USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Ireland made all the necessary moves, and more, during a busy day one of free agency. Let’s take a look at some of the players Miami signed.
The Miami Dolphins just got a whole lot better. If you liken Ireland's moves in free agency to a racecourse, the Dolphins came out of the gates the fastest. It seemed only a matter minutes after free agency opened that Mike Wallace walked through the door and put pen to paper on a massive 5-year deal worth $60 million, with $30 million guaranteed. Make no mistake; this signing is important. Wallace will provide the team with the sort of explosiveness and big play ability we have been missing for a long time. He'll score touchdowns, and help win games. That's huge for a team that only scored 13 passing touchdowns this past season. Moreover, Wallace's presence will create more space for Davone Bess and Brian Hartline to work with, and open up better running lanes for Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas.
But if the signing of Wallace was to be expected, the Dolphins next moves were unexpected. It has been no secret that Karlos Dansby was unlikely to see out the final year of his contract. Many assumed that he would either be cut or see his deal restructured in 2014. Then suddenly, the Dolphins released Karlos Dansby before the ink was dry on Dannell Ellerbe's 5-year $35 million contract. If that wasn't enough, Ireland continued his revamp of the linebacker corps by tying up a deal with Philip Wheeler on a 5-year $26 million deal, including $13 million guaranteed. Once the new signing was confirmed, Miami then released linebacker Kevin Burnett. Out with the old, in with the new.
Another one of the signings was a more familiar face to Dolphins fans. Safety Chris Clemons re-signed with the team on a one-year contract. The terms of the deal are yet to be fully disclosed. This is a signing that I personally agree with. Over this past season, Clemons produced for the team by making 98 total tackles and two interceptions. Hopefully Clemons will continue to make an improvement in 2013.
So there we have it. Jeff Ireland made a bold statement on Tuesday by adding a big time wide receiver and completely revamping the linebacker position. Wallace will give Ryan Tannehill a big play threat in the passing game, while Ellerbe and Wheeler will help provide a little more pass protection against those athletic tight ends. Don't expect Ireland to stop his spending here, though. Miami still has big needs at tight end (especially after Anthony Fasano signed with the Kansas City Chiefs), cornerback and tackle. Expect the team to make a big push for at least one of these positions on Tuesday. Hold tight Dolphins fans, it's going to be a busy day.