The Miami Dolphins have a contingent of executives in Mobile, Al for the annual Senior Bowl. The local media have a contingent of beat-writers following them around asking questions.
The biggest question is the simplest question. The Miami Dolphins want a lot of things but can they get any of them?
No worries if you haven’t been following along this week most of what has been reported can be summed up with simple, “wants”, “needs”, “hopes”, and you know the typical rhetoric that comes from team executives who can’t and won’t show their hands.
Both general manager Chris Grier and Mike Tannenbaum have been talking to the media and have made it clear that they are hoping to get things right this off-season.
Among the priorities for the Dolphins this off-season are the re-signing of their own free agents. While they have stopped short of calling anyone a “must-re-sign” they have made it clear that they would “like” to get several players back with the team.
Kenny Stills, Andre Branch, Jermon Bushrod, and even tight-end Dion Sims have been mentioned. The Dolphins cite both continuity and the message it sends to the other players, that performing well will be rewarded by the team. Miami has a long history of devaluing players ahead of free agency but most of those years came under Jeff Ireland who over-valued other teams free agents who more often than not failed to make an impact.
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The Dolphins recognize that all of their impending free agents have a right to test the open market but they are hoping to begin negotiations with each players agents soon. In fact, it’s been reported that the Dolphins would at the very least get a starting idea from the agents while at the Senior Bowl.
Grier and Tannenbaum have also said that they would like to address players that would be free agents in 2018. Most notably Jarvis Landry and Reshad Jones. Signing them a year early will benefit both the players and the team and neither player has stated that free agency is what they want to experience. Still, the Dolphins will need to move in good faith to lock them up with new deals. For Jones, it would be his third Dolphins contract.
Miami isn’t just “wanting” free agent signings. As reported today in the Sun-Sentinel, the Dolphins also want better production and continuity from their offensive line. In fact, the Dolphins used the word “durability”.
The offensive line remarks were made in response to questions regarding the future and production of Jay Ajayi. The Dolphins said they want to have an offensive line that can stay on the field together. That is a big challenge of a group that has Mike Pouncey who has dealt with hip injuries and Branden Albert who has dealt with back issues.
Getting younger would surely help.
It’s obvious that the Dolphins have a lot of work ahead of them as they try to build off a remarkable and unexpected 10-6 season. Grier and Tannenbaum are tasked with finding the right players that will fit the systems and schemes run by Adam Gase and his coaching staff. Getting the teams priorities under contract are also a priority.
It was reported earlier this week that Kenny Stills had become one of Gase’s favorite offensive players. If that is true, it will be interesting to see how much the Dolphins are willing to pay their biggest touchdown scoring receiver this off-season knowing that at the same time, it will be a bench mark to how much they have to pay slot receiver Jarvis Landry.
The off-season may indeed still be filled with a little drama after all…and it may be the good kind of drama if the Dolphins get what they want.