Well, we are out of the playoffs. However, while the season is by no means over, it can still be interesting to look ahead at the our offseason possibilities, as our weaknesses are quite apparent. My mock is after the jump.
Clearly, it is imperative that we maintain continuity on the defense; thus, Mike Nolan and all defensive position coaches should be retained. However, Dan Henning has held this team back offensively; he should be replaced. I prefer someone more aggressive, someone who has proven that he can use a gunslinger QB like Henne to his full potential; that is why I would like someone like Mike Martz or even Gary Kubiak, should one of them become available. Also, in order to show the disappointment the coaches have for Henne's development, David Lee should be replaced.
However, Tony Sparano should also keep his job. Every year under him, the team has improved; he just needs time and good assistant coaches, and he can easily turn the franchise around. Anyone else will simply slow the retooling process.
Our highest priority is the offensive line; thus, I advocate signing LG Logan Mankins. Also, for some speed on offense, I think it would be wise to go after RB Darren Sproles and WR Jacoby Jones. To make room for them, we should trade Brian Hartline (he can be very good and he is entering his third year, making his trade value high, but he just doesn't fit the team's needs very well) and Vernon Carey (he is getting older, but still is very well respected in the league. Also, he is about to get very expensive, and cutting his contract will give us money needed to sign the other players.)
These trades should net us a mid to high 3rd rounder and a mid 4th rounder.
We should also re-sign Ronnie Brown to a 2 year contract, with an option to void the second year, to be safe and to make sure we have a lead back this year. We should allow Ricky Williams to retire. Lastly, Richie Incognito should be re-signed as a right guard, and Tyler Thigpen should be re-signed as the backup.
Defensively, Paul Soliai must be signed at all costs. However, Tony Mcdaniel should be allowed to walk, as he will be expensive, and we do not need to be 6 deep at 3 line positions.
1st Round: Trade down to the end of the 1st for either an early 3rd or a late 2nd. With this pick, we should get Nate Solder (OT) to help replace Vernon Carey at RT. He is apparently extremely talented, and should improve our pass blocking.
2nd Round: Trade up to early 2nd or late 1st round using the picks we acquired from trading down and from trading away players. With this pick, we should select Stefen Wisnewski (C) to finish overhauling the line. Our final line will look like Long - Mankins - Wisnewski - Incognito/Jerry - Solder, with Garner as primary backup.
3rd Round: Christian Ponder (QB)- He should be taken as insurance for Chad Henne. He is immensely accurate (68.7%), and a senior: a good recipe for success. Best case scenario, he is a very solid backup to Chad Henne; worst case scenario, he is the next hopeful franchise quarterback for the Dolphins.
4th Round: Pass Catching Tight End
5th and After: Depth along line, at running back, and on Defense
I know that the idea of keeping Henne and Sparano is not popular, but I truly believe that by adding some speed to the offense, upgrading the offensive coordinator and QB coach positions, and especially overhauling the line while maintaining a sense of continuity, this offense, and by extension this team, can become great. All that is left to address for next year is Ronnie Brown's replacement, and, in the unlikely event Henne, Ponder, and Thigpen all tank, QB.