The Miami Dolphins have done a nice job finding a good head coach and have assembled a pretty good coaching staff. However, now the hard work is about to begin. The Dolphins have made it very clear that they intend on upgrading the quarterback position this offseason. So, for the next 3 days, we’re going to give you 3 potential QBs and the plans that might involve them. Peyton Manning is first up. We’ll then take a look at Matt Flynn and Robert Griffin III. As you can guess, depending on which quarterback the Dolphins chose to make a run at this offseason, it will alter the rest of their plan for the offseason. On Friday, after we’ve laid out all 3 plans, we’ll ask you to vote on which plan you like best.
So Peyton Manning is first up….and truthfully, he’s probably the longest shot of the 3 QBs we’re looking at. Today, we don’t even know if Peyton Manning will ever play football again. In fact, Peyton Manning doesn’t even know if he’ll play again. Gil Brandt who is a close friend of the Manning family has said recently that if he had to give an answer, he thinks we may have seen the last of Peyton Manning in the NFL. Even today, reports indicate that Peyton is probably done…Peyton said in an interview with ESPN that he has no plans on retiring. Go figure! Having said all of that, there is still a chance that Peyton is healthy come September and if he is, he’ll be playing football in a city other than Indianapolis. The early March deadline will come and the Colts will refuse to pay him the $28 mil bonus he’s due. He’ll then be a free agent and if he feels he’s healthy enough, he’ll look for a new team.
The tricky thing about this entire situation is that Peyton will probably not be able to prove that he’s healthy until later in the Spring (if at all). That means the teams that are interested will either have to try to sign him on the hope he’ll be healthy….or they’ll have to go about their business of finding a QB before that time. So teams like the Seahawks, Redskins, Dolphins, Browns will need to ensure that they have other QB options. Since this is hypothetical, let’s say that Peyton is showing signs of improvement (throwing with arm strength improving) after being released by the Colts….and let’s say he and the Dolphins come to an agreement on a deal before the draft.
The Dolphins would have Peyton Manning as their starter with Matt Moore as their backup. They’d also have Pat Devlin on the roster as the 3rd string QB. Now, if the Dolphins sign Manning, they’ll be looking to win sooner rather than later, thus altering their draft strategy. I believe the Dolphins would look to use their first round pick on an elite tackle, say Riley Reiff of Iowa. This would mean that the Dolphins would have Jake Long at LT, Pouncey at C, and Reiff at RT. Add in John Jerry/Richie Incognito and the Dolphins have a very solid offensive line. If a QB is available when the Dolphins come up for their 2nd pick, say a Ryan Tannehill or Brandon Weeden, I’d choose them as the QB of the future. YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY QBs! Even at Weeden’s age, imagine was 2-3 years playing behind Peyton Manning could do for him?
With the rest of the draft, I’d look to add offensive weapons, perhaps a seam threat tight end in the 3rd round..and so on. If Manning were to join the Dolphins early enough in the offseason, I think it would be wise to look at Reggie Wayne, who’s set to become a free agent this offseason. Pairing Wayne and Brandon Marshall would give Manning 2 very good wide receivers. Add in the dynamic of Reggie Bush out of the backfield and Davone Bess in the slot and you have a great offense.
The defense is transitioning to more of a 4-3, but will still have elements of the 3-4. Paul Soliai is likely a goner…so is Kendall Langford, depending on what the market will bear for him. The key will be to find a pass rusher either later in the draft or in free agency. There are some big names (Robert Mathis, Mario Williams, etc.), but with Manning’s contract, they are out of the question. Maybe the Dolphins could set their sights on a Cliff Avril or a lesser DE that fits the 4-3 scheme. To make all of this work, there will be some cap casualties, no doubt. The Dolphins will have to be wise with their cap. They might have to make some tough cuts or restructure some deals.
It’s exciting when you think about the possibilities the Manning plan could be. However, as we mentioned, this is the longest shot of them all. But, look at how far the Colts fell without Peyton. What could he do with the Dolphins if the right moves were made around him? What if you placed him in the exciting offense Joe Philbin plans to bring to Miami? What if you finally paired him with a strong defense? It may be a long shot, but it’s something that’s possible….