For the first time in years, the Dolphins will not have to answer quarterback questions during the 2013 offseason. Unless people ask how good Ryan Tannehill can be in year two?
Instead, other positions will be widely speculated about on both sides of the football for the Miami Dolphins. Let’s look at a variety of positions the Dolphins will have to address as they begin the process of compiling players that will make up the 2013 Miami Dolphins.
1. Wide Receiver- Most football minds would and have agreed that the Dolphins need a #1 receiver and like yesterday. Three players have been thrown into the discussion of who Miami is targeting through Free agency.
Mike Wallace, Dwayne Bowe, and Greg Jennings top the wish list for GM Jeff Ireland during the 2013 free agency. With talks of the Kansas City Chiefs possibly putting the franchise tag on Bowe, Wallace and Jennings seem like the front-runners to land the top receiver gig in South Beach.
Greg Jennings has played under Dolphins’ Coach Joe Philbin and is familiar with his system. That alone leads me to believe that Greg Jennings will be the most likely choice for Miami.
If Ireland can reel in Jennings, Miami will have a formidable wide receiver crew with Brian Hartline coming off a career season while Bess continues to be one of the best slot receivers, year in and year out. Miami and the brass will have to lock Hartline up with a contract though as he is a free agent.
2. Cornerback- The definite low spot for Miami’s 2012 season was undoubtedly the play, or lack there of, from their secondary. Richard Marshall went down early in the season with a back injury as Nolan Carroll and others tried to step in for him.
They tried, but ultimately they failed horribly to stop the pass as almost every opponent racked up huge yards through the air. Heck, Andrew Luck set a rookie record against Miami for passing yards in a game.
So to nobody’s surprise, Jeff Ireland and Joe Philbin will positively be looking for a corner in the draft or in free agency. They might be looking for two corners if Sean Smith isn’t brought back for 2013.
Dee Milliner would be the most logical choice if the Dolphins chose to get their CB in the draft. Milliner who is fresh off a national championship run with the University of Alabama, is the highest touted corner for the 2013 draft.
Milliner possesses great ball skills, has great technique, and is a fantastic tackler. He can come in right away and contribute to the secondary for Miami which would greatly help the stout run defense Miami already possesses.
If Milliner is not available when the Dolphins pick in the middle of the 1st round, here are some possible alternatives via free agency or the draft.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will hit free agency and the Philadelphia Eagles will have to decide what to do with him as a new regime is in town.
Brent Grimes is another free agent CB from the Atlanta Falcons, but most believe the Falcons will want to lock him up.
Aquib Talib from the New England Patriots had a quality year with the Dolphins’ rival, but New England will have to likely pony up some money to keep him there.
Desmond Trufant from the University of Washington is another likely 1st round cornerback along with Xavier Rhodes from Florida State University. If Milliner gets snatched up before Miami can grab him, they might go after one of these two young men to address their dire situation at cornerback.
Running Back: The biggest off-season question surrounding the Dolphins has been the speculation of free agent running back Reggie Bush. Bush, who was easily Miami’s best offensive weapon the past two seasons, would most likely want a significant pay day from Miami.
Bush has reiterated several times that he would like to stay in Miami to finish some “unfinished business” but many believe that Ireland and the Dolphin brass aren’t going to be willing to overpay for Reggie. We will have to wait and find out what really will happen with #22, but i’m sure it will be a tough decision as he is one of the fan favorites for the Dolphins.
I believe they should not overpay him to an extreme, but I believe Bush’s play-making abilities and his leadership should earn him a reasonable contract. Miami also needs to quit trading away explosive, rare players who they think are “asking too much” because other teams are willing to pay for that guy and it has recently worked out for a couple different teams (Brandon Marshall/Bears, Vontae Davis/Colts).
If they let Bush go in hopes that Lamar Miller or Daniel Thomas can carry the load, I believe they will set themselves up for a lot of criticism if it turns south. Miami cannot keep “rebuilding” with moves such as the Brandon Marshall, Vontae Davis, and possibly Reggie Bush leaving because they have a talented defense with a lot of veterans that believe their chance to win is now.
Also, Lamar Miller might be a good running back but it is not a certainty. Daniel Thomas gets hurt way too much and is very inconsistent. We need a proven runner to compliment the rest of the offense.
It’s not rebuilding when you never build a competitive team because of too many roster shake ups. Keep Bush and I believe he will have his best season yet, let him go and watch someone else reap the rewards because you couldn’t see paying him a couple extra million.
Left Tackle: Jake Long has dropped off the “elite” list for left tackles this past season, but surely is going to want the elite money. One report stated that the front office gave him a “low ball” offer which doesn’t signify much hope in a deal being able to be worked out.
It is still way too early to tell if Long and the Dolphins can come to a deal, but here are some players to keep in mind if Miami and #77 part ways.
Ryan Clady from the Denver Broncos and Sebastian Vollmer from the New England Patriots are two big name free agent tackles.
Vollmer is a right tackle who would allow Miami’s Jonathan Martin to move back to his natural left tackle position.
Tight end and safety are other areas that are in question for Miami. Anthony Fasano had one of his best years in 2012 so I wouldn’t be surprised for Joe Philbin to keep Fasano at that position for 2013.
Safety is hazy as of yet, so I won’t get into that situation right now.
So these are just a few positions Jeff Ireland and Joe Philbin will have to figure out in the coming months. If Miami can land some big fish so to speak, it could propel them from mediocre to a serious contender.
Recently though, Miami has not hooked any of the big name players or coaches they have pursued. That needs to change this off-season if the 2013 Miami Dolphins want to end their 4 year drought of missing the playoffs.