January 27, 2013; Honolulu, HI, USA; AFC long snapper John Denney of the Miami Dolphins (92), AFC guard Richie Incognito of the Miami Dolphins (68), AFC defensive tackle Randy Starks of the Miami Dolphins (94), and AFC defensive end Cameron Wake of the Miami Dolphins (91) jog onto the field during introductions before the 2013 Pro Bowl against the NFC at Aloha Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Dolphins are certainly lacking in a few areas on the roster as far as talent goes. Three specific areas where the team should upgrade this offseason via free agency is Wide Receiver, Defensive End, and Tight End.
The Miami Dolphins MUST upgrade the Wide Receiver position this offseason. Seriously. Absolutely no questions asked. Brian Hartline is a free agent (and should be re-signed), Davone Bess is best suited for the slot position, and the combination of Marlon Moore and Rishard Matthews is just unsatisfying.
Dec 24, 2011; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Mike Wallace (17) attempts to get away from St. Louis Rams safety James Butler (37) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory credit: Vincent Pugliese- USA TODAY Sports
My Choice: Mike Wallace.
Wallace is an absolute speed-demon, which is why he is a great match for the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins are certainly not going to scare you with any of the receivers currently on the roster. Add in Wallace. BAM! Miami would be adding a new dimension to their offense with Wallace’s speed and ability to turn a short reception into a long gain. In Major League Baseball, the Oakland Athletics are all about on base percentage. If you have the ability to get yourself on base, Billy Beane is going to take a hard look at you. It’s time for Jeff Ireland to pay attention to yard after the catch, or YAC. Wallace is certainly the best YAC option in the free agent pool for the Miami Dolphins. The Miami Dolphins desperately NEED a home-run threat at the wide receiver position, and I strongly believe Mike Wallace is that guy.
Their Choice: Greg Jennings.
Jennings has been linked to a Miami uniform as soon as Joe Philbin signed his contract with Miami. Why shouldn’t he be? He’s a cheaper option than a Mike Wallace or Dwayne Bowe. He is familiar with the system that Philbin runs. He thinks Philbin is an excellent coach and is on good terms with Philbin himself. Oh. And Miami needs a number one receiver. Jennings certainly is an interesting name for Miami fans to throw around. A blue collar worker who can be a great mentor for the younger receivers Miami has on it’s roster – currently and if the team drafts anyone which I think we can all agree will happen. My only dislike about Jennings is that he has been hampered with injuries the past few seasons and he will be 30 years old next season. But hey, age never stopped Rice or Moss, did it?
With defensive tackle Randy Starks’ future with the team uncertain (pending unrestricted free agent), the Miami Dolphins must look towards upgrading the defensive line. Hell, the team should upgrade the defensive line no matter if Starks returns or not. Defensive Tackle Jared Odrick was playing out of position last season at defensive end. The team generated generally no pass rush outside of Cameron Wake as a result. Upgrading the defensive end position should be a priority this offseason for the Miami Dolphins.
Oct 7, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) is sacked by Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson (93) in the first quarter at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
My Choice: Michael Johnson
For years now, the Dolphins have needed a pass rushing presence not named Cameron Wake. Yes, Wake is amazing and has put together numerous All-Pro seasons. But, let’s imagine what a season would be like for Wake if he had a disruptive force on the opposite side of the defensive line. Yikes. Makes you want Jason Taylor to suit back up, huh? Michael Johnson is a physical specimen. Johnson is a lean 6 foot 7 inches, 270 pounds (who ran a 1.57 ten yard split which is pretty amazing for a defensive end). The 26 year-old beast posted his best season of his young career tallying 52 combined tackles 11.5 sacks and one interception last season with the Cincinnati Bengals. Johnson could be interested in Miami because of a familiar face. Miami’s Defensive Coordinator, Kevin Coyle, was the Cincinnati Bengal’s Secondary Coach for numerous seasons during Johnson’s tenure with Cincinnati. The thought of Johnson replacing Odrick on the outside of Miami’s defensive line simply gives me goosebumps. Ireland: PAY THE MAN.
Their Choice: Who knows.
Although the Dolphins technically need another pass rusher, it really is not a glaring need such as corner or wide receiver. That could all change if Miami decides to let free agent defensive tackle Randy Starks walk. Losing Starks would allow Jared Odrick to slide inside to his more natural defensive tackle position. But, it would also create a huge need for a defensive end (Olivier Vernon has been subject to rumors of a possible switch to linebacker). Other free agents such as Michael Bennett, Osi Umenyoria, Dwight Freeney and Cliff Avril could all get a look also if Miami chooses to pass on Johnson. If Starks does indeed walk, the Dolphins are also in a position to select a pass rusher with their first round selection in April’s NFL Draft. Honestly, its a bit of a crap shoot right now.
Finding an elite tight end has been an issue for the Miami Dolphins as of late. The team found Charles Clay during the 2011-2012 season, but was sadly disappointed with his play this past season. Jeff Ireland and company spent a third-round selection on a Missouri Tight End (notice I did not mention his name) who did not catch a single pass last season and barely contributed at all. The team needs an upgrade at the position. Okay, that was a little obvious. Becoming more athletic at the tight end position is a huge must for the Dolphins this offseason.
January 01, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Tennessee Titans tight end Jared Cook (89) makes a third quarter reception against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
My Choice: Jared Cook.
It seems like Miami just needs faster players on the offensive side of the ball. Tight End Anthony Fasano has been a great option in the passing game during his tenure in Miami. He just is not very fast, quick or well, fast. The Miami Dolphins need to give their young signal caller (Ryan Tannehill) a legitimate “seam-threat” at the tight end position. Enter Jared Cook. Cook is a 6 foot 5 inch, 248 pound tight end who runs a sub 4.5 forty yard dash – yeah, that’s pretty darn fast. Oh, and he is going to be 26 years old in April. Cook has not been utilized to his full potential during his tenure with the Tennessee Titans. The kid is a complete tight end – not just a seam-threat. The Miami Dolphins and Jared Cook are a match made in heaven. This match should be considered a lock at this point due to Miami’s glaring need for a young and athletic tight end.
Their Choice: Jared Cook.
Yes, I honestly believe that Jared Cook will be in a Miami Dolphins uniform next season. Although I could be wrong – maybe he wants more money elsewhere or he decides to stay in Tennes…yeah right – Cook is Miami’s best option to upgrade the tight end position. Not to mention, Miami will be willing to pay for his unique skill set of size, speed and ability.