With the Dolphins spending big at the wide receiver position this offseason, will Davone Bess be the odd man out?
It's no secret that Jeff Ireland loves to find those hidden gems or ‘acorns' in the draft. Near the top of that list is Davone Bess. Since the Dolphins gave the undrafted rookie out of Hawaii a spot on the roster in 2008, Bess has exceeded expectations to become a reliable target for countless Dolphins quarterbacks. However, now that the wide receiver position in Miami has become crowded, will Davone Bess become surplus to requirements?
It's interesting that rumors of a possible Bess trade circulated prior to free agency. Ben Volin reported in February that the player's position on the team might be in jeopardy due to "friction" over his injury late in the season. The Dolphins believed he could play through the injury, while Bess decided to stay on the sidelines for the remainder of the season. Miami's additions during free agency continued to percolate the rumour. Since then, Joe Philbin has suggested that Davone Bess will stay, but has to work for his place on the roster. Jeff Ireland also dampened the rumours by explaining he still has a ‘vision' for Bess. For now, it seems Bess's position is safe. Just don't discount that remaining the case should an attractive trade proposition surface in April.
For an undrafted rookie, Davone Bess's production has been stellar. Since 2008 the player has scored 12 touchdowns, made 183 first downs, and amassed 3,447 yards. His best seasons came in 2010 and 2011, scoring a combined 8 touchdowns during those two years (3 touchdowns in 2010 and 5 touchdowns in 2011). In 2012, the player only scored one touchdown, but this can be attributed to a lack weapons on offense. Despite this, Bess still proved he can be an asset for the team by producing respectable numbers in receiving yards and first downs. Now that Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson have arrived, Bess should see increased opportunities to make more impact plays this season.
There might be an argument that Davone Bess's salary could be an issue. In 2013, the player is due to earn a total of $3.433 million. In the event the Dolphins decide to trade or cut Bess (the latter being highly unlikely), the team will only have $750,000 in dead money counting against the cap. Should Ireland receive a suitable offer, this makes a trade an attractive proposition.
Davone Bess is a perfect scheme fit for the type of offense that Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman want to run. Bess isn't the tallest player in the world, but he makes up for it with reliable hands and good agility in order to gain extra yards after the catch. He also has a thick frame to withstand the punishment of the NFL. His reliability durability should not be underestimated.
Counting against Bess is the depth in this draft at the wide receiver position. In the first round, Tavon Austin is a unique talent with an elite skill set to potentially devastate defenses when used correctly. The thought of Austin and Mike Wallace in the same offense is a tantalizing prospect. In the second and third round, Miami has numerous options with Robert Woods, Quinton Patton, Markus Wheaton, Ryan Swope, Marquise Goodwin, and Stedman Bailey all having productive seasons with their respective college teams. Ryan Swope especially is a man to watch due to his history with both Mike Sherman and Ryan Tannehill. Swope knows the offense and could be an instant contributor on day one. Miami could get a better and cheaper slot receiver come draft day.
It's difficult to ascertain just how much it would cost a team to sign Bess. The Seattle Seahawks acquired Percy Harvin with a 1st round and 7th round pick in 2013, and a probable 3rd rounder in 2014. The aging Anquan Boldin, on the other hand, was picked up by San Francisco with a 6th round pick. For Davone Bess, a twenty seven year old coming off a down season and in his contract year, it's tough to predict how much a team would be willing to pay. My feeling is that a 4th rounder may be too good to turn down, while a 5th rounder might prove attractive for a General Manager that wants to continue to build a young football team.
There is no doubt about it. Davone Bess is a reliable target for our young quarterback. He has proven that he can produce when surrounded with quality wide receivers. There is an argument that much of Bess's down year can be attributed to the lack of weapons on Miami's offense. Having said that, few anticipated the Vontae Davis trade to the Colts last year. Moreover, Ireland may want to add an explosive playmaker in the draft. Or perhaps Mike Sherman sees Ryan Swope as a good fit in this offense. Whatever happens, Bess is a quality slot receiver that can still produce at a high level for a few more years. Now it's up to Ireland to see whether he agrees with me.
What do you think? Is Davone Bess still a fit with the Dolphins? Should he be traded? Who do you think would be interested in a trade? Lets hear your thoughts.