I thought I’d do one of I’m sure 100’s of fanposts about to come up this offseason about what people would do if they were GM. Since we haven’t hired one yet, I figured here would be my interview answers for the job.
Question 1: Describe the kind of team you would like to see in Miami next year and in the years following and how you would build it?
My vision of the Dolphins is to have a team that will have playmakers at the skill positions, be solid on the offensive line and be disciplined (low penalties and turnovers). We would have explosive plays on offense, special teams and on defense. I’d like to see SPEED all over the field and great effort players.
Offensively, I feel we need balance in the run and pass and who is catching the passes. We need much better play on the offensive line. While I feel we have some places set on offense, specifically the QB spot and 3 to 4 skill players (Wallace, Gibson, Clay and possibly Hartline), I think we must always look for explosive players to pair on offense with them. We must vastly improve our offensive line as I only see one starter in the entire group (Pouncy).
Defensively, I see a lot of potential on that side of the ball. I really like what we have on the defensive line. Our secondary is above average, but I’d like to see much better athletes at the linebacker spots and we still have some questions at a few db spots and who we retain in free agency.
One area that I feel the previous GM did a solid job in was getting younger and I like Coach Philbin’s philosophy on building through the draft and with younger free agents that can grow with our team. While at times we may have to make exceptions to this rule, I feel that is the best way to build a team. I also feel in today’s NFL you must build from the QB spot and do everything you can to make him successful. On defense we need to stockpile guys that can rush the passer and guys that can cover.
Question 2: Specifically, what would you do this offseason to improve our team?
The good news is I think this team is financially in a good spot with $20 million to spend and few players that will be dead money that I’d consider cutting. I also think there are plenty of options this offseason to build what we need. We want to be careful in not tying up too much money through free agency if possible, but there are a few immediate needs that must be taken care of before the draft in my opinion. I also need to see the team’s scheme for using a few of our players on defense and if we will be married to the 4-3 on defense. If so we will need to look at moving some players this offseason to find a better fit for the 4-3. Here would be my priorities for 2014 offseason and the way I’d go about finding the right guys for Miami from what I have seen:
Trades I’d look into before the draft:
Jonathon Martin: If we are able to get anything for him I will, if not we will cut him.
Brian Hartline: This guy is a solid #2 WR, but I am looking for explosive players. We would consider trading him for a starting caliber (and young): Offensive lineman or Linebacker or a 2nd round pick only. He is a guy we can win with, but is not in my long term plans. (note: If we do trade Hartline, WR becomes a draft need in the first 3 rounds, but now offensive line or LB is not as big a need).
Oliver Vernon: This is if we are set on staying in the 4-3. Dion Jordan was a big investment and with him and Shelby at the DE away from Wake we have plenty of talent. While I really like Vernon, I believe he may fetch one of the following: staring caliber (and young) offensive tackle or linebacker or a 2nd round pick or higher. (note: if we do trade Vernon now we would look at a young DL through draft or cheap free agent and since OL/LB would be filled use that money).
I’d target offensive tackle: Brandon Albert (depending on money) or another player close to his caliber would be my priority of players not currently on our roster. I’d also target a young up-and-comer in the interior of the offensive line. I’d like to also look into the backup QB market for a cheaper backup for Tannehill. I’d be willing to look at veteran RB’s, but don’t believe in big money for them. Tate would be a great get, but probably too rich for my taste.
Re-signing players: I’d have 2 “must” re-signs on our team. Brent Grimes and Paul Soalai. Those two players are pro-bowl talent and I feel they are guys that will continue to play at or above their current level for 2-4 more years.
Player I’d let walk: Randy Starks, John Jerry, Incognito
Re-sign if price is right: Nolan Carroll (I only view him as a #3 corner and would like to evaluate the rookies first), Clemmons (view him as average starter in the NFL and want to bring in competition, would only offer 2-3 year team friendly deal with incentives if he plays well and starts for next few years), Jimmy Wilson (NFL minimum only and would be viewed as special teams player).
Cut: Matt Moore. (I would keep Patterson through the offseason and check on progress, if he will be a starter for us this year I keep at current salary, if not or he gets injured: I cut him).
Draft board: I target the following in the draft (free agency has let us draft BPA and that is always how I want to draft).
2 offensive lineman if possible. Would like to get one in first 3 rounds and the other later in the draft, but am willing to take them earlier if possible (if best guy falls to us).
Running back in first 3 rounds. I am not a big believer in giving out big salaries for RB’s through free agency and feel we need a young big back in the draft. (I then would cut Daniel Thomas).
Safety: Would like to get one in the draft to compete with Clemmons and Jones.
ILB: I am not sold on Wheeler or Ellerbe right now and want a guy that can come in and compete.
TE: I’d be willing to spend #1 pick if best TE drops to us. If not we can look in later rounds or in signing a free agent.
Question 3: Which phinsider member would you hire to help you scout?
Not sure, I will have to see in the comments who impresses me the most with their draft/free agent plan…