Next, let’s take a look at the Peyton Manning Saga. Manning chose to play for the Denver Broncos signing a five year contract for in the neighborhood of $90 million. He chose the Broncos over the Colts (you remember he played for them for 15 years), the 49ers (and the wondercoach Jim Harbaugh), the Titans (and the Tennessee state Legislature with formal Resolution), the Cardinals, the Seahawks, the Chiefs, the J-E-T-S, and the Dolphins. NO one really knows (or likely will ever know) why Manning chose the Broncos, except for Manning himself. One thing is for sure, given his exit speech in Indy, Manning is both cerebral and sophisticated. But, I believe that the prospects of making the playoffs and getting to the Super Bowl to possibly play against his brother was a key factor — this includes the Division opponents Manning would have to first compete against in order to get there. Denver has an easier path to the playoffs than the Dolphins.
The Colts management was not labeled as incompetent for letting Manning go. The management of the remaining teams, who spoke with Manning, were not labeled incompetent for not being the highest bidders. Heck, the management of teams who did not get a chance to even speak with Manning were not labeled incompetent. Only the Dolphins management were labeled incompetent by the media. Why?
I think it is worth considering the following fact. Nearly all of the media heavyweights, who work in New York, Boston, Chicago, and LA, had labeled the Dolphins as the leader to acquire Manning when the saga started. And, so did most of the media in Miami. When the media were proven wrong as to where Manning permanently landed, they (the media) had to blame somebody for their failure to accurately prognosticate — since, of course, blaming is the “in” thing to do these days. So, they chose to blame the Dolphins management — specifically, Jeff Ireland. It was perfect for the media heavyweights because they do not live in Miami. The Miami media chose to follow the heavyweights … I don’t know … I guess because they wanted to “Be Like Mike”. But, I do not think the Dolphins management were incompetent — they just lost out.
Lastly, let’s look at the Flynn situation. Previously, I wrote a critical article about Matt Flynn and his college and pro resume. Bottomline, Flynn does not have a very impressive resume highlighted with very, very limited NFL experience and he was a 7th round draft pick. I ended the article with placing trust that Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin would do the right thing, largely because he had coached Flynn for four years. I believe, if Philbin really thought Flynn was the answer, the Dolphins management would have put out to get him. In the end, Flynn went to Seattle. It has been reported that it was largely because of money. He got a 3 year deal worth $26 million with $12 million guaranteed.
If money was the clincher, I think it is worth considering the following fact. Philbin knows Flynn’s abilities. However, without a doubt, paying Flynn a lot of money to be your franchise QB is a big risk given his limited experience. So, given the risk, I present to you the following hypothetical. Suppose that Blaine Gabbert was available in the 2012 NFL Draft. He would have likely been the third best prospect behind Andrew Luck and RG3. And, the Dolphins would have claimed he was the logical choice for the Dolphins to select. Last year, Gabbert went with the 10th pick in the Draft to the Jaguars. He received a 4 year deal worth $12 million with $7 million guaranteed. So, who would you take? Would you take Flynn with a 3 year deal worth $26 million with $12 million guaranteed or would you take Gabbert with a 4 year deal worth $12 million with $7 million guaranteed? Gabbert would have been the better financial deal. Who do you think has the greater probability for success? I believe Gabbert would have had the greater probability for success (keeping in mind you can’t take into account Gabbert’s year with the Jags given the hypothetical that he came out of college this year). So, it is likely the Gabbert would be the better risk investment.
Why is the Gabbert vs. Flynn comparison important? There is a chance that Cleveland will take Trent Richardson (RB from Alabama) with the fourth pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. This may make Ryan Tannehill available for the Dolphins to select with the eighth pick. Since Philbin knows Flynn and Sherman knows Tannehill, maybe they collaborated and decided Tannehill was the better prospect. Ireland would have added that the investment would be less — much less. Maybe, just maybe, this is the reason why Flynn was not signed by the Dolphins. Unfortunately, the media labeled Flynn the QB darling after Manning. And, the fact the Dolphins management did not land Flynn makes them incompetent. I don’t think so.
So, maybe we should all let the process work itself out — that is, wait until the draft is over before the Dolphins management is labeled as incompetent. Heck, I guess that maybe we should wait until the start of the season because maybe Philbin and Sherman studied film and believe Pat Devlin is really the future in comparison to all the other alternatives, except for Manning and a mortgage on RG3.
I learned three very important lessons in this whole QB chase. First, I learned not to be so quick to judge the Dolphins management in decisions they make. I remember how Ireland chose not to acquire Kyle Orton last year because of investment risk. He got criticized by the media. And, in the end, Ireland was right and the media were wrong.
Second, I learned that it is better for me, as a sports writer, to just present you, my readers, with the facts. I learned that it is important for me not to prejudge for you. Many of you, are smart enough to pass your own judgement. I, personally feel, insulted by the media reporting that the Dolphins were the leaders to get Manning, when I think the Dolphins were never in the lead — except for in the minds of the media heavyweights and their “unnamed high placed sources” and their “sources close to the matter”.
Third, I learned that being a sports writer judging an NFL General Manager is a lot easier job than being an NFL General Manager — these guys have tough jobs. So, I will try not be so quick to judge the character of NFL General Managers. Rather, I will just give my opinion on their actions.
But …. then again …. what in the heck was Ireland smoking when he released Yeremiah Bell … sorry, I lost it there for a brief second.
Any way, next focus is the 2012 NFL Draft. Like last year, I will try to provide you with in-depth analysis on the prospects of need for the Dolphins — QB, WR, RT/RG, FS, and TE. I hope you will check back on PhinPhanatic.
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Topics: Andrew Luck, Denver Broncos, Jeff Ireland, Kyle Orton, Matt Flynn, Miami Dolphins, NFL, NFL Draft, NFL Free Agency, Pat Devlin, Peyton Manning, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, San Francisco 49ers, Stephen Ross, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, Yeremiah Bell