Dolphins would be wise to steer clear in NFL free agencyBy Matt Verderame
For years, the Miami Dolphins were in the custom of handing out huge contracts in NFL free agency. It was largely a recipe for disaster.
In the past decade, Miami has consistently went out of its way to spend lavishly on players who would go bust on South Beach. Dannell Ellerbe and Mike Wallace say hello. So does Ndamukong Suh. Hell, Danny Amendola would also like a word.
In short, the Dolphins have been trying to build a team all the wrong ways for the greater part of the last 20 years. Now, with a new head coach in Brian Flores, Miami has the perfect opportunity to hit the proverbial reset button and begin the long, painful road back to respectability. You know, the way it has to be.
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Miami has enough cap space to make some moves in NFL free agency. The Dolphins released Amendola earlier in the week and could move on any second from quarterback Ryan Tannehill, which would trigger a cap savings of $13.188 million. Robert Quinn could also be cut for $12.9 million going back into the kitty. If Miami did both of those things, the cap room would skyrocket from $21.954 to approximately $48 million as a result, putting them in the top 10 of NFL teams in that department.
All that said, even if the Dolphins do decide to move on from Tannehill and/or Quinn, the money should be put away for another offseason. General manager Chris Grier has to play the long game here, and not worry about trying to sign a player who ownership can plaster on a billboard in Dade County.
In a division with the New England Patriots, the Dolphins have no chance of making real waves anyway. Last year, the team started out 3-0 and looked promising before completely cratering, finishing with a 7-9 mark. After the campaign, head coach Adam Tase was fired — and immediately hired by the rival New York Jets — with the idea of wholesale changes ruling the day. If the Dolphins start spending aggressively, that mindset has been ruined.
Ultimately, this offseason should be about reevaluating the roster and allowing for the draft to remake the team. Miami has real reason to built up some young talent on rookie deals, allowing the cap space to swell and expectations to temper. Should Grier draft the right players over the next year or two, the Dolphins would suddenly have a terrific core in a division that likely doesn’t include Tom Brady.
At that point, selling the notion of playing on South Beach isn’t tough.