Hey guys! The artist formerly known as BSerious72 is back after a two month hiatus and I'm back to talk about everyone's favorite subject: free agency! [Disclaimer: expect this subject to reach certain overkill after the Super Bowl, when we will all have to refer back to hypothetical football in order to get our "pigskin fix"!]
While Miami will most undoubtedly look to address their lackluster WR corp in the draft (make sure to look at Brian Cole's look at the Rookie WR class in his Miami Dolphins Draft Board post), the Dolphins will get a chance to transfer some of their cash money to the WR position, if they do so choose to!
Let's take a look at three of the big name players that could be notable fits as a starting Miami WR next year...
THE BIG THREE-
Weight- 200 lbs
CASE FOR WALLACE: Mike Wallace is a young and talented wide receiver that possesses that elite speed that makes him one of the fastest players in the game. Anyone can attest that Miami undoubtedly needs this speed on their team to give their offense more playmakers. Wallace can score from anywhere on the field and would be a phenomenal target for Ryan Tannehill, and also opening up the field for other players to get open. In his 4 years in the league, Wallace has 32 TD's and has been productive in every season. Factor in his ability AND his age, and Wallace could be just that piece to excel with Tannehill's as the league's next best tandem. He's young, healthy, fast and he's got crazy awesome hair... so why hasn't Miami signed him already!?
CASE AGAINST WALLACE: There is no doubt Wallace is talented but is he really worth the big contract that some team will more than likely give to him? A player of his caliber will aim for an impressive contract, but he has already shown last offseason that he is liable to hold out if his contract is not settled. Wallace certainly has speed, but will he be able to be more than one-dimensional; meaning will he be able to build on his game and improve in possession and redzone abilities? Plus, if Miami's new regime parted ways with Brandon Marshall for his "character concerns", what does that say about Wallace who's been labeled by media sources as "lazy, a 'quitter', and 'hell bent on being benched'. These are quite a few question marks for a guy who is looking to be paid as one of the league's top wideouts.
Specialty- Red Zone/Size
CASE FOR BOWE: Bowe, a Miami native, has already been the subject of trade talks to Miami in the past, so why not make it official? Bowe has strength and physicality, something Miami has missed since they traded Brandon Marshall to Chicago. The Dolphins receivers lack the separation that is crucial in Miami's west coast offense. Bowe is not only that type of player; he has shown to be a big playmaker and is a great red zone target, despite going through a crappy QB carousel similar to here in Miami. Would sending him from the NFL's worst team to his home town in sunny south Florida finally allow him to reach his full potential? Bowe has 39 touchdowns in 6 years, and was looking to complete his third consecutive 1,000 season in 2012 before he ended on IR with a rib injury (he finished with 801 yards). Bowe has the NFL experience but is still young enough to become Tannehill's go-to redzone threat for years to come.
CASE AGAINST BOWE: Although Bowe has not been blessed with consistency at the QB position, he has also had his fare share of drops. Pro Football focus broke down the drop rate of all WR's over the last three years and Bowe remains near the bottom of the barrel (4th in total drops and 9th in drop rate). So, if Miami would trade Brandon Marshall, who had his fare share of drops here, why would they replace him with someone with the same problem? Not to mention Bowe is smaller and has been less productive numbers-wise than Marshall. Factor in the fact that he is coming off a minor hip injury, it may in Miami's best interest to look elsewhere.
College- Western Michigan
Specialty- Possession/Route Running
CASE FOR JENNINGS: Wow! After one year of injury and people are already knocking Greg Jennings to the curb as a washed up has been? Good, send him to Miami, where he could reunite with Coach Philbin, the same coach who he played for when he terrorized secondaries in Green Bay. Critics will say he's old, but the truth is he's only one year older than Dwayne Bowe; I bet you wouldn't think that Jennings was two years younger than Andre Johnson would you? Since he's been in the league, there have only been 5 players with more receiving touchdowns than Jennings' 53 (Moss , Colston , Gates , Wayne , and Calvin Johnson ). Jennings is looking for a fresh start and Miami would be an ideal situation for him. He gets to be re-united with his former OC in a west coast offense he excels in, and he would get to work with Miami's young promising QB to regain his ELITE status in sunny South Florida. The fact that he is older than the other two guys and coming off an injury will only make him more of a steal and a better value overall. Plus, think of all the great locations on the sand to film his Old Spice commercials!
CASE AGAINST JENNINGS: Miami FINALLY has the money to spend on a target for Ryan Tannehill, so why would they do it for an injured receiver who's spent the majority of his football life already in the league? Jennings seemed hobbled all year and if he can't fully recover and be that guy that Miami desperately needs him to be, their offense could sputter just as it did this year. That sure seems like alot of trust in a guy who benefited from perfectly thrown balls from Aaron Rodgers, could he be able to produce similar results with a second year quarterback at the helm? Might not be in Miami's best interests to put all that money on the table on a guy like Jennings, when younger and cheaper options may be available.
As with bringing any new player to your franchise, teams will have their fare share of question marks. While proven all-pros like Bowe, Jennings and Wallace could be just the piece needed for this offense, they could just as well be a major disappointment, and even worse, a waste of money that could have been desperately used elsewhere.
Mike Wallace would be the highest risk/reward player, in my opinion. I think he is ultimately the most talented of the group and his age and speed brings something that you won't be able to get anywhere else in free agency. However, this will ultimately drive his asking price up and his attitude might not be what Head Coach, Joe Philbin, is looking to bring to this football team. Because of his talent, I believe Wallace be Miami's top target in Free Agency, however I believe Jeff Ireland will also not overpay for him, mostly because it does not seem as if Pittsburgh is looking to pay top dollar to bring him back.
Greg Jennings seems to make the most sense, just because it looks as if he would be the best fit for this team. He is a great route runner and he could probably be had for a reasonable contract to reunite him with his former coordinator. However, health is a concern so look for Miami to seriously "kick the tires" and keep an eye on his groin injury which has a tendency to sideline good players for long periods at a time. He also, may be a 'bit over the hill' in the eyes of the the franchise for this young rebuilding team.
Dwayne Bowe seems to be somewhere in the middle of the other two guys. He does have a high ceiling yet will probably end up with a contract somewhere between Wallace and Jennings, unless he accepts a hometown discount from Miami. He is another guy that makes sense on paper, and could be a good fit in Miami's offense. However, his drops are something of concern and the front office may not be sold on his ability to be the franchise receiver for the team.
While I believe that all three of these guys will be on Miami's radar and could be a Dolphin in 2013, there are also other options in free agency that could be better values (this will be another post in the near future), not to mention the fact that Miami has a handful of top draft picks to possibly find the next rookie stud pass catcher.
So what would you do? Who do you believe would be the best fit for Miami at WR next year?