First off, I want to wish everyone here a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season. As most, I wasn't expecting much out of the 2012 Miami Dolphin season when I saw that Brandon Marshall was traded and Rookie Ryan Tannehill was our starting quarterback. But, I must admit, I was a big fan of our draft and not over paying for free agents. Loved the Tannehill pick, was really hoping we traded back up in the late 1st for a pass rusher, but was very happy with Martin, Olivier Vernon, and Lamar Miller picks. Wasn't thrilled about Egnew given he didn't have much experience blocking and came from Missouri (notorious for failed tight ends) but I'm willing to give a guy a chance, and also, try and develop him because he can catch the ball and has good height and speed for his size.
Anyway, given our cap room and what has developed into 5 picks out of the first 100, I think we have potential to really build our foundation.
Our Free Agents
Like most, I believe Jake Long has been down right awful compared to how well he played the past few years. His injuries are catching up to him and I agree with most that that money should be spent elsewhere, I let him walk. Reggie Bush, has shown each of the past two years that he gets better as the year goes on and is a true leader, any number under 4 mil a year, I resign him for 2-3 years. Daniel Thomas can't stay healthy, and Lamar Miller is still too green. Plus, one injury to either of the three, and all of the sudden we aren't so deep at that position.
Sean Smith has shown flashes of being able to contain some of the league's best in Fitzgerald and A.J. Green, has become more physical in the running game, and is continuing to develop and grow, needs to play zone better but in man coverage if he is allowed to jam the receiver, he is more effective. I think we try to resign him but again, everyone has their price, and I don't go higher than 6 maybe 7 mil a year. He isn't elite, and shouldn't be paid as elite, but is very serviceable.
I keep Clemons for the right price, given he's listed by PFF as the 19th best Safety and can be retained for cheap. Same for Anthony Fasano, been a true pro, the coaches love him, and I truly believe you need a veteran at every position to help develop the younger players. He blocks well and an unsung hero of our team. But I would add another weapon on that group.
Randy Starks started the year very well, but kind of fell off as of late. He grades out as the 19th best DT by PFF but negative grade versus the run. I think given the price, I might let Odrick take over that positon with Kheeston Randall and Tony McDaniel (resign for cheap) as the back ups. Starks grades very well as a interior pass rusher but not versus the run. Maybe he's been playing hurt, but he's also going to be nearly 30 soon, and we did draft Odrick in the first, might be time to give him a chance.
I also bring back Hartline at a 5 mil a year deal given his reliability and football IQ. He is a good WR 2 but certainly not a no. 1. Also, last but not least, if Matt Moore is willing, I bring him back as our back up if he can't grab a starting job elsewhere. He will have competition from Alex Smith, Matt Flynn, Vick, Kolb, probably Fitzpatrick and David Garrard.
So say we have 40 in cap space, with 4 to Bush, 6 to Smith, 3 to Fasano, 2-3 to Clemons, 5 to Harline and 1-2 for a back up QB if they don't go with Devlin, that leaves us with over 15 million in cap room.
2 Free Agent Pick Ups
Given we don't pay Long his ridiculous price, and that RT's are cheaper than LT's, I say we go after Sebastian Vollmer. Rated by PFF as the 14th best tackle in the NFL or Gosder Cherlius rated 12th by PFF. Both are Free Agents, play RT, so won't have to make a move from the LT spot, atleast somewhat fit the mold of athletic lineman that this coaching staff is looking for, and could probably be had for the Eric Winston money at about 6-7 million a year. This allows us to have a solid O-line, save a high draft pick on another position, and protect our QB for several years to come as both players are 28 or younger.
Next move would be to go after Mike Wallace. He is arguably one of the fastest if not the fastest WR in the NFL, is an instant deep threat and can take the top off defenses. His price has probably gone down a bit over the past few weeks, and I think he could be had for 8-9 million depending on the amount of guaranteed money we are willing to give. I think SPEED is what this offense is missing, and minus bush and Miller, we have no speed, so that needs to be a priority. After those two pick ups, I focus the rest on the draft.
Finally, I extend Reshad Jones NOW, before his price keeps sky rocketing and he becomes a free agent next offseason. He is becoming an elite player on our team, and you hold onto those players. Look at the Pats, extend Gronk and Hernandez before either has a chance to hit the open market. He is a difference maker and needs to be kept in Miami, happily, for the next 4-5 years minimum. Do not need to re work his deal, simply extend him now. He's rated 3rd best safety in the NFL behind Weddle and Jarius Byrd. I remember loving when Jeff Ireland traded up to draft him, and he's really developed into a leader this past season under Kevin Coyle's defense with Yerehmiah Bell gone.
Below is a link by rotoworld of all the top free agents available this offseason at each position
Say we end up picking between 13-16, I simply go with best player available. Simple as that. Perfect example of thinking, "why draft that position, we don't need it" is the NY Giants. 3 years ago, had Tuck and Osi playing at very high levels. Signed Chris Canty and had Kiwanuka, but Osi was hurt as was Tuck, and all of the sudden you need JPP, and that depth was a big reason they won the super bowl last year. Not to mention Osi is a free agent this offseason and they already don't have to worry about filling that need now as they have an already developed stud in his position. So I simply draft, best player available because you can't think just about the needs of the team NOW, you have to draft long term and think 5-7 years down the road. Would I draft a center or quarterback given that we already did so with Pouncey and Tannehill, no, but would I shy away from a linebacker like Teo IF he would be available (i don't personally think he will), no, I'd go after him and same with Arthur Brown from Kansas State who I think will be a stud, should be available in the second round. The best teams have players available to fill voids without having to panic and overpay for a free agent. Last year we drafted Lamar Miller without a need at RB and now he's likely to be the started next season. Always go for best player available, the best GM's always do and it always pays off. Green bay now can afford to let Jennings walk because they drafted Cobb and Nelson over the past few years.
Some guys I would target in the draft in the first 2-3 rounds:
Dee Milner CB Alabama
Jonathan Banks CB MSU
Tyler Eifert TE Notre Dame
WR Tavon Austin WVU
Arthur Brown LB KSU
Corey Lemonier DE AU
Cordarelle Patterson WR TU
Ziggy Ansah DE BYU
Stedman Bailey WR WVU
Terrance Williams WR BU
Chance Warmack G AU
Dallas Thomas G TU
Jordan Poyer CB OSU
Eric Fisher OT CMU
Joseph Fauria TE UCLA
Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed this post, would love to hear your thoughts and what you think of my offseason has I been the GM.