It's time once again to go "three up and three down" - when I pick some topic related to the Dolphins and look at it from a positive perspective and a negative perspective. This week, I wanted to focus on off-season acquisitions. In particular, I want to examine the best and worst off-season acquisitions since 2000. To clarify, these are all players acquired either through free agency or via a trade. Undrafted free agents who were signed are eligible here - but draft picks are not.
So read my take on this and then give us your perspective on the topic below.
MY THREE MOST FAVORITE OFF-SEASON ACQUISITIONS
1. Chad Pennington - There's no way that Pennington wouldn't be #1 on my list. The Dolphins signed Pennington last off-season off of the Jets' scrap heap. Chad went on to have the 11th most yards passing in Dolphins history - only topped by 10 Dan Marino seasons. His 67.4% completion percentage in 2008 was the highest in Dolphins history. And his 97.4 quarterback rating is second all-time in Dolphins history - only trailing Marino's ridiculous 1984 season. Chad led the Dolphins to an improbable division championship and came in second place in the league's MVP voting. And he only cost the Dolphins $7.9 million over 2 years. You simply can't beat that value.
2. Ricky Williams - If not for all of Ricky's off-field "issues," there's a good chance he'd be #1 on this list. After all, his 7771 yards rushing is most in Dolphins history. Ricky's 2002 season saw him set franchise records for yards rushing (1,853), rushing touchdowns (16), and 100-yard rushing games in a season (10). That season also saw Williams have the top two individual rushing games in team history - 228 yards in Buffalo followed a week later by a 216 yard effort against Chicago. Ricky also has the most career 100-yard rushing games in team history and is just two rushing touchdowns away from Larry Csonka's team record of 53. We've also had a chance to see a young man grow and mature as his career progressed. And I think many people like Williams despite all of his "issues" because most of us can relate to him somehow - a man who had some demon to overcome in his life...and did just that.
3. Will Allen - Three guys came to mind here for me to pick - Allen, Jay Fiedler, and Anthony Fasano. But I went with Allen because, though Miami's secondary has struggled since Allen's arrival in 2006, Will has been a consistently solid player. He isn't an ideal #1 cornerback. But he's a terrific guy to have back there as your veteran leader. He's improved every year he's been in Miami. And now he's proving to be a great mentor to our young cornerbacks. Clearly, the front office respects Will a lot, too - as proven with the contract extension they gave him earlier this offseason.
Honorable Mention: Davone Bess - I'm a huge fan of Bess. Championship teams need players like Bess. I'll have more on Davone at some point leading up to training camp. But needless to say, he's already one of my favorite Dolphins.
MY THREE LEAST FAVORITE OFF-SEASON ACQUISITIONS
1. A.J. Feeley - The Dolphins acquired Feeley in March of 2004 in exchange for a 2005 2nd round draft pick - a pick that turned out to be the 35th overall in the draft. Players such as Lofa Tatupu, Shaun Cody, Michael Roos, and Ronald Bartell were all available with that pick. But the Dolphins, instead, got one season out of Feeley - a season that saw A.J. go 3-5 as a starter, complete just 53% of his passes, throw 15 interceptions to just 11 touchdowns, and fumble 10 times (losing 5 of them). The Dolphins then traded Feeley the following year to San Diego, throwing in a 6th round pick as well, for Cleo Lemon. So, essentially, the Dolphins traded a 2nd round pick and a 6th round pick for Cleo Lemon. Yeah - that worked out well.
2. Josh McCown - The Dolphins signed McCown to a 2 year, $6.25 million deal in March of 2008. But he failed to impress this regime during minicamp and OTAs. He needed stitches in a finger after getting cut while holding firewood for his brother while his brother chopped it prior to training camp. He then was unimpressive in training camp, played in one preseason game for the Dolphins, going 5/8 for 35 yards, and was traded to the Panthers for a 7th round pick. And the Dolphins didn't even use that pick - trading it to Kansas City. So, essentially, the Dolphins paid $2.5 million (the guaranteed money they spent on McCown that they had to pay him) on a 2010 7th round draft pick. Yikes!
3. Ernest Wilford - There were a number of ways I could have went here (L.J. Shelton, Lamar Gordon to name a few). But the amount of money being paid to Wilford makes him the choice here. His 4 year, $13 million deal included $6 million in guarantees. And for that money, the Dolphins got three receptions in year one. Now Wilford has a chance to at least make some contribution to this team if his tight end experiment actually works out. But I'm not confident it will. And even if it does, there's no way he can do enough to earn the contract that the Dolphins gave him. His signing was a clear "swing and a miss" by this front office. But you can deal with some these as long as they continue to make those great moves and continue to have very good drafts.