Dolphins’ trying to build team through a model that doesn’t seem to work

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 11: Head coach Adam Gase looking on during the game against the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium on December 11, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 11: Head coach Adam Gase looking on during the game against the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium on December 11, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images) /

The Miami Dolphins made a big trade for Robert Quinn over the weekend and will likely be dealing Jarvis Landry sometime between now and the start of free agency. Are they trying to play Patriot style football?

It’s hard to say what exactly the Dolphins are doing. Their moves are a bit curious and the trade for Quinn was a good trade but one that seems to be more of a “win-now” move than a build for the future. With the draft still a month plus out it’s hard to get a gauge on what Miami might be thinking.

The model that Miami seems to be using however looks similar to the one that the Patriots have used for the last decade. The difference is the Dolphins are not hitting on what they are trying to do.

In New England it is common to see the Patriots get rid of good talent and go with aging veterans on one or two year deals. New England has a habit or a tendency if you will to get rid of players a year before their shelf life starts to expire. Miami tends to wait until that shelf life has expired and then get nothing in return.

You don’t have to look any closer than Jarvis Landry. Landry’s contract was an issue last off-season and even then Miami wanted to move on from the talented wide-receiver. According to reports all season long. Even at the trade deadline they had a 3rd round offer in hand. Albeit to the Bills. If the Dolphins were going to move on from Landry they could have tried to move on from him in the off-season but the Dolphins thought they could win last year and so they held on to him. Now they can’t seem to move him and the leverage has been shifting between the player and the team.

The trade for Quinn is a move that the Patriots would have made but they typically don’t bring in players with high cap numbers. The Dolphins are bringing in a very solid talent but one who has a $10 million and $11 million cap hit the next two seasons.

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It’s a small sample size I know but Miami isn’t in a win-now situation. There are too many holes on both sides of the ball and now they may need to part ways with more players to manage the cap. All NFL teams can play the numbers to fit players under a salary cap so the Dolphins will only need to get marginally creative with their cap to make it work. This is something the Patriots do quite well.

Over the past several seasons the Dolphins have made moves that don’t really add up. Overspending on Jordan Cameron and Julius Thomas. Overpaying Andre Branch and then drafting a defensive end to play on the same side in a rotation. Charles Harris didn’t live up to his billing in his freshman season but there is a lot of potential there.

Coaching is a big problem for Miami as well. It’s unclear what Adam Gase is trying to build with the Dolphins. It seems very haphazard in some ways. Little direction. Is this because the players on the team are not all “Gase-type” players or is it because Gase can’t find a direction that is much easier as a coordinator?

This is a critical season for the Dolphins and Adam Gase although I do not think Gase is on the hot-seat until 2019 and even then I suspect we would see a change with Mike Tannenbaum or Chris Grier before Gase is let go by Stephen Ross.

Miami needs to build for the future and that means a lot of tough decisions are on the way. Players like Mike Pouncey and Ja’Wuan James could be gone but they will need replaced. By releasing players the Dolphins are creating bigger holes that need to be filled. Quinn seems to be a luxury player at the moment at a position that Miami is actually pretty good at. So does that mean someone on that unit is going or is Quinn the replacement for William Hayes who is set to be a free agent?

Whatever model the Dolphins are using it doesn’t seem to be working. Tannenbaum has history of buying big name veterans and overpaying for them when they are on the downslope of their career. Is Quinn another in that line?

The Patriots buy veteran free agents cheap. They can because these veterans know they have a shot at a potential Super Bowl and even a ring. They play for far less than they likely would elsewhere. Miami is not a winning franchise in that regard so they pay a higher price for similar talent. Miami tends to go big instead of going reasonable. That too is part of the bigger problem.

Quinn is a very solid trade don’t get me wrong but we need to see what the plan is before we know how this will work out in the end. It just seems that Miami will have to create another hole to make him fit and as we know, that doesn’t work.