ESPN is struggling to find things to discuss in the NFL offseason. Well, to be fair, we all are, but the Worldwide Leader in Sports returned to a post they made last year, the "future power rankings." ESPN Insider has taken all 32 teams, and developed a listing they describe as "a barometer tracking where each franchise is heading."
Using a grading scale based around five criteria, the 2016 future power rankings are ordered based on a score of 100. The overall roster, minus the quarterback, is assessed, with players over the age of 30 in 2016 devalued, and young players emphasized, and counts for 32.5% of the total grade. Next, they take a look at the team's quarterback situation, focusing on the future (17.5%), the 2013 draft class and the future draft picks available (15%), the front office's ability to "manage team's roster and bring in new talent via free agency or trades" (15%), and, finally, the coaching staff counts for 20% of the grade.
Then, Herm Edwards, Mel Kiper, Mike Sando, Gary Horton, Matt Williamson, and Field Yates, graded each team on a 1-10 scale in each category.
Using all of that, the Miami Dolphins should score fairly high on the rankings, correct? They have an incredibly young roster, with a second year quarterback who played well as a rookie, a 2013 free agency and draft class that provided the team with a ton of talent, and proved players want to come to Miami, and they have a young coaching staff looks like they understand what they are doing.
Everything looks like the Dolphins are heading in the right direction. ESPN must agree.
Well, that is, unless it's actually written by ESPN. You see, to find the Dolphins on the list (assuming you made it past the Insider pay wall), you would have to scroll down a little ways. Then scroll down some more. And then a little more.
And, just when you think they have to be coming up, you would have to scroll down a little more.
The Dolphins are ranked 20th in the "future" power rankings. Yes. Twentieth.
And, since the New England Patriots, and Tom Brady, who will be 39 in 2016, are ranked fifth, with a 76.83 overall score, and a 7.7 at quarterback, obviously, there is a fair look at what teams will be in FOUR YEARS FROM NOW.
Jumping back down to the Miami 20th ranking, the team scored a 57.29, with a 6.3 for Ryan Tannehill. Clearly, the devaluation of a 30 year old quarterback made sure Tannehill at 29 in 2016 will be just 1.4 points behind a 39 year old Brady.
Just for the comparison, the Denver Broncos' Peyton Manning, who will be 40 in 2016, scored a 6.5 and had a write up that stated, "Something has to give by then, right?" The majority of the Brady write up talks about how the New England quarterback has guaranteed money in the final years of his contract through the 2017 season. Oh, there's a line that states, "it's fair to expect some erosion by then," but, clearly, since this is Brady, you can expect him to beat the odds, break the devalue of 30-year-old QBs rule, and dominate the NFL - at 39 years old.
Meanwhile, Miami's scores were:
Front Office: 5.0
Looking at the write up about the Dolphins, who were actually up eight spots from the 2012 version of the "future" rankings, about Tannehill, Sando wrote:
Quarterback: Ryan Tannehill played pretty well in about half the Dolphins' games last season, posting QBR scores of 60 or higher in seven games. Miami averaged 18 points per game last season, 27th in the NFL and barely ahead of the Jets. That number should come up now that Tannehill has some seasoning and the Dolphins invested in Wallace. It's no knock on Tannehill that Luck, Griffin and Wilson were better as rookies from the 2012 class. The Dolphins can feel good about their prospects with their QB. The upcoming season should reveal whether the team should consider drafting insurance in the third or fourth round next offseason.
And, Bill Polian, who did not vote, but did submit write-ups about the front offices, stated:
Front office: No GM has worked harder than Jeff Ireland has to rebuild this team. No coach has laid out a blueprint quite as clearly as Joe Philbin. The additions of Wallace, Jordan, Dannell Ellerbe, Dustin Keller and Jamar Taylor should all pay dividends now and in the future. Right tackle remains unsettled, but Jeff won't stop looking. For the first time in quite some time, New England has a legitimate challenger for AFC East supremacy.
And, for the coaching explanation, we turn to Edwards:
Coaching: Philbin did a good job in his first year, establishing himself in Miami. Not only did he have the spotlight of "Hard Knocks," but he had to install a new offensive system and groom a rookie QB. He cut veteran players who weren't working out and changed the culture of a young team. The Dolphins can make things interesting in the AFC East.
So, besides the fact that these "future power rankings" seem to be based on the future ESPN would still like to be covering in 2016 (read: Brady, Brady, Brady, and a little more Brady), what do you think of Miami's score? Is there any reason to have expected things to be different?