.

Again, if you guaranteed me that Miami would find a franchise quarterback for the next 10 years at the expense of the current roster, I’d probably sign up for it every time.

If you thought the 2018 draft speculation was intense for Miami, just wait and see what the 2019 draft will bring. This topic is going to float around a lot, and we’re not going to get a clear-cut answer until the Dolphins make their selection next April. Until that selection is made, keep in mind all of the various aspects that go into this decision. It’s easy to say “give me a quarterback”, but the repercussions are vast and last for years.

This decision won’t come down to “if” Miami will take the risk; they’re going to. We just have to hope that they made the right selection. Otherwise, expect to see this post pop up again in 2021 – except with a bunch of different names (and John Denney).

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