The tenure of Tony Sparano is extended and his new two year extension makes this year a non-“lame duck” year. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. As I wrote earlier in the week, if Stephen Ross had landed Jim Harbaugh he would have needed to spend more money to get the players into Miami that would ignite excitement. If it was Sparano…he wouldn’t spend a dime.
Now he almost has to.
Stephen Ross and his Miami Dolphins are in a precarious position right now. They can look at this two year extension as nothing more than something on paper that will only further blacken the eyes of the franchise. Or, Stephen Ross can get behind this and they can make the necessary changes to give Sparano every opportunity to succeed.
Stephen Ross needs Sparano to succeed.
With all that has happened this week and the lengths the teams management went to keeping Sparano happy or at least employed they can not sit back and simply say there is your product, pointing to the existing team, now make do. No, they have to fully support him. And that means spending money. Possibly lots of it.
Ross wants excitement and explosive entertainment on the field. He can’t wait for the Bill Parcells plan of reshaping to take place and at the same time, Sparano can’t afford to further sully his situation by not planning for the future as well. It’s not a one and done season. Unless Ross is willing to pay 2 years of an empty contract should the team tank.
The best course of action is now diligent thinking and preparation. The free agent market is set to be full of WR’s that can come in and immediately help this offense. It has some high profile offensive lineman that can reshape the largest broken unit on the Dolphins team. While QB is a very soft market this year, there are still veteran options that will give real competition in training camp with Chad Henne and the Dolphins may decide to take that flyer in round one on a signal caller is one falls they like.
At the RB spot, where the Dolphins will assuredly lose at least Ricky Williams, there are FA options as well as rookie options in the draft. With Sparano’s return it’s almost a given that Patrick Cobbs will now return.
What all this means is this. Stephen Ross needs a winner and he needs Tony Sparano to be that winner. Suddenly Sparano is more important than Jeff Ireland. There was a lot of dirty laundry aired in those meetings I assure you. The only way to put a winner on the field is to spend money off of it. In terms of the free agents. The win now mentality is there but moreso in the eyes of Ross rather than the jobs of Sparano and Ireland.
Whatever side of this fence you stand on, one thing stands out, the off-season should get a whole lot more interesting IF/when free agency rolls around. I expect the Dolphins to be very active. Ross needs them to be.