Wow. What a ridiculous weekend. I thought Miami would be busy, not nearly as busy as they have been. So, first thing first, for those who may have been busy this weekend, head over to our free agency quick guide and see who the Dolphins have officially signed and traded for.
Also, as far as "Calvin Pace Watch 2008" goes, the latest comes from the NY Daily News. They are reporting that Pace concluded his visit with the Jets and is now back home in Atlanta thinking over his decision. The paper also says that he may be considering a trip to the Bengals. Meanwhile, the Arizona Republic reports that the Dolphins offered Pace a deal "that includes $20 million in guarantees." If this is the case, how much could the Jets have possibly offered? Or, could it be that Pace was offered less by the Jets than in Miami, but came away more impressed with his visit to NY? I don't know. There are a lot of theories circulating, but for now, I'll just take the "wait and see" approach.
Also on Sunday, incase you missed it, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that Josh McCown will "definitely" be the Dolphins' #2 quarterback entering next season and that John Beck will be competing with a rookie. Now, this angered some people, claiming that a 2 year, $6.25 million deal for a backup was too much. I'd disagree for the reasons that some pointed out in the "diaries" section. That's simply the going rate nowadays for backup quarterbacks with starting experience. Cleo Lemon and Billy Volek are both making more annually than McCown is. So this deal with Josh doesn't bother me.
However, what might the implications be of Mort reporting this? It's an interesting question when you consider Mortensen's closeness to Bill Parcells. If you ask me, I think this is just Bill's way of getting word out that the Dolphins could still potentially draft Matt Ryan. And Mortensen is just acting as the outlet of this smokescreen, trying to bait Atlanta into trading up to the #1 pick. Personally, this is also what I'm hoping. I say this because I still believe in Beck and I really feel he's going to open up eyes this season as Miami's starter. But rather than preach about why I think this, I'll just lay back and wait...and then say "I told you so" when John impresses everyone in 2008. So there!
The other big story coming out on Sunday was this Jason Taylor saga. First, he and the Dolphins had agreed to part ways, according to Jason Cole. Then, Bill Parcells informs Mortensen that the only way Taylor isn't in Miami in 2008 is if he retires. Bill is also quoted as saying that Cole's report is an example of "journalistic irresponsibility." And, actually, that is the quote that caught my attention. Why? I'm wondering if Bill calls Cole's report irresponsible because it's leaking out information that hurts Miami and takes away a competitive advantage. Could it be that Bill is pissed this leaked because now, since teams know that Jason and the Dolphins already have agreed to split, the Dolphins won't be able to get as much in a trade for Taylor? Or could it be he's pissed because one of the reasons Calvin Pace was considering Miami was to be Taylor's teammate? I don't know, really. I'm just throwing these ideas out there. Maybe Bill is just angry because he fully intends to have Jason around in 2008 and he doesn't want Taylor to think he's unwanted. Regardless, these next 2 months leading up to the draft will be quite telling in terms of Taylor's future in Miami.
Moving along, here are just a few other quick thoughts on the events of this past weekend:
-It's clear that this new regime places an emphasis on special teams. Many of their signings this past weekend show that.
-Anyone that thinks they know have the Dolphins figured out in terms of what they might do at #1 in April's draft is crazy. If anything, the events of this past weekend made the situation even cloudier. I don't even think the Dolphins know what they want to do. Sure, they'd still like to trade down, but I don't think that's a secret. If they can't though, you have to figure Jake Long is back in the mix and added to a list of candidates the include Matt Ryan, Chris Long, and even Vernon Gholston (especialyl if Miami doesn't sign Pace).
-I do think that this weekend is a clear sign that the Dolphins would like to run a 3-4 defense in 2008. Jason Ferguson will be the starting NT with Randy Starks playing as a DE. But the great thing about Starks is that he'd also be able to play NT if needed. But with that said, the Dolphins need to figure out who can play the other ILB spot next to Channing Crowder. Reggie Torbor, at 6'2, 250, has the size and athleticism this regime likes. As does Charlie Anderson (6'4, 245). But neither has ever played the position before, so nobody knows how effective either might be at that spot.
-Ernest Wilford is going to be a very effective player for the Dolphins. He might not be flashy, but a couple of Jaguar fans have told me that we are going to be pleasantly surprised by Wilford's play. He's exactly what a guy like John Beck needs. He's big, physical, and will make a living going over the middle and moving the chains. He also has very reliable hands, unlike some current Dolphins (and some recently departed ones as well) And at 6'4 with a 40 inch vertical leap, he'll be an ideal redzone target.
So the next order of business? Besides awaiting Pace's decision, the Dolphins still need to address their secondary and their offensive line, as well as the aforementioned ILB void that needs to be filled.
Thoughts on any and all of this below...