Earlier today, we wrote a letter to the Miami Dolphins General Manager. That letter focused on the past and what has been a disappointing offseason for the Dolphins. We’ve since stopped and caught our breathe. It’s time to look forward. It’s time to assess what the Dolphins have already done this offseason and look to the future of what they can still do to improve the team in 2012.
What the Dolphins have done
1. Re-signed Paul Soliai – Bringing back big Paul was a good move. He signed a team-friendly deal because he wanted to come back to Miami. Soliai’s return solidifies the defensive line and gives the Dolphins one less need to fill this offseason. Soliai will continue to anchor the Dolphins D-line in the 3-4, but he will probably be used as a DT in the 4-3 sets on early downs.
2. Signing Richard Marshall – Marshall got a little more money than many expected a nickel corner to get. However, we’re unsure (so is Marshall) exactly where the Dolphins will play him. He can play free safety and cornerback. We mentioned previously that he could be a starting corner, if the Dolphins are actually shopping Sean Smith. He’s pulled down 17 ints in his 6 NFL seasons, so at least we know he can catch them when they come his way. No matter where he plays, this move improves the Dolphins secondary that ranked 25th in the NFL in 2011.
3. Signing Artis Hicks – Bringing Hicks in is an offensive line depth signing. He could potentially compete for the starting RG or RT spot, but he’s probably more of a utility guy (ala Nate Garner).
4. Re-signing Ryan Baker – Baker is another depth signing, this time for the defensive line. He plays sparingly, so the impact of this signing is minimal.
What the Dolphins should do
1. Avoid a Desperate Mistake – Forget about Alex Smith and his $8 mil/year contract. Forget David Gerrard. Forget the veteran QBs out there. While I like Alex Smith, I’m not sure his $8 mil/year cost fits his upgrade over Matt Moore. Yes, I believe Alex Smith is an upgrade over Matt Moore. But is it worth $8 mil per year? I don’t think so. Now that Peyton has decided to take his talents to Denver, it means the 49ers will probably make up with Alex Smith, so the Dolphins will probably avoid signing him anyway.
2. Sign A Pass Rusher (Kamerion Wimbley or Mark Anderson) – Saving money on a QB would allow the Dolphins to find a pass rusher in free agency. Mark Anderson visited the Dolphins on Friday and the team told him they wanted to sign him. Anderson had 10 sacks last year, Wimbley had 7. Either would fill the need for a pass rusher opposite Cameron Wake. Better use of dollars for one of them than on a QB that isn’t enough of an upgrade.
3. Trade/Draft a QB – Since the Dolphins missed out on Manning/Flynn, they should turn their attention towards the Draft to find a QB. I would look to trade back in the first round to the middle of the first round, hoping to pick up a 2nd round pick. The target? Brandon Weeden. Weeden is not a typical rookie QB, since he’ll be 29 in October. However, if it weren’t for his age, he would be at top 10, possibly a top 5 pick in the draft. He has a great arm and a quick release. Weeden could step in and compete immediately with Matt Moore for the Dolphins starting QB job.
4. Draft Weapons – The Dolphins would then have 2 second round picks and 2 third round picks to draft weapons for Weeden. Perhaps 2 wide receivers, a tight end, and a RT, all within the top 75 picks in the Draft. We’ve seen what Ireland and company can do with limited draft assets. So stockpiling picks reduces the risks of busts. Joe Philbin is said to have a prototypical WR and giving him multiple options at the position can only help.
This plan we’ve laid out for the Dolphins isn’t sexy or exciting. It won’t help Ross sell more season tickets. BUT, with these moves, the Dolphins could be set up for a good 2012 and if Weeden is as good as we think, an even better 2013 and beyond. Having said all that, I’d expect the Dolphins to sign Alex Smith by sometime later tonight!