It’s a bitter pill, but “tanking for Tua” is the right choice for the Miami Dolphins
By Shawn Digity
The season is over and the Miami Dolphins ended at 7-9. You already know that. The franchise is in the midst of some serious changes, like Adam Gase’s being fired. You already know that too.
The Miami Dolphins have been plagued by mediocrity for around15 years and they haven’t been even close to scratching and clawing out of the cellar of the AFC. You already knew that too.
So is there anything I can tell you that you don’t already know? It’s not a well-kept secret that the Miami Dolphins are mired by poor quarterback situations, less-than-desirable drafting and free-agency management and numerous coaching and front office turnover.
Solutions have been proposed for every Dolphins’ problem under the sun. Maybe it’s the brash, offensive guru from Chicago or the coordinator that worked with Aaron Rodgers. The Dolphins organization has been enchanted by anything that sparkles and, now, here we are in the ruins of another failed regime.
With that being the case, it’s crystal clear, to me at least, what the next course of action should be. It’s time for a full-blown rebuild. Not a jury-rigged quick fix. Not a jerry-built offensive line or a defensive trench held together by duct tape and bubble gum. It’s time for a new book entirely, no more flipping pages to new chapters.
I’m mentally and emotionally all in on a total franchise rebranding. This is not what most fans would do or would want to hear, but I’m starting a fire sale. Every player under contract is available for trade. Now there will be hefty prices for top-tier players like Laremy Tunsil and Xavien Howard and for good reason. They can be the core of their respective units for years to come.
This rebuild, at its nascency, will be similar to the Browns of 2016 and 2017. It’s a harsh scenario envisioning your favorite team going 0-16 or 1-15, but when you get a season like 2018 (for the Browns) with John Dorsey in the booth and franchise guy Baker Mayfield lighting the way, it’s hard to argue with that sustainable of a foundation.
Using the word “tanking” leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and I’m sure it does for every other Miami Dolphins fan, but I’m over the idea of a checkers win and stymieing meaningful chess moves in the process. Tanking isn’t pretty and, in this case, I’m using it to over-simplify the rebuilding process. “Trusting the process” might be a softer term to make this concept more palatable.
With that being said, I’m not OK with just “forfeiting” games or actively trying to lose them. But what I am doing is amassing numerous picks with trades, allowing Chris Grier to keep selecting his guys and giving the rookies the lion’s share of playing time. Let the young guys get more experience than they otherwise would and come whatever may.
Chirs Grier is going to be the man with the plan as he gets his pick for head coach. I’m on board with Grier leading the way during free agency and draft night. I’m very much intrigued by who Grier chooses as the next Dolphins head coach. As it stands, Kris Richard is seemingly the not name right now, but who knows how that’ll be different by tomorrow.
The #TankforTua movement has spent the past week making its rounds and building up steam on Twitter. Even after the Championship game last night, I’m still banging the table for Tua Tagovailoa, first and foremost. Justin Herbert and Jake Fromm are also great names that have the ability to be in that next wave of franchise QBs.
Trevor Lawrence is a bit of out of scope for the Dolphins right now; he isn’t eligible until 2021. But it will be interesting to watch the teams scramble to trade up for him in the 2021 Draft. Anyway, I got a little off track there…
We can call it tanking for the sake of simplicity, but there are ways to get one of the top 3 quarterbacks from the 2020 Draft without losing a bunch of games. Let’s just circle back around to the amassing picks idea real quick; getting ammo could allow for a trade-up if the Dolphins are out of reach of one of those quarterbacks after the 2019 season.
To me, the tanking label is less important than the action plan. I’d be fine with trading higher-rated players and getting draft picks as long as there is a certain QB that Chris Grier wants or there’s a vision for the future. Just shipping players away all willy-nilly would just be the same problem in a different form.
There are going to be a lot of new faces on this Miami Dolphins team in 2019, once it’s all said and done. Players will get traded and cut, and other players will not be re-signed. The 2019 season could get ugly, but I have high hopes that Stephen Ross, with another expensive lesson under his belt, and Chris Grier can lead the Dolphins and all its fans back to the promised land.