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Dolphins make big mistake by passing on Randy Moss

It's rare that an opportunity like this presents itself right in the middle of the NFL season - the perfect union of need and availability.

The Dolphins have struggled to score in the red zone and their longest touchdown is a 28 yard pass from Chad Henne to Ricky Williams. Wouldn't it be perfect for a tall, talented big play receiver to suddenly fall from the sky?

That's exactly what happened this week. But the Dolphins decided to just sit and watch Randy Moss fall right past them and land in the arms of the Tennessee Titans. And in a perfect stroke of irony, Randy's first game as a Titan will be right here in Miami against the Dolphins.

One would have thought that the trade to acquire Brandon Marshall this past offseason signaled a slight change in philosophy by this generally conservative front office. Perhaps that move was a sign that general manager Jeff Ireland was planning on stepping out of the "Bill Parcells shadow" and take calculated risks.

Well meet the new boss...the same as the old boss.

I really didn't expect the Dolphins to land Randy Moss. But I thought that it would be because another team with a higher waiver priority would have snatched him up first. What I did not think was that Moss would make it all the way down to the Dolphins at position eighteen - and then would continue on down the waiver list because Miami failed to put in a claim for the play-making receiver.

How many times will this franchise pass on elite talent?

Did the Dolphins absolutely need Randy Moss? Of course not. But what exactly was the risk here?

Some will say that Moss might be a problem in the locker room - referring to Moss as a "locker room cancer." But most teammates have nothing but good things to say about Randy.

Some might worry about Randy's penchant to take some plays off on the field. If that's the case, the coaches can just sit his butt on the bench and be done with him.

Moss would have cost the Dolphins only a little over $3 million this year with no long term commitment. No draft picks would have been given up. In fact, the Dolphins might have gained a compensatory draft pick had he signed elsewhere after the season.

Again I ask, what was the risk? Why pass up on a guy who could have instantly made the Dolphins a legitimate Super Bowl contender?

Instead, the Dolphins put in a waiver claim for an injury prone pass-rusher who was once suspended for using steroids - a player who has played in just eighteen games since the 2007 season and has just four sacks.

A team source told the Miami Herald's Jeff Darlington that there were three main reasons they passed on Moss. They were "age, upside, and need." That same source told Darlington that the Dolphins "seriously considered Moss" but eventually decided against it because they like who they already have.

There are two problems I have with this line of thinking. First of all, to say a big receiver who can go deep and who can score touchdowns in the red zone is not a need is just ridiculous. Anyone who has watched the Dolphins this year knows the Dolphins desperately need a guy who can stretch the field and score red zone touchdowns.

Secondly, I like what the Dolphins already have, too. But that doesn't mean a nine game Randy Moss rental wouldn't have helped this team.

The Dolphins may be leaking out that the reason they passed on Moss was because they like their guys and feel that he wouldn't have filled a need. But is anyone really buying that? If anything, I take this decision by Miami's front office as a sign that they privately don't believe in Tony Sparano's ability to manage his players. I believe they feel that managing Moss would have been too tough for Sparano.

If that's the case, I think the front office was dead wrong. I think that Sparano is exactly the kind of head coach who could manage a personality like Randy Moss.

But it doesn't matter what you and I think. All that matters is what Jeff Ireland and Miami's front office believes. And they clearly felt like Randy Moss - the guy who has more receiving touchdowns than any player in NFL history not named Jerry Rice - would not have helped the 2010 Miami Dolphins.

A huge opportunity presented itself to the Miami Dolphins. And right on cue, this front office cowered - a missed opportunity off the field during a season that has been filled with too many missed opportunities on it.