Let’s face it, running errands sucks.
Having to drive all over town to multiple places just to get what you need is one of life’s mundane and unavoidable tasks. Even if you are looking forward to getting your hands on whatever it is you’re looking for, the journey still sucks. Oh, and looking out for stupid pedestrians and fellow idiot drivers who happen to be doing exactly what you are doing, doesn’t help the process.
Restocking and reloading a football team like the Miami Dolphins, isn’t much different.
The triumvirate of Mike Tannenbaum, Chris Grier and Adam Gase have spent the better part of the last 15 months, running the necessary errands to do exactly what I stated above: restock and reload the Miami Dolphins. From restoring faith in their starting Quarterback, extending their arms to catch a talented and plummeting left tackle in last year’s draft, to establishing a new culture and expectation inside the locker room and out, and then finally, to grabbing the “last bag of groceries” during this offseason to (hopefully) fully replenish the cupboards of talent that has been empty, or housed old, stale and rotten ingredients from yesteryear. The remarkable turnaround of The Dolphins in 2016 left everyone fat and happy, yet hungry for more.
So off to the store they went, grocery list in hand of everything they would need for this upcoming season along with a fat wallet and a fistful of coupons and discounts they were hoping to apply to their purchases. They quickly started scratching off items from their honey-do list.
Kenny Stills? Check.
Kiko Alonso? Check.
Andre Branch, Lawrence Timmons, Jermon Bushrod, and Nate Allen?
Hell, they even went down to the local swap meet and traded players with their fellow teams in getting Julius Thomas and William Hayes for Brandon Albert, late round draft picks and an “old coffee machine and stapler”.
But despite the trades, extensions and free agent signings, The Dolphins still have a ton of room on their shelves begging to be filled and replenished.
And they will need to head to the right stores and buy the right items if they want to go back to the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since Dave Wannstedt, and his mustache, were wandering around on the sidelines.
So what does Miami still need? And where should they go to get it? Let’s take a look at the grocery list and see if we can’t figure out where to go to cross these items off of it, shall we?
|Things To Get||Where To Get|
|Outside Linebacker||NFL Draft|
Despite signing Lawrence Timmons, extending Kiko Alonso and re-structuring Koa Misi, the Dolphins still lack any real depth at the linebacker position. Besides, both Kiko and Koa Misi are prone to get injured while on the field, while Timmons is prone to leave it all on the field, which means that Gase, Grier and Tannanbaum would be wise to find a young, healthy backup plan, in the day one or day two of the NFL Draft.
Once Zach Brown elected to sign with Washington, the pickings became slim for Miami and the free agency market. While Brown may not have been a perfect fit in Matt Burke’s defense, he did have talent, youth and versatility that any team would crave. But with that option off the table, Chris Grier and Mike Tannenbaum should shift their focus towards turning this former weakness into a strength, in late April.
|Things to Get||Where To Get|
|Defensive Tackle||Free Agency|
Mike Tannenbaum has certainly been a coupon clipper this offseason, especially when it comes to adding talent from outside of the organization. The majority of the deals have been short in length, and low on pay. It is a wildly different philosophy from “T-Bomb” then we have seen in the past, but a refreshing change, nonetheless.
It is know secret that Miami is looking to add a third piece to their defensive tackle rotation. Ndamukong Suh is the anchor of the entire front seven, with Jordan Phillips reigning inconsistent havoc right next to him., there is an absolute need up front. The Dolphins know this, hence why they brought in Dontari Poe for a visit earlier this offseason. And while Mr. Poe balked at our short term, small money proposal, to sign with Atlanta, it still leaves Miami looking to fill the void, quite literally.
Trading for a DT right now, simply won’t happen as most teams are now focused on the draft. Speaking of which, with Miami needing to bolster their coffers with young talent at other positions, spending a draft pick on a defensive tackle seems unlikely, given that The Dolphins need consistency more than youth, for that rotational spot on the line.
Which brings us back to free agency and Mr. Johnathan Hankins. Hankins is not only the best defensive tackle available in free agency, he may be the best player available still. And given the immediate need The Dolphins have, combined with the free agency market starting to dwindle down, we could very well see Johnathan Hankins down in South Beach before too long.
|Things to Get||Where To Get|
|Offensive Guard||NFL Draft|
While Miami has an actual physical depth issue on their defensive line, they have an actual talent issue across the offensive side. Laremy Tunsil will be sliding over to the Left Tackle spot for his sophomore campaign, leaving a void at Left Guard, where he excelled last year. And while Miami signed veteran Ted Larsen, as well as bringing back journeyman Jermon Bushrod, neither really leaves me feeling tremendous about Ryan Tannehill’s interior pocket protection. Especially when you factor in Mike Pouncey’s old man hips.
Elite guards were available for Miami to pursue on the open market, but Adam Gase, Chris Grier and Mike Tannenbaum set themselves a budget and stuck to it, electing to not break the bank for another sweaty fat guy. Which means that we, as fans, are looking at possibly spending a mid-round draft pick on an offensive linemen. I know that is enough to make someone cringe, but Dallas Tomas, Billy Turner and Jamