Chad Johnson looked impressive early in Dolphin camp. In fact, he looked to be on the way to earning the #1 receiver position, and many had hopes his playing would resemble the old Chad Johnson instead of the recent Chad Ochocinco. All of that was short lived when Johnson allegedly head-butted his wife. Now Johnson is back to being a free agent and will have to prove himself to another team. Though it's time to stop looking at former Dolphins and start looking at current Dolphins. The season is coming soon and there is little time for reflection.
Before Chad Johnson, it was considered a three-way race between Brian Hartline, Davone Bess, and Legedu Naanee for the starting WR positions. The race for the starting positions is still a bit different now than it was weeks ago. Roberto Wallace and Julius Pruitt are trying to do everything they can to get in the race.
Pruitt and Wallace both had a good start to the preseason. Wallace showed a good connection with Tannehill, and as most people here know, he's a big man with a lot of potential. Yet, for all their potential of both players, neither have proved themselves in games that mattered. As long as Clyde Gates and Brian Hartline are unable to prove their potential, both of these youngsters have the time and opportunity to earn a starting role.
There are few options available to Miami in free agency. Plaxico Burress is a good threat inside the twenty, but he has problems trying to create separation. Mike Williams is an option, but he was released by Seattle because he weight about as much as a small lineman. Any team would have to take a long look at Williams' conditioning prior to offering him a contract, but there was rumored interest on behalf of Miami last month for the former Seahawk.
Some might hope the Dolphins swing a trade for a WR. Dwayne Bowe and Percy Harvin may be among the most popular names people will request in trade scenarios. Bowe is a franchise player that is disgruntled about not being re-signed and Harvin previously requested a trade from the Vikings in June. There is one major problem with Bowe, and that is not that the Chiefs have already denied rumors that Bowe was on the market. Bowe has so far refused to sign his franchise tag offer and the Chiefs can't trade him until he does. If and when Bowe does sign the offer, the Chiefs will likely be just as happy keeping Bowe under the franchise tag as they would trading him to another team. Similar to Bowe, the Vikings already denied Harvin was on the trading block. Adding to it, Harvin has since been at the Vikings training camp despite demanding a trade a few months back. The Vikings simply have no reason to trade him. Adding to it, Harvin has a problem with injuries and just as importantly, he has at times been a sudden scratch from the starting lineup as migraines have plagued him throughout his career.
Sadly, the Dolphins don't have many options in free agency or on the trading block to replace Chad Johnson. Their best option is to simply hope that one of the many young players they have on their team is able to step into the role and produce. It's also the option that would provide the best results if the move worked out, as Miami wouldn't have to sign a pricy contract with a veteran or surrender draft picks for another player. It's only more imperative that players such as Hartline, Gates, Pruitt, and Wallace are able to prove themselves as a reliable WR.