Dec 2, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland prior to a game against the New England Patriots at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY
The NFL is set to kick-off the Super Bowl tomorrow night thus ending the 2012 NFL season. After the confetti falls and is swept up and out of the stadium, after the teams return home to parades, the NFL will begin it’s countdown to the start of free agency.
The league new year begins on Monday, March 12th at 4:00 pm eastern time. Teams are now allowed to discuss free agents with their agents a week prior to the start of the season allowing teams to have a better idea of what they can expect when the “bell” sounds. While the start of the free agency period is a month away, the NFL Combine now is two weeks away. Draft prep has already begun around the NFL but it’s free agency where teams begin to take on a new look.
The Dolphins’ Jeff Ireland still has decisions to make with his own free agents and as of yet have not made any offers to the impending players. Most believe Jake Long is gone and the word is that Reggie Bush will likely be gone as well unless the team can sign him for what they view his value to be.
At the moment there really is nothing more than rumors. Randy Starks and the Dolphins haven’t had much to say, Brian Hartline wan’ts 5-7 million a year, Sean Smith want’s to be paid like he is in the top of the cornerback market, and Jake Long expects to be paid over 10 mill a year as an elite LT. The problem is simply that none of them are worth that kind of money or play close to that compensation. Even Brian Hartline.
Hartline is the consensus must sign free agent for the Dolphins but Hartline is not a number 1 WR and the Dolphins will go looking for that player via trade, free agency, or draft. That will cost money and paying large amounts to two WR’s doesn’t seem to fit the Dolphins method of operation. Something here will have to give.
In the next few weeks the Dolphins will dig deeper into the free agent decisions. During the Combine, Jeff Ireland and company will have time to talk with some of the agents who represent them. Decisions will be made both externally and internally. It will shape the direction that the team will move in come March 12th. In turn, that will shape what the team will do a month later in the draft.
For now it’s all speculation. And it’s a lot of fun. After tomorrow’s Super Bowl, it will get even more intriguing.