The Miami Dolphins need a speed guy. Some speculate they will take a shot at someone in next months draft while others think they will look to the free agent market when it fires up. The problem with the draft is there are little guarantees as the top draft picks at the position should both be long gone before the Phins pick at 15. But what if they knew right now that they had a shot, a legit shot, at fixing their speed issue in free agency and only needed to answer one question to make it happen.
Do we want to spend the money?
Last year the Dolphins tossed a huge chunk of change at Brandon Marshall and tossed two draft picks to the Denver Broncos. This year, they verbally acknowledge that lack of speed opposite their 50 million dollar man. Yesterday, Marshall’s best friend, Mike Sims-Walker, soon to be a former Jacksonville Jaguar, announced on “twitter” that he wants to a pull a “Lebron James…hint, hint”. In other words, he wants to play for the Dolphins. He and Marshall started a back and forth effort to make it known that they both want the same thing.
It’s often rare in this day and age of the NFL that a free agent to be will openly admit where he wants to play, instead taking the “I would love to play there” approach with any team mentioned in an effort to milk a bigger contract. This however is a legit comment that would not only reunite Walker with his best friend, but keep him in Florida. Walker is from Orlando.
The Dolphins can’t contact any players, free agent or otherwise, until the lockout is lifted and free agency begins, but due to the lockout, players are no longer restricted to keep their mouths shut. So Walker can tell 30 other teams in no uncertain terms that he wants to come to Miami.
Walker would be the immediate starter opposite Marshall while Brian Hartline would likely be relegated to a support role or used in the 4 WR set that Brian Daboll has stated he will use. Davone Bess would still man the slot position and the thought of Walker stretching one side of the field, Marshall holding up the mid range, and Bess taking the slot routes is pretty exciting. Add to that a pass catching TE and the Dolphins offense suddenly could run that “Patriot” style of offense that Chad Henne talks about.
Bringing Walker to Miami won’t be cheap however. He won’t be Brandon Marshall expensive but he is far from the bottom of the barrel of free agent wide-outs. Over the last two seasons Walker has posted over 60 receptions and 43 receptions with 7 touchdowns in both seasons.
The questions of tying up money in two wide receivers is not something that the Dolphins may do considering that they have a need for a veteran QB, let’s assume either Orton, Kolb, or Palmer. Any three will cost draft picks and a large salary. The team also needs two running backs in all likelihood as well. A free agent and a draft pick seem to be the biggest possibility although the team could opt to draft two.
They also need to add a guard or tackle, presumably through the draft, and then depth on the defensive side of the ball. Add a TE into the mix and suddenly you get the impression that WR is something more of a luxury than a need and one that could be cheaper to address VIA mid to late round draft picking.
Still, regardless of what the team needs vs. what they want, Walker poses a significant opportunity for the team because they now know that Walker wants them. The team only needs to reach out to him when they are allowed to do so. Something that really wouldn’t be that difficult. On the other hand, this regime may view Walker simply to much of a luxury to throw more money into the position. Of course, if they did land Walker, Hartline could bring something back in return to the team if they decided to try and trade him.
Walker was panned in Jacksonville where he was set up to be the number 1 guy, he is more of the number 2 type who can excel in the right position. He isn’t a guy who will post up great weekly fantasy numbers, but fantasy games don’t give points to receivers who pull coverage. He may not post Pro-Bowl numbers but his value lies in what the Dolphins need the most at wide-receiver. A runner.
Either way, the Dolphins know they have an immediate answer at their WR position and a speed guy that is capable of opening up their offense and keeping defenses away from the box, allowing Tony Sparano to “run first”.