The Dolphins will be coming to a crossroads this offseason. The front office will be posed with the question, “Do we blow this thing up and fire everyone, or do we go into free agency and the draft looking to build around Tannehill?” There are Dolphin fans who believe the former is the way to go, and there are fans who believe Tannehill is the answer and just needs to be healthy to lead this team to the playoffs. Here are 5 moves the Dolphins should make this offseason to in order to develop as a franchise and gear up to challenge the Patriots:
- RE-SIGN JARVIS LANDRY – What gave the importance of re-signing Jarvis Landry away? The No.1, the bolded letters, or the fact that this item will be the only sentence written in all capital letters. Re-signing Juice is the most important task for the Dolphins this offseason. I mean this isn’t a debate amongst fans who love Juice, and certainly, should not be a debate internally. This is an obvious task and without completing this one, the Dolphins lose the face of their franchise and any slim chance they have at winning the division, and eventually, a Super Bowl.
- Keep Ryan Tannehill and draft a developmental QB – Around the NFL, despite only being hurt once and being the most hit quarterback in the NFL until his injury, Ryan Tannehill has developed a reputation of ‘being made of glass.’ This is baffling to Dol-fans as they have endured it all, but a torn ACL is a wild card injury. All signs so far have pointed to Tannehill being ahead of progress and indicating he will be ready for Training Camp 2018. Even though these signs have been very encouraging for Adam Gase and his staff, the Dolphins must draft some insurance because this season has shown, if Tannehill goes down again, Matt Moore is not the answer. Enter a Mason Rudolph, a strong armed QB out of Oklahoma State, or Riley Ferguson, a perfectly built QB out of Memphis, who out dueled Josh Rosen and the UCLA Bruins in mid September. Either way, it is not likely Adam Gase and Chris Grier (Assuming Mike Tannebaum is fired, I’m begging you Steve Ross) will choose a QB with an early to mid first round pick. Look for a smaller QB prospect to be in a Dolphins uniform next offseason.
- FIRE MIKE TANNEBAUM – Ok, I might have lied about not using the capital letter format again but firing Tannebaum is so important that it deserves to be in the same class as re-signing Jarvis Landry. Mike Tannebaum “baumed” the Jets into the Stone Age towards the end of his tenure in New York. He left the Jets with many expensive veteran contracts that were absurd and just plainly put, idiotic. Tannebaum gave Ndamukong Suh a $114 million deal, not that he has been bad, he has been great, but 99.9% of players in the NFL are not worth $114 million. Only top tier players such as Antonio Brown, Aaron Donald, and a healthy J.J. Watt can realistically play to the money. Tannebaum gave Tannehill $96 million, which wouldn’t be too far out of the woods, given that around $20 million a year is the new QB market. However, Ryan Tannehill has only played 12 games under that contract out of a possible 33 games, including last year’s Wild Card round game at Pittsburgh. Tannebaum was a part of the old, failing regime in Miami and blew up the Jets before they could stop it. The Dolphins cannot let Tannebaum hinder their future as well.
- Cut Several Veterans including Mike Pouncey – Mike Pouncey has been a fan favorite since the day he was drafted in 2011. The two-time Pro Bowler was signed to a 5-year, $52 million extension in 2015, another Tannebaum contract, and the deal has not been in favor of the Dolphins. After Pouncey’s hip surgery, he has not looked the same, he has been slower, hurt more often, and resorts to holding and grabbing when even getting slightly beat. By cutting Pouncey, the Dolphins will create $7 million in cap space to extend Jarvis Landry. Other moves the Dolphins can make is letting Jermon Bushrod walk and the obvious of letting Jay Cutler and his $10 million contract leave along with the departure of Matt Moore. According to overthecap.com, if the Dolphins make the moves listed above, they will go to $22 million in cap space. If they choose to cut Tannehill, $37 million will be the figure for the Dolphins free agency market. Other moves could obviously clear cap space but these are just big, urgent transactions the Dolphins must make.
- Be smart with free agency money and only use it for depth or bargains – It is a common occurrence for the Dolphins to be a team who overspends in free agency for mediocre players, a Mike Tannebaum specialty. The Dolphins must have a good draft where they get a complementary RB, assuming Damien Williams will not return, good O-line depth and starters (Quenton Nelson from Notre Dame would be a good option) or another linebacker such as Shaquem Griffin, who may fall on draft day because he only has 1 hand and many may question whether he can play in the NFL. Either way the Dolphins choose to pursue the draft and free agency, they must get bargain buys. If the Fins shy away from a RB in the draft, they can snag a Carlos Hyde for about $5-6 million or a veteran corner such as Vontae Davis for cheap, coming off of injury. They can look at creating low risk, high reward situations.
The Dolphins need to be smart, economical, eliminate a certain someone from the front office, and therefore, eliminate draft day philosophy conflict. It will be very interesting to see what the Dolphins do in the 2018 offseason. It is quite sad to be talking about the offseason and the draft in mid-December as a Dolphins fan again, but the hopes will be sky high going into next season.