As you may have heard, the 2013 off-season is shaping up to be one of the most important in the history of the Miami Dolphins franchise. With around 48 million dollars in cap space and five picks in the first three rounds of the draft, the Dolphins are in a prime position to add impact players that can transform this mediocre group into a playoff contender. GM Jeff Ireland has one last chance to get it right and secure his job. With a good draft and sound free agent decisions, Ireland can make a new name for himself. If he fails in all likelihood he will be finished as an NFL GM. Until the off season plays out all we can do, as fans, is speculate what this off-season will bring. So, without further ado, here are three bold predictions that may be plausible for the 2013 off-season.
#1: The Dolphins will only bring back one of their KEY unrestricted free agents- Part of the reason the Dolphins have so much space under the salary cap is because they have so many key players hitting free agency. Among the most important free agents are players like Jake Long, Reggie Bush, Sean Smith, Brian Hartline, Anthony Fasano, and Randy Starks. While all of these players have been big contributors to the limited success the team has seen in recent seasons, bringing too many back would impede the team’s ability to make significant improvements. My bold first prediction is that only Randy Starks will rejoin the Dolphins next season. By re-signing Starks and shoring the defensive line the Dolphins can focus most of their off-season resources on their three main holes receivers, defensive backs, and offensive line.
#2: There will be AT LEAST 3 new receivers added to the roster- There were many complaints about the Dolphins offense during the 2012 season, but the most prevalent was the glaring lack of play making wide receivers on the roster. Brian Hartline had a great year surpassing 1000 receiving yards and Devon Bess is still a top slot receiver, but beyond that the Dolphins struggled to find consistent threats in the passing game. It would not be surprising to see the Dolphins bring a handful of new pass catchers in next season. They need size and speed in the receiving core, whether it’s through the draft or free agency, I expect no less than three new wide receivers and at least one new tight end.
#3: The Dolphins will draft a QB in the first 3 rounds- With backup QB Matt Moore bound to leave during free agency; the Dolphins will need to add someone to play behind Ryan Tannehill. With Tannehill assured start next season, the Dolphins don’t need to bring in someone to compete for the job. They do need someone who can play if Tannehill goes down with an injury. If a QB like Ryan Nassib out of Syracuse is available when the Dolphins pick in the second or third round I see them taking him and letting him sit for insurance purposes.
Bonus Prediction: The Miami Dolphins will make the playoffs- Since this isn’t an “off-season” prediction consider it a bonus prediction. Call me naive, call me hopeless, call me crazy, but this isn’t that far out there. The Dolphins were in the discussion all year. The Patriots will control the AFC East until Tom Brady finally retires, but the Dolphins are just some big offensive plays away from being a real contender in this league. I don’t know exactly what will happen this off-season and I don’t know what Jeff Ireland and Joe Philbin have planned, but until Tannehill is given the weapons we will never know just how good he can be. Imagine if the Dolphins had beaten the Cards and Jets in over time this season. Our outlook on the team’s success would be very different. Next season, if the team improves, they can be a favorite for a wild card spot.
The Dolphins have a bright future, let’s just hope the front office doesn’t blow it again. Regardless FINS UP!