The Miami Dolphins are not leading the pack in the “Suck for Luck” campaign. That lead belongs to the St. Louis Rams who last year spent their number one pick on Sam Bradford at number one. Number one overall. So while the Rams are sitting pretty for the Andrew Luck draw the reality is they are very unlikely to spend the dough on one Andrew Luck and that puts them in a very good position.
Then of course there are the odds on favorites to land the marquee prospect, the Indianapolis Colts who currently are treading water around the three spot just behind our very own Miami Dolphins. Popular belief is that the Rams will eventually win a few games and the Dolphins will do the same, but in Indy, the feeling is this team is simply too far gone to really eek out a single win. On the other side of that coin, the Colts’ owner, Jim Irsay just made injured future Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning the highest paid player in the NFL with a big chunk of change guaranteed. So in that sense, the Colts may very well pass on Andrew Luck as well as opposed to paying him top seeded money (even under the new rookie pool scale) just so Luck can sit for the next few years behind Manning. Which thus puts them in a good position at number 1.
A slew of one win teams are also looking at making a splash or a dunk if you will into the pool of “Luck”ful hopefuls. Like the Denver Broncos who face the Dolphins this weekend. A win and they move forward a loss and they very well may put themselves in the drivers seat for the Stanford standout.
So what about Miami? Forget the suck for luck campaign and chants, what if the Dolphins do indeed land in the top spot and say the Denver Broncos are sitting in the third or the fourth. Would the Dolphins entertain the idea of moving out of one and taking a monumental step towards fixing this mess they call a team? Imagine what Luck would draw in compensation.
The truth is despite the accolades that Luck draws from his supporters, no one is 100 percent certain that he is a fool proof fail proof future franchise QB. No one can say for certain that he will be better in the long run than say, Landry Jones or Matt Barkley of USC. So what would the Dolphins gain by say “raping” the Denver Broncos of a first, second, a first in 2013, and more? Then simply draft Jones or Barkley in the 3 or 4 slot?
Imagine what the Dolphins could build on with two first rounders for the next two seasons? Especially given the fact that the Broncos are more than likely to finish in the top 10 again in 2013. The Rams and Colts would be looking at the same opportunity if they land in the one spot.
Of course it would take a tremendous amount of balls, for lack of a better term, to bypass the top rated QB that could potentially save your franchise in favor of the next best thing that could save your franchise. But it is a possibility and in reality, a strong one.
Consider that at the end of this season the Dolphins will almost assuredly have a new head coach and possibly a new general manager. Possibly even the same man running both shows. Say a Bill Cowher or yes even still a John Gruden. Looking at the state of the franchise is not enough to get Jones or Barkley and more for a player who could command a ton in compensation? Would you not at the very least explore the options if you held that pick and then weight your decision based on what you believe are needs? I would.
A prospect like Andrew Luck comes along once in 10 years which makes it very difficult to pass over but at the same time, it’s a player like Andrew Luck that comes along once every 10 years that would draw that type of compensation that he would, and let’s not forget that under the current rookie salary cap structure, Luck will cost nowhere near what he would have two seasons ago. Which is much more enticing for teams looking to trade picks without having to shovel out a financial windfall as well.
Speculation of course runs deep that Luck may return for another year as he is an eligible junior. He is scheduled to graduate this year so he could very easily say to hell with the top teams and go back to school. I don’t believe that will be the case. For several reasons.
One, he risks injury that would cost him millions. Two, there is no guarantee that he will like the top of the draft next year any more than he would this year. With Manning back next season the Colts won’t be sitting high and it’s possible that Luck could be looking at teams like the Cleveland Browns to hold the top spot. Is that an improvement over his options this year? He also would face the potential of several teams who are need of QB’s now to take their futures this year leaving less at the top next season.
The best case scenario is for Luck to play his stardom and demand into his own demands. In the form of trade. Luck can refuse to play for the team that drafts him and he could very easily tell the top team to pass or after the selection tell them he will not sign. It’s worked well in the past for the likes of Eli Manning and John Elway.
This is where Stephen Ross has to tread carefully. His off-season moves will be scrutinized by the fans, the media, and possibly Andrew Luck. His selection for head coach could be an enticing draw or decisive blow to the Dolphins parlaying a bad season into a future franchise QB. How Ross goes about the process is as important as who he ends up selecting.
In the end, the “Suck for Luck” campaign is a catchy tune that fans can latch on to in order to put some sort of reason behind a collapsed season that simply never got started. It’s something to hold on to in the face of 11 more games, that’s right ELEVEN more games of mediocrity at best. It gives them a reason to hope and even dream. Let’s face it, this season is over regardless of mathematics. Fans are already looking to the next head coach. Wondering about whether a change at GM will also follow. Wondering who will be Stephen Ross’ right hand man or will their be one at all.
And of course Andrew Luck. It’s the one reason to watch the standings. Yes, the Dolphins are in last place but who else is ahead of them and behind them lurking for that coveted title of “worst team in 2011″?
Who will have those proverbial “balls” to pull the trigger and move out of that spot and take a boatload of draft picks with them?