For many of us, the free agency and draft period is the favourite part of the year. For others, it's a frustrating process. I'm somewhere in the middle. Leading up to it months and months in advance, the smokescreens and rumours supposedly emanating out of Davie are enough to test anyone's sanity. But the days and hours leading up to free agency and the draft are the most exciting and, in many ways, will define a team's season. If your general manager lands a big-time player, it creates excitement. If your team pursues a more conservative approach and lands ‘safe' or supposed underwhelming players, it creates disappointment and false dawns. And, heaven-forbid, if your team fails to land hardly any free agents, it creates hysteria.
So where exactly am I going with this? Well, it's one thing to draw up a list of players to target in free agency, but it's an entirely different thing altogether to actually land those players. For example, I'll use Mike Wallace as exhibit A. So many now assume that Wallace will be a Dolphin in 2013. They've relied on a rumour that Wallace has already agreed in principle to a deal worth $60 million over 5 years. But how reliable is that source? Do we know it's true for sure? And, if it is true, what's to stop another team stepping in and offering him a more lucrative deal? The truth is, it's all just plain good old speculation. We don't know with one hundred percent surety that it's true, and so don't be entirely surprised if we don't end up with Wallace. We all know Ireland loves to play poker after all.
This brings me to my next point. Many fans are sceptical that Ireland will land any impact players in free agency. This is based on false premises and perceptions that Ireland has failed to land certain ‘impact' players in the past year. I remember last year when Matt Flynn signed for the Seattle Seahawks. Some were so disappointed we didn't land a backup quarterback. That disappointment quickly turned into hysteria that the team were doomed. Remember the supposed pursuit of Peyton Manning, too? I don't actually buy that the Dolphins were ever interested in him. We couldn't even afford him for starters. Sure, the Dolphins sent a delegation to meet with the guy. You have to meet with Manning. Call it due diligence. But it doesn't mean we were ever serious about signing him. Then all of a sudden we drafted Ryan Tannehill. Again, there were those that suggested Ireland was getting desperate. The guy was doomed to failure. He wasn't even that good. He should have been a second round pick. But, so far, Tannehill has turned out pretty well, right? In fact, he was their number one target from day one. In fact, they landed their top target. I know, hard to believe right?
Lets rewind back to the beginning. Can Jeff Ireland actually land any of his top free agent targets? In order to answer that question, we need to understand that we don't know for sure who exactly his top targets actually are. For all we know, Mike Wallace could be part of an elaborate smokescreen to drive Greg Jennings's price down. On the other hand, Mike Wallace could be our top free agent target. I hope he is; he'll immediately upgrade this wide receiver corps. But does Joe Philbin feel the same way? Will he actually fit our scheme? Is he the right person to have in the locker room? We don't know. It's all part of the process. Just don't be disappointed and believe the hysteria when certain players on people's wish list don't end up in Miami. It won't be because we failed to land them, but rather, that we probably weren't interested in them in the first place.