Since the final seconds of the last regular season game between the Jets and Dolphins ticked off the clock, Miami fans were already counting the days to free agency. For the past few months, we have done nothing but speculate about what the Dolphins needed to do in free agency to improve this team in 2012. For the most part, the fans had it all figured out. We could almost visualize Miami’s plan and predict which direction this team would most likely head. However, after just four days since the start of free agency, Miami’s plan is clear as mud.
Prior to 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13th, the Dolphins had liabilities at critical positions on the team; quarterback, right tackle, pass rusher, and free safety. We convinced ourselves the Dolphins were capable of addressing these needs and becoming competitive in 2012. Miami would surely look to upgrade at least one of these positions in free agency, right?
Not only have the Dolphins failed to pick up impact free agents as Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn, Carl Nicks, Eric Winston, Reggie Nelson, or possibly Mario Williams to upgrade the aforementioned positions, they surprised EVERYONE by trading Brandon Marshall to the Bears. This now opens up the second largest need on this team at wide receiver, behind a quarterback upgrade. If Miami had a plan for this move to trade Marshall, I would have been fine with it. But, they did not have a plan and they do not appear interested in acquiring a wide receiver in free agency to fill his shoes.
Based on the free agent receivers still available, the Dolphins appear they will target one in the draft. Will Miami plan to use their first round pick on a receiver or do they feel this is a deep draft and can select one in later rounds? If this is their plan, it’s a very big gamble. Considering the Dolphins play in a division with a team that consistently scores over 30 points per game, I don’t think it’s a wise decision to rely on a rookie receiver to carry the load all season on offense.
The current plan to address their new need at wide receiver is certainly not the only head scratcher. Apparently they felt the need of adding a fifth running back to the roster by re-signing Steve Slaton. The Dolphins already have Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas, Jerome Messam, and Richard Medlin going into camp this year. Who knows, maybe it’s more important to have five running backs instead of going after one right tackle who could potentially protect our next quarterback from getting killed?
Speaking of quarterbacks, this whole Peyton Manning pursuit is starting to get out of control. Why is it that the Dolphin representatives feel they are still in the hunt to land Manning when EVERYONE else feels it’s a two team race between Denver and Tennessee? Do you honestly think Manning is excited about the opportunity of lighting up secondaries with Brian Hartline?
Meanwhile, Miami has neglected Matt Flynn and he is now in Seattle, interviewing with the Seahawks. The chances of Manning not coming to the Dolphins, Flynn signing with the Seahawks, and the Browns selecting Ryan Tannehill with the fourth overall pick is increasing by the hour. This so called “nightmare” scenario is slowly starting to become reality for the Dolphins.
Sure, it’s great to see Miami bring in more cornerback competition with the signing of Richard Marshall. Maybe the Dolphins feel it’s more important to have somebody push Sean Smith rather than pick up a safety like Reggie Nelson who would instantly make our secondary much better. And of course, even though the Dolphins plan to play a 4-3 defense next year, it was their prerogative to sign nose tackle Paul Soliai to a two year deal, rather than go after a must needed pass rusher to take the place of Jason Taylor.
This is all fine and dandy, but the Dolphins have failed to notice any one of the huge elephants in the room. We the fans see them. We thought we shared the same vision for this team as the front office. After four days of free agency, the Dolphins still do not have a clear path for the direction they plan to go. Unfortunately, there are more questions than answers surrounding this organization. At this time, it doesn’t appear the Dolphins have a plan for what they are trying to accomplish. And if they do, they are doing an excellent job disguising it.