For starters, I say we target two serious needs in FA. QB and DE. This will save us draft picks while giving us instant play makers. That is the key in the modern NFL, having play makers. Role players are important. But play makers win championships. This is why a few of the worst defenses in the league are going to, and winning title games over the last few years. For example, a defense can give up 35 points and 400+ yards and still win games because they find a way to come up with that timely pick 6, or those key sacks when the games on the line. Our Dolphin D, on the other hand, plays well all game, keeps yards low, keeps points low, but when the game is on the line, they just don't make that play, that sack, that INT.
So before I discuss a couple obvious FA pickups, we must first make get rid of a few guys for some of that sweet spending cash. And I know this part will probably seem the most "controversial," but I urge you to separate your emotional attachment or personality crush you may have on the player, and instead, ask yourself, does this guy WIN us games.
Salary Cap Causalities
1. Yeremiah Bell: I've truly been a fan of his since he has arrived in Miami. He is a leader and a hard worker. Never seems to complain and has consistently been a tackling machine for us. However, for his age, and how much we can retain if he is cut, it is a no brainier from a numbers standpoint. Not only has he been a liability in coverage, I feel that Rashad Jones is better suited for SS, as do many of you, and would be a more versatile, younger, and cheaper replacement after having a couple seasons of game play experience.To my understanding we can put around 3 million extra doll-hairs in the go out and get a difference maker pot.
2. Davone Bess: Again, this is one of the more difficult players to cut from a fan perspective because he is without question the most likeable, humble, positive guys on the team. From his first training camp days until now, Davone has been a guy everyone has cheered for and supported. And he has certainly produced. However, cutting him will give us an additional 2 million plus to spend on FA, which is a lot for a third WR coming off a down year. Not to mention, his productivity are not overly difficult to replace at a much cheaper price.Think long term here guys. This isn't Wes Welker we're talking about here. Davone has done much for us, and the organization has done much for Davone. Therefore, no one should feel bad about a mutually beneficial separation. Furthermore, we have a few guys on the roster who don't get much playing time but have much more physical upside.
3. Anthony Fasano: This will make more sense when you see the draft below. But I like Fasano. As we have heard many times, and it is true, he does a lot of things well. Is he a play maker that presents match up issues to an opposing defense? No. Does he cost a decent chunk of change? Yes, nearly four million next year. Can we replace that production and "solid" versatility in this coming draft, that will also give us an immediate upgrade? For sure.
4. Restructure Jake Long's contract and save us a few more million.
Then between our current salary cap and and the aforementioned cuts.....go get.....
1. Peyton Manning: I am not fully on board with this decision as many are, but if we pulled the trigger on it (of course assuming he is healthy and willing to take a incentive based contract as he said he would play for) I wouldn't be disappointed with taking a shot on the greatest QB of my generation. And I will say that Peyton Manning at 80-90 percent of his 2010 season is certainly better than any possible alternatives for the immediate short term, draft included. Again, if we made this move, I'd be OK with it, and if we didn't, I would be fine with that as well.
2A. Throw tons of cash at Mario Williams, essentially, whatever is let over from the Peyton Manning Deal (assuming it goes through). As we can all imagine, Mario Williams and Cam Wake is certainly an exciting prospect. A D-Line of Williams, Odrick, Starks, Wake (and either Langford or McDaniels) would be the AFC version of the Giants. And that worked out. What cannot be under estimated is that, because the NFL is a passing league, the only way to defeat an elite QB is not by great DB's, but is by putting him on his ass through a consistent and aggressive pass rush. This is how the defense has and must adapt to the modern day dominance of elite QB's and passing games. Adaption. Adaption. Adaption.
2B. If not Mario Williams, then Cliff Avril. He could be a a few bucks cheaper, and is certainly more of a gamble, yet he has still shown everything you can ask for over the last couple of years. I am slightly worried about his " I won't even consider giving my team a hometown discount" but hey, you only got one career, and you never know what could happen to you on any given play.
As I said before, these should be our initial off season priorities, and if possible, should be the only focus before the draft.
Again, assuming the above plan as been followed, we would be more free to address other more simple, yet important needs without the whole "we need to trade 3 first rounders to move up and gamble on RGIII or else we're fucked" scenario. Also, I know a lot of people, when creating a mock draft, fantasize about addressing all of our team needs in one draft and FA. For example, many people say, "Ok, we need a QB, OT, OG, DE, TE, and FS, so in Round 1 we get a QB, in Round 2 we get an OT, in Round 3 we get an OG, in Round 4 we get a TE, in Round 5 we get a FS.." and so on and so forth. But guys, this never works. Never, ever, ever. And it's isn't essential that a team address all its needs on paper in order to get substantially better. The FA scenario mentioned above will get our team substantially better on its own even though it is only two positions out of 6 or so getting filled. That could give us 2-4 extra wins, which would make us a play off team. Further, if we use the draft to focus on 2 or three positions rather than 7, we can potentially add another win or two and make us championship ready.
For example, if we somehow get Manning and Williams/Avril, we could use the draft to double down on positions such as TE or OT while getting a play maker early on. Therefore, we could be in position to do something like this....
Round 1: Trade down with Cincy, let them get Richardson if they really want and we would then have the 17th and 21st pick.
Pick 17: V. Burfict: this guy reminds me of Bryan Cox, a little bit crazy, but certainly intense. This guy is athletic and flat mean. As a former college QB, this guy scares the shit out of me just watching on TV, I could only imagine what Tom Brady's soft ass would feel like looking at this crazy fuck from 2 yards away as he threatens to rip his face off. In addition to our possible D-Line scenario mentioned above, think about our LB's consisting of Dansby, Burfict, Burnett.
Pick 21: Here, you can either use this pick to get an OT, or you can get one of the top TE's, thus replacing Fasano. Because this draft is deep at OT (and the O-line generally) and thin at TE, we can go for D. Allen or Even C. Fleener. Allen is super athletic, and from what I understand, a solid blocker who instantly becomes a red zone and play making threat all over the field, creating mismatches all over the place. Not only would this be an instant upgrade at a more and more coveted position in the NFL, it would also replace the departed D. Bess as a QB's best friend.
Note: In this scenario, between FA and the first round alone, we have addressed at least 3 positions of need and play makers that would make this team instant play off contenders and maybe more.
Here, we could go after an OT, especially if we get Manning and there are a few solid ones available. You choose.
Again, we can use this to either double down on an OT, and really be safe, or go for the Best Available OG or CB. I feel that OG's are generally a dime a dozen. We can give John Jerry an opportunity to see if he can hold down the position as well and disregard the position in the draft or FA. Also, I really like CB's Boykin from UGA and Ryan Steed from Furman (watch is highlight if you get the chance). And since we likely will not re-sign Will Allen, we will need to upgrade at Nickel. Boykin can also instantly help us in the PR game. The kid is explosive.
Round 4: I would use to double down on the Best Available TE, maybe that kid LaDareus Green or Egnew from Mizzou. these guys are TE's built like WR's and could make us that much more dynamic.
The rest of the draft just get the Best Available Players regardless of what position. If we can use FA to address to solidify 2 positions of absolute need, and the draft to solidify 2-3 positions of need for the long term than that is much more practical and much less of a gamble then addressing each one of the positional needs and hoping each one of those guys pans out. That is just fantasy.
For 2012 keep M. Moore just in case.Then in 2013, no matter what, do whatever it is you gotta do to get the QB of the Future in the draft. By any means necessary.