WOO HOO, FOOTBALL HAS ARRIVED! Enough BS let's get to it!
Release: Tyler Thigpen
UFDA's to consider: Pat Devlin
QB is obviously the most important position heading into next year. However I am torn between trying to sign the best guy this year or leaving it up to Henne to either sink or swim. Both scenarios seem to make sense, I can see Miami being a serious force with solid QB play as soon as this year, however we have already invested so much in Henne and I don't see Miami abondoning him this early. However, I am almost 100% positive that Miami will bring in atleast one VETERAN QB to compete with Henne. This is a good move folks, even if you see this 'piece' as a washed-up has-been. Henne needs to earn this position, and alot of fans, myself included, are not satisfied with his recent performance. Henne needs to earn his spot as captain of this offense if that's what he wants. I don't mind him starting, but he needs to prove to us fans that he's ready to take that role.
If we are looking to immediately improve our QB position, no doubt, we only have one to make. We attempt to acquire Kyle Orton. Let me let you in on Kyle Orton. I understand he is not an ELITE QB, I get that. But he is a smart, solid, underrated QB who is in the second tier along with guys like Eli Manning, Joe Flacco and Matt Schaub. He may never be a Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers but with a good enough team, you can win a Super Bowl with a guy like Orton... it's been done before. Kyle Orton is the only FA that is young, proven and has put up very good numbers in the last 3 years. Orton put up probowl numbers on the worst team in the AFC last year, and he turned an average Brandon Lloyd into the NFL's top fantasy WR. Combine that with his connection with Brandon Marshall and I'm sure we can all agree that he is an instant upgrade. But here's the stats to prove it.
Not even a challenge. However, even though I can sit here and guarentee our offense would be better with Orton, I CAN see why this may NOT be the best move in the long run. First off, he won't come cheap. Denver has yet to say he's completely available, but I'm not buying it. The Broncos are balls deep in Tebow over there and if we made an offer they'd look into it no doubt about it. But it would likely cost a 3rd/4th round pick. Also, if we made a move this would pretty much mean the end of the Chad Henne project, which I'm not sure Miami is ready to go with yet. If Orton struggles to make an immediate impact with a new offense, the fans could get unruly and a cause a complete FO revamp in 2012 which could bring our team back a bit.
Realistically, although I think Kyle Orton is the best QB we can get in FA, I'm beginning to sway towards a cheaper option and letting Henne compete with another QB. If at worst case this fails to solve our problems, we should consider ourselves lucky; 2012 is supposedly the best rookie QB class since 1984, and Miami will have plenty of options including Luck, Jones, Lindley, and Barkley.
So what should we do?
My choice: Sign Vince Young.
Why? High Reward, Low Risk. He'll be cheap as he'll likely be released by Tennessee and he is the only FA QB young enough to have a legitimate chance at a comeback. Does anyone actually believe we can win a super bowl with a guy like Palmer, Hasselbeck or Favre under center? Vince would come cheap and is young and athletic. He has shown flashes and would be able to compete immediately with Henne for the starting job. If he is erratic, he won't start. If both guys progress than we would have 2 solid options at QB: this is not a bad thing.
RECAP: Unless we can get an ultimate steal for the gem of this FA class, Kyle Orton, I am beginning to think it is better to use our money elsewhere and save our draft picks. I do like Tyler Thigpen, but I don't think anyone here thinks he can legitimately start 16 games so it doesn't make much sense to resign him and lose a roster spot, no offense to Tyler. As far as UFDA's there are a few interesting names but nobody good enough in my opinion to waive Tom Brandstater, who seems to have a higher ceiling than most (Read Kdog's awesome analysis on him here). Marc Bulger would be an interesting option considering price, but his age and recent performance (aka he hasn't played well since 2006) scares me. Vince Young would be relatively affordable and his athleticism alone would at worst put some pressure on Henne to step up and finally take control of this team. I like this option because if our QB play absolutely sucks we atleast get to salivate over our new rookie QB toy in 2012.
UFDA's to consider: Noel Devine, Derrick Locke
It's beginning to look like an absolute complete revamping of our RB position. As much as I will always show love to the R&R Express wherever they DO end up (Please don't go to the Jets though, seriously!?) I believe it is time to bid them adieu. I am again almost 100% confident that a marquee FA back will take his talents to south beach. I think this was apparent when the Dolphins selected grinder Daniel Thomas in the second round. My bet is the Fins will throw some cash out and go after Williams, Bradshaw or Bush this offseason. Honestly, as long as we don't completely overpay, I'd be happy with any of the 3. All three are gamechangers and will instantly provide a HUGE spark to our offense and I believe would be a HUGE help to Thomas by not only mentoring him but taking alot of pressure off him during his rookie season. Deangelo is the key FA back despite injury question marks and will demand top dollar. Reggie Bush will look for big money as well even though he has never truly been a #1 back. This is why I believe Miami needs to make a play for Ahmad Bradshaw by outbidding the NY Giants. I also think we need to add even more explosion while Kory Sheets is coming off injury by grabbing a top scat back as a UDFA. Derrick Locke or Noel Devine, which of you would like to come to Miami?
