The Miami Dolphins have been in the news since the start of the 2011 season. They report to training camp today with none of their rookies officially signed…at least at the time of this writing. They have worked the phones lines but so far they have come empty. The question is not “can” Jeff Ireland close these deals he is working on, the question is “will” he.
Jeff Ireland has called the DeAngelo Williams camp, and then pulled out of the bidding when the price tag simply went higher than he was willing to spend. It’s likely that the Williams camp was using other teams to drive up the price on Carolina, the team he not only signed with, but the team he said he wanted to retire on. Ireland turned his attentions to RB Ahmad Bradshaw, at one point becoming the rumored odds on favorite to land the free agent. Like Williams, Bradshaw’s price tag went higher than Jeff Ireland wanted to spend.
Ireland has a deal in place with the Denver Broncos for QB Kyle Orton, or so it is reported. The hang up is getting a new contract for Orton finished that would reduce his 9 million dollar cap hit. Late last night, Ireland agreed to a deal that would bring speedy runner Reggie Bush to Miami from New Orleans. The deal is in place but the contract is not.
Team CEO Mike Dee has said the Phins will be aggressive but smart in free agency. So far they have been very aggressive but they have only landed depth OLB Justin Trusnik and re-added DE Tony McDaniel. To whom they paid 6 million over two years for. Bush and Orton both will cost more than that. Ireland also needs to look at other players on his roster and find a way to reduce their salary commitments for the 2011 season. Specifically the 12 million tag on NT Paul Soliai.
Ireland has been aggressive without question but in reality he has yet to close a deal. It’s not a matter of whether he can or can not, it’s a matter of will he or will he not. The ball is on his side of the field he simply needs to commit the money to the players. This year, NFL free agency is going to be expensive. The NFLPA informed agents that teams have an additional 3 million to spend due to the lockout. They want that spent.
Players are taking advantage of the 99% expenditure of the salary cap. As well as they should. It’s driving a heavy market. Still, Ireland needs to either hit his target or aim a lot lower. Eventually, by the time he walks away from his first few choices, his remaining choices won’t be there when he looks for them.