The Miami Dolphins have a number of positions that they will look to address once Free Agency (finally) starts this offseason. One hole that the Dolphins will look to fill is at outside linebacker. They’d like to find a player that can rush the quarterback, particularly on obvious passing downs. The Dolphins have Pro Bowler Cameron Wake on one side, but need a legit pass rushing attacker on the other side. We’re big fans of Koa Misi, but pass rushing is not one of his strengths. He’s very good against the run because he has a motor that doesn’t stop. But on obvious passing downs, the Dolphins would like to have someone that can pressure the QB, opposite Cameron Wake.
Two names jump to mind to fill the pass rushing role at OLB. First, Manny Lawson of the San Francisco 49ers will likely be a free agent. He’s young and has played under Dolphins defensive coordinator, Mike Nolan, before. The big question with him will be how much money he commands. The Dolphins will likely use a majority of their cap room (whatever it is) to sign a QB (or 2) and a starting caliber running back. That means that Lawson might be out of their price range….Then again, plans A and B might fall through and Lawson might just come along at the right price. He would be our top choice due to his age and potential.
Earlier this offseason, Brandon Marshall of the Miami Dolphins was vocal and very active on Twitter. However, following the stabbing incident with his wife in April, Marshall has taken a huge step out of the media spotlight. We’ve heard from Mike Sims-Walker that Marshall is doing well, which is positive news. We wish Brandon the best in both his professional and personal lives.
Yesterday, the Sun Sentinel had a story about Marshall’s offseason routine. No, he isn’t working out with Chad Henne, Jake Long, and the other Dolphins in Florida. He’s working out with his own trainer from FitSpeed. Marshall is working on improving his speed, something that helped him prior to the NFL draft. The Sentinel is reporting that Marshall’s trainer has confirmed that Brandon is now running in the 4.4′s. He’s clearly dedicated to becoming a better player, which will only help the Dolphins. He’s best known on the field for his ability to run after the catch and if he can improve his speed, he can be that much better. This is not to say that Marshall was slow last year, but adding even more speed to his game will add more explosiveness to the Dolphins passing attack. That is, of course, if the QB can get him the ball!
As fans of the Miami Dolphins we are left to wait impatiently for the Owners/Players to agree to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Judging from the positive news we continue to hear about the negotiations, we may not have to wait that much longer. While there is no deal in place, we are beginning to hear some details of what might be included in the new CBA…Some of the leaked details could actually help the Miami Dolphins, as the move forward and sculpt their 2011 roster. We’ll get to that a little later in this post.
First, we want to give you a brief rundown of what the CBA might look like. For a full breakdown, please check out Andrew Brandt’s latest column here. Here are some of the leaked details that are being discussed, as part of the new CBA:
- Players will receive roughly 48% over all revenue generated by the NFL
- Unrestricted Free Agency will be granted to players having amassed 4 years of NFL experience
- Following the 2014 season, the NFL will look to add a full Thursday night game schedule, further increasing revenues
So why do we think the Dolphins could benefit from the new CBA rules that we’ve learned? The key is the second highlight mentioned above. Some of the players we’ve discussed the Dolphins targeting this offseason would be unrestricted free agents under this new CBA. Players such as Ahmad Bradshaw and DeAngelo Williams, to name a few. At a time, there was talk of the NFL requiring 5 or 6 years of service before becoming unrestricted free agency. If that happened, neither player would be available without giving their current team draft pick compensation (restricted free agents).
A lot has been made this offseason about the Miami Dolphins’ search for a quarterback to bring in and compete with Chad Henne. Fans, as well as the Dolphins’ brass, realize that the longer the Lockout continues, the more difficult it will be for a veteran QB to come in and unseat Chad Henne. For those of you that are avid readers of PhinNation.com, you know that we think a solid veteran QB must be brought in to compete with Henne in Dolphins training camp. We’ve endorsed the aquisition of either Kyle Orton or Vince Young as the top two targets. We also like the idea of Carson Palmer coming to Miami, but we know the probability of him being traded is low.
Tony Sparano seems to be changing his tune a bit regarding his quarterback for 2011. Until recently, Sparano gave more vague answers when asked about Chad Henne. However, as reported here, coach Sparano admitted that there is a ‘good chance’ that Henne will be the Dolphins starter when the 2011 season begins. Sparano has praised Henne this offseason for learning the Dolphins new offense from Brian Daboll and teaching it to his teammates during the Lockout. Henne, along with Jake Long, have been leading the Dolphins player only practices for the last 3 months. Therefore, Henne will have a 3-4 month head start on whomever the Dolphins decide to bring in and compete with him.
Three years ago the Miami Dolphins held the number 1 overall pick in the draft. Instead of choosing a quarterback (Matt Ryan), they chose to select Jake Long at #1 overall, and gamble on Chad Henne in the 2nd round. Ryan has blossomed as a quarterback with the Falcons, while Henne has not yet lived up to the franchise QB that the Dolphins had hoped he’d be. Earlier this offseason, Bill Parcels, the grand facilitator of the draft, admitted a mistake in not taking Ryan. No use crying over spilled milk, what’s done is done.
Photo by Chris J. Nelson
Henne’s legacy with the Dolphins will likely depend on his performance in 2011, both in training camp and in the regular season. It’s the number 1 player taken in that draft that sometimes goes unnoticed….and it’s hard to overlook someone as gigantic as Jake Long! All Jake has done in his 3 seasons with the Dolphins is go to the Pro Bowl 3 straight years. With the Lockout in full effect, every website out there is making up lists about the best players in the NFL. In almost every list we’ve seen, Jake Long is ranked #1 or #2 at the Left Tackle position.
Dolfans, within the next 3-4 weeks we could FINALLY be talking again about Miami Dolphins football. We can stop with the endless lists of top 10 players, plays, helmets, mascots, laundry detergent, etc. We can finally get back to talking about the Miami Dolphins and the 2011 football season. For the 3rd straight week, key members of the NFL and NFLPA are meeting, trying to find middle ground in the CBA battle. We don’t want to get you too excited, but there are certainly signs of hope.
First, the fact that they’re meeting is a big positive. Remember in April when they wouldn’t even sit down to negotiate? Second, it’s been reported that DeMaurice Smith and Roger Goodell shared a “jovial”, one on one dinner last week….Not earth-shattering, but encouraging. The two sides are motivated to get a deal done for 2 primary reasons. First, if the Lockout continues and the preseason is missed, the NFL could be missing out on about $1 billion. Second, there are 2 court rulings that could tip the leverage scale greatly in either sides direction….Both sides know this and might want to make a deal rather than risk losing whatever leverage they have.
For the last 3 months, Chad Henne has been leading Miami Dolphins player-only practices. Henne is said to be installing the new Dolphins offense brought to the team by Brian Daboll. If you remember, Daboll and Henne had some not-so-secret meetings, back in January/February before the Lockout was imposed by the NFL Owners. The meetings lead to fines by the NFL, but no further sanctions. If a minor financial hand slapping was all that it took for the Dolphins to gain an advantage they wouldn’t have otherwise had, it was well worth it. The Dolphins core group of offensive players have been practicing 3 days a week for the last 3 months. During this time, Henne has been teaching his teammates the intricacies of Daboll’s offense.
It’s great to see Henne taking a leadership role, as the Sun Sentinel talks about here. Henne isn’t leading the practices alone, as Jake Long is helping to lead the Dolphins player-only workouts. But it is encouraging to see Henne taking the type of leadership role that he has been criticized for since becoming the Dolphins starter. We can only hope that his leadership in the players-only practices can carry over onto gameday. Henne’s leadership this offseason is going a bit unnoticed. However, it is vital that he brings his leadership to the Dolphins, once the Lockout is over.
This morning Plaxico Burress was released from prison and immediately fans of the Miami Dolphins began to wonder if he would be a good fit with the Dolphins. Adding to the fuel was Adam Schefter (and others) mentioning that Miami would be a potential landing spot for the previously imprisoned wide receiver.
Burress was released from prison earlier today after serving his 20 month sentence for shooting himself in the leg, in public. Well, technically the prison sentence was for having the gun in the club in the first place….not really for shooting himself. He hasn’t caught a pass since midway through the 2008 season. Additionally, he’s said to have lost weight while in prison, so he’s nowhere near game shape. However, Burress can thank the NFL Lockout for making his transition back into football, a little bit easier. You see, no teams have been able to address their needs this offseason, other than through the draft. So there will be buyers in the Plaxico isle. It also helps Plax that the Lockout is still ongoing, giving him time to re-set his life and begin training for the NFL 2011 season.
A lot has been made this offseason about the Miami Dolphins search for a quarterback to come in and compete with Chad Henne. We’ve heard rumors that Carson Palmer would be the top choice….We’ve told you that our top choice would be to go after Kyle Orton. Some even think that Matt Moore would be a good option (not us!). However, a report that surfaced this morning indicated that the Dolphins are indeed planning on pursuing Vince Young, once the Lockout is over.
In our QB series a couple of months ago, we explained why Vince Young would be the best choice for the Dolphins this offseason. Young has had his issues off the field, but his production when he has played has been very good. Young is 30-17 as an NFL starter and last year, in 10 games amassed a QB rating of 98.6. If you’re wondering if that would be an upgrade over Chad Henne of the Dolphins, wonder no more. Young’s QB rating is 23 points higher than Henne’s (75.4).
We’ll take a break from the fast breaking (not really) Miami Dolphins news to give you an update on the NFL Lockout. We’re going to keep this simple, because the we’ve had enough legal jargon for one offseason. We’re football fans. We want to talk about offseason trades, free agent signings, zone blitz schemes, and cheerleaders. If you the legal jargon version of today’s proceedings, you can check here.
Earlier today, the former NFLPA’s lawyers took on the NFL’s lawyers in the 8th Circuit Court. Lawyers from both sides made 30 minute arguments to the 3 judge panel, hoping to persuade the judges to give them the leverage needed to negotiate the deal that they want. Essentially, the NFL is saying that the earlier decision by a lower court to lift the injunction is invalid…They say that the lower court ruled on a labor matter, which they aren’t supposed to do….Thus, the Lockout can continue for up to 1 year; which would make us cry like a 4 year old who doesn’t get the toy he/she wants from the toy store.
The NFLPA’s lawyers argued that the lower court’s ruling is valid because their case against the NFL is valid. The NFLPA decertified (meaning they are no longer a union) and has filed anti-trust lawsuits against the NFL. Whoa, got a little too much into the legal mumbo jumbo for a second….sorry! The NFLPA is basically arguing that the lower court’s ruling should stand, ending the lockout.