My choice: Ahmad Bradshaw & Derrick Locke
Wow, talk about an upgrade. We take an aging backfield and completely revitalize it with all new fresh legs. Ahmad is a dangerous runner who like Thomas, is skilled in pass catching; a skill that is important for Henne to be able to rely on while under pressure. Locke is a back who can make a difference even if he touches the ball 3 times per game. More than likely he will be stashed on the PS but he will be a hell of a backup and offers that big play ability at RB which we haven't had since as long as I can remember. Ahmad will be cheaper than Deangelo and comes with less injury concerns therefore I think it is the smarter pick as I believe he will be just as valuable to his new team.
Release: Pat McQuistan
UFDA's to consider: Jake Kirkpatrick, C
With the conservative, but sadly predictable pick of Mike Pouncey at pick 15 in this year's draft, Miami has quietly made the safe pick to try and bolster their trenches and provide better protection for the QB and more holes for the RB. With the best tackle in the game, we are looking for more consistency at our interior line and from Carey over at RT. I really hoped we addressed RT in this year's draft as an insurance policy for the aging Carey, but sadly this did not happen. I think we should look to improve our interior line with a solid guard and sign him early enough to get comfortable with his new teammates. Having Pouncey at C means we can get a FA guard left of him and have a choice between Incognito, Garner and Jerry to go for the RG spot. Jerry could also fill in for Carey at RT if need be to keep him from getting fatigued and becoming a major liability. Although going after a RT does make sense I think Carey has ATLEAST one more year in him, and I think we will be fine this year until we have to consider RT as a top need in next year's draft.
My choice: Sign Marshal Yanda and Jake Kirkpatrick
Yanda has put up solid numbers in Baltimore and I believe would be a huge addition to bolster our offensive line. I was a big fan of Justin Blalock but what I like about Yanda is he has played well at both guard and RT, which our two biggest weaknesses. His toughness and versatility would be one of our biggest offseason pickups.We failed to grab a top tier OL last year so this would be a HUGE move. However, I am perhaps more excited about the possibility of picking up center Jake Kirkpatrick as well, who has been compared to former all-pro Jeff Saturday. Kirkpatrick may be highly sought after but the truth is the kid is an absolute beast and may prove to be the better TRUE center on the team when compared to Pouncey. Stashing Kirkpatrick on our PS squad would be great because if he does excel we have the option of moving Pouncey to guard where he would be unstoppable. With Long and Pouncey next to each other, I think I could run for a first down. I like grabbing a solid FA by the end of the month and look to sign Kirkpatrick who could be the next best steal since Devone Bess. Yanda and Kirkpatrick would be an A+ by our FO in terms of addressing our offensive line for the upcoming season.
Release: Daren Mastraud, Dedrick Epps
UFDA's to consider: Wesley Saunders
I think Anthony Fasano is honestly one of our most UNDERRATED players based on his blocking alone. You can never have enough solid blockers, and I'm guessing the FO recognized this when they re-signed him during last season. However, one thing Fasano can't give you is that vertical speed and we could use a QB-friendly target at TE. The best option is Zach Miller and if the cash is right, he is definetly your first option. However, I feel that RB, OL and even QB for that matter are more important positions and the dumbest thing would be to spend a ridiculous amount on a TE. I think some team will pay good money for a guy like Miller, so Miami should look for a servicable replacement.
My choice: Sign Bo Scaife
Scaife is a guy who has flown largely under the radar however is prone to making that remarkable catch that will often make ESPN's Top 10. Scaife has good success against Miami, so we will probably remember him more than other teams. Scaife may NOT be Zach Miller, but I feel would be a good target for Henne or even to reconnect with Vince Young if he happens to find his way south. Wesley Saunders is an interesting option as an UDFA but it's not his talent that is the concern. He has had multiple RED FLAGS and it seems if 32 teams passed on him then he is not the player you want in your locker room. Don't expect anything from him at the next level.
UFDA's to consider: None
My Choice: As-is.
Our WR core, for the first time in years, is stacked. Although, it would be a luxury to get a solid proven speedster such as Santonio Holmes, this would merely be a luxury. A wildcat/ST specialist like his teammate Brad Smith would be a better option, but still I don't think it's necessary. Our WR's are solid. I think Gates will slowly evolve to be that missing piece we need and in the meantime Marshall, Bess and even Hartline will prove to be more than enough targets for whoever our QB is. I think we should move Roberto Wallace to PS to save roster space and keep Marlon Moore as our 5th wideout behind Marshall, Hartline, Bess and Gates,
UFDA's to consider: Mario Harvey
Although there are quite a few options to upgrade our ILB, I feel for the time being the Dansby/Crowder combo will do just fine inside. Say what you want about Crowder but he is a good compliment to Dansby, who is by far the better playmaker. In due time I'd like to upgrade Crowder's spot, but I don't think this is the year. This is why we will see what A.J. Edds can do off his rookie injury and I say we make one small pick up to complete this position.
My choice: Sign Mario Harvey
Harvey is may be short but he’s got plenty of bulk, range and burst to be a premier inside linebacker, especially in a good defensive scheme. The guy reminds me of a Zach Thomas for some reason and I can see him thriving in Nolan’s D and eventually saving us money by becoming an upgraded Channing Crowder. Bring Mario to camp, I guarantee he will be THAT guy to make a bonejarring hit in preseason and open a few eyes.Having Edds & Harvey back up Dansby & Crowder makes me feel VERY confident about this inside group in Nolan's scheme.
Release: Ike Alama-Francis
UFDA's to consider: Mark Herzlich
This is the ultimate wild-card position in my opinion in which really NONE of us know what will happen. This all depends on Mike Nolan's confidence on our pass-rush going into 2011, mostly which depends on his confidence of Koa Misi taking over the starting job. I am a big fan of Misi and I feel like he would be good opposite of Wake, but for some reason I would like to see Miami aim for greatness at the OLB position. Don't be surprised if Miami goes after a player like Bullock or brings Jason Taylor back on a short contract. However it would be unbelievable if Miami can pull off a big name and turn this defense into one of the league's best.
My choice: Sign Manny Lawson and Mark Herzlich
A player like Manny Lawson or Justin Durant would instantly make Brady, Sanchez and Fitzpatrick stay up at night. It may seem unlikely, but Miami did pay the top FA ILB last year. Manny Lawson opposite Cameron Wake would possibly cost us some cash, but the end results leaves us with a frightning LB core. Wake is still on his affordable contract so perhaps Miami can pull this off. As far as Mark Herzlich, what's not to say about him? This guy’s story alone should make him a candidate to compete on ALL 32 teams. A guy like Mark will be worth it just for his captain presence alone. He never quits, which is what you want from a pass-rushing OLB and in situations I feel he could help out Misi immediately and help increase Wake’s stellar first year. Let's see if Miami makes a big splash at OLB this year, it could be a move to make our defense turn ELITE.
Release: Al Harris
UFDA's to consider: None
My Choice: As-is.
The top FA is of course Asomugha but the main reason I'd pay the crazy amount he will get, is to solely keep him OFF the Jets. He will instantly upgrade one team's secondary but I think we are molding such a great young secondary already in Miami; feel like we would rather get a TOP RB, QB or OL then spend all our money on ONE key guy for a position we don't necessarily need. Besides, I see him playing in Houston so hopefully we don't have to worry about playing him twice a year. Guys like Taylor or Joseph really do make sense but I think our #1 and #2 is set with Davis and Smith, and I can't see any of those guys playing nickel. I think we stay put and hopefully between Allen, Sapp and Carroll we can hang tough while Wilson pays his dues on special teams.
UFDA's to consider: Deunta Williams
Trade our former pro bowl captain at Safety? I'm a firm believer in buy low/sell high. Bell is already on his way down and I think this would be the time to trade him to get any value. We have a young secondary and Chris Clemons and Rashad Jones are two young guys who have both shown plenty of promise. However, with our upgraded pass rush we need atleast one vet ballhawk to capitalize and make plays, as well as to mentor the young guns. Enter Michael Huff.
My choice: Sign Michael Huff.
Huff replaces Bell and instantly provides speed, bruising hits, and most importantly a knack for making big plays. Plus, he's had the experience to provide that veteran leadership that is important at the safety position. Clemons and Jones would play opposite and battle for the starting SS position. UNC's Deunta Williams is a solid UDFA but I think another team will find him more valuable, we already have 2 stellar young safeties.
Key Offseason FA Additions: Vince Young, Ahmad Bradshaw, Bo Scaife, Marshal Yanda, Manny Lawson, Michael Huff
Key Offseason UFDA Additions: Derrick Locke, Jake Kirkpatrick, Mario Harvey, Mark Herzlich
Key Offseason Departures: Tyler Thigpen, Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, Patrick Cobbs, Yeremiah Bell, Pat McQuistan, Daren Mastraud, Dedrick Epps, Austin Spitler, Tim Dobbins, Ike Alama-Francis, Jonathan Amaya
Obviously this is an IDEAL situation and although Miami will unlikely get every player at this caliber, this is merely how I would attack each off-season position of need. Besides, who would have thought we would have gotten Brandon Marshall AND Karlos Dansby last year; Miami has money and an isn't afraid to break out the checkbook. Anything can happen.
Tell me what you think. leave comments and vote!
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