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Two Scenarios, Two Paths For Fins This Offseason

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NFL: Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

What path we believe the Miami Dolphins should embark on this offseason depends on both how far away we believe they are from contending and what happens with WR Jarvis Landry. Landry, you see, is the linchpin for the Dolphins this year, because what the team ultimately decides to do with him will go a long way toward determining their other moves. He will be the first domino to fall, with many others to follow. For the first time in quite a while, I honestly don’t have a strong opinion either way, in terms of what happens to Landry. Imagine that -- a subject Cranehead doesn’t have a strong opinion on. Write it down, folks; it does happen once in a while.

Since whether or not Miami should re-sign Landry has already been discussed ad nauseum, let’s take a look at some possible moves the team might consider making, both with and without him in their plans for next season. In either case, I’d like to see a defensive player selected with the eleventh overall pick in April’s draft. After that, it starts to get interesting. Since there are plenty of needs on the Dolphins’ roster, rather than a trade down from eleven, which is unlikely, I’m going to advocate a trade up from Miami’s second-round pick, into the middle to latter portion of round one. Who Miami selects there is predicated in large part on what happens with Landry. If Landry is re-signed, I would go OL with the newly acquired pick. If the Dolphins choose to let Jarvis leave town, then I would go with a tight end who can get loose down the seam or, dare I say it, another wideout in the latter portion of round one. I know, I know, you generally don’t go wide receiver in the first round, and I’ve been critical of such moves in the past. However, if we can avoid having to pay big money to Landry, and just about everyone knows that fellow WR DeVante Parker’s days in Miami are almost certainly numbered, that may be what makes the most sense -- if the Dolphins have already scored a stud defender earlier in round one, and the money freed up by Landry’s departure enables the front office to address OL in free agency.

It isn’t necessarily that the talent level in the top half of round two is all that different than in the bottom half of round one; the problem is that once the first round ends, every team’s GM can then go back to his hotel with another twenty-four hours to study all of the good players that are still on the board for the following day’s action. Remember what happened two years ago, when the Dolphins wanted LB Myles Jack or LB Jaylon Smith in the worst way, but neither Jacksonville nor Dallas would sell them the necessary draft choice to move up in round two, to take either player? This is why you may be better off moving sooner, rather than later if there is a player you want who is sliding down the board. If you believe that the Dolphins are only three or four new players and a healthy Raekwon McMillan and Ryan Tannehill away from contending for the postseason again, then Miami’s first-round pick in 2019 figures to be in the 20’s anyway. That’s a small price to pay for a team that needs a rapid infusion of talent right now. Also, before we criticize the idea of trading back into the first round, keep in mind that just about every year, there are far more teams that want to trade down than there are teams who want to trade up. Unless some team has the hots for a quarterback who hasn’t already been drafted, why sell into what will almost certainly be a buyer’s market when you can be a buyer in that same buyer's market?

So, now, with the first round in the books, Miami has a projected new starter on defense and either a stud offensive lineman or TE/WR. With their remaining draft picks, they can then select the best player available that fits their philosophy and/or move up or down to target specific players or stockpile more picks. I’d like to hear from our readers on this, in terms of what moves you would like to see the Dolphins’ front office make this offseason, both in free agency as well as the draft.