By: Shawn Williams
The start of the new league year has officially arrived in the NFL. The legal tampering period has ended, and players are able to officially join their new teams. Among those players are Dolphins new additions LB Benardrick McKinney, OT Isaiah Wilson, FB/TE Cethan Carter, CB Justin Coleman, RB Malcolm Brown, DL Adam Butler, WR Robert Foster and P Michael Palardy. Miami’s recent additions will bring more depth to a budding roster, and some should make decent, if not, significant contributions (McKinney is likely to start). Unfortunately, none of these additions will help Miami on offense, Miami’s biggest area of weakness.
On top of Miami needing a starting running back and a nice new receiver or three, they now must fill a void left by C Ted Karras (signed with New England). Defensively, they must compensate for cutting LB Kyle Van Noy, and no Vince Biegel isn’t the answer (he may be part of it).
None of this should be cause for alarm. After being aggressive in free agency in years past, without much luck, and with having five picks in the first three rounds of the NFL draft, some may say Miami is just playing it smart. I can get on board with that, especially with needing to sign players like Jerome Baker, and Mike Gesicki to new deals soon. However, this is a cap depressed year, and solid players are signing for less than market value, on short term contracts.
I love the idea of building this franchise smartly. “We need to build for the long-term” people are saying, and I concur, but if I recall Miami finished 10-6 on the year, with a win-and-your-in playoff scenario in front of them. You certainly don’t want to take a step back, or let the quick moving New England Patriots, or rebuilding New York Jets catch up. You have to make the smart moves to take the next step to playoff “participant” and Super Bowl contender.
Miami will hopefully find 3, 4 or 5 very nice pieces in this year’s rookie draft. Two or three may even make a real impact next season, but when good players are signing short term, undervalued contracts that can contribute to your winning team now, why isn’t Miami taking the bait, or joining the party. There is no law saying rookies need to play today despite that being exactly Miami’s philosophy under Brian Flores. Let them sit, and develop, and learn from capable NFL veterans.
It’s been reported that Miami fully expects to bring WR’s Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson, who opted out of last season, to training camp. Great, solid. One has an injury history and is kind of more of the same with what Miami already has in DeVante Parker and Preston Williams. The other has barely played in the past three seasons. I’m not a coach, just a faithful fan, but I’m not seeing how they help Miami jump from the embarrassing offense that displayed drop after drop, or lack of separation, to an elite unit that can compete with the likes of the Buffalo Bills or Kansas City Chiefs.
I will say, I do trust the process, however I’m at a bit of a loss for understanding it. I honestly can’t tell if it’s hubris, or if Miami has a big plan buried deep inside Brian Flores’ puffy vest, but my faith won’t wain, and I’ll hope for the best.