Day one of the league new year is in the books and the Dolphins, like their namesake, made a splash. So what can you expect on day 2 of the league new year? For starters, it should be a much slower more methodical approach.
Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland made big moves yesterday and still has plenty of money to spend. However, starting today, he will host players, visit with them, talk with them face to face, and likely work them out. That wasn’t the case yesterday when he inked Mike Wallace, Dannell Ellerbe, and Phillip Wheeler.
While it’s easy to say that the flurry of spending and signing will wane in the coming days, the morning talk is that NY Jets TE Dustin Keller will make a visit to Miami. So apparently Ireland isn’t done fishing in the top of the market. Despite the signings yesterday which I will break down in a moment, the Dolphins still have holes to fill at RG/RT, CB, pass rushing DE/OLB, and the most glaring hole at TE.
A look back to yesterday reveals that the Dolphins made solid and in some cases very good moves but the reality is there is still work to be done and while no one wins a division in March, the Dolphins at least began addressing their need to improve on both sides of the ball.
Mike Wallace – Without question Jeff Ireland got his man. Wallace inked a five year 60 million dollar deal with 30 million guaranteed. Which means that at the very least, his contract will cost 6 million a season before any base is applied. Wallace is the deep threat Miami sorely lacked. The good news is this, last year the Dolphins came close to making the playoffs and offensively what held them back was a deep threat to pull coverage off the medium range and seam. Wallace will compliment Brian Hartline and improve the available routes for Tannehill to throw to.
Anthony Fasano – The Dolphins wanted to keep Fasano from what I have been told but not at the salary that he was given in Kansas City. 4 years 16 million is a lot to pay for a TE who is better blocking than running pass routes. Fasano can be a star but he is far too inconsistent to warrant such a high salary. Still, his absence in Miami leaves the Dolphins with two TE’s. Michael Egnew and Kyle Miller.
Dannell Ellerbe – No single player signed yesterday shocked the NFL world than when Miami swept in and signed him. At 5 years 34 million, Ellerbe is getting paid but he is also going to have to prove that last year was not a fluke. Shortly after Ellerbe was signed, Karlos Dansby was given his walking papers. Contractually, the release of Dansby is almost a push with the signing of Ellerbe.
Karlos Dansby – Dansby wasn’t the “leader” that the Dolphins wanted him to be. Twice last season he called out the front office publicly and on the field he failed at times to have a clue who was on the field with him. Leaders know their teammates. Dansby more often than not came across about himself. Walking off the field at half-time during the Tennessee Titans game, Dansby looked as though he had completely quit and his second half performance echoed that.
Phillip Wheeler – Wheeler had a stellar season last year in Oakland where he signed a one year deal after a brief flirtation with Miami. Wheeler has a lot of talent and even more potential but one year isn’t exactly enough to know what exactly the Dolphins are getting. The upside is he is young and should slide in to the middle of the Dolphins defense and take control. The Dolphins must think so as well as they released Kevin Burnett shortly thereafter.
Kevin Burnett – Burnett did his job but he didn’t do it to perfection. Burnett was a victim of an age movement and as was the case with the Dansby release, Burnett’s contract is similar to the contract signed by Wheeler in terms of cap numbers.
Chris Clemons – The Dolphins brought Clemons in on a one year deal. Clemons played better last year than he has in the past and he will get another year to prove to the Dolphins that he belongs in Miami. The Dolphins and whether or not they view safety as a hole is another question entirely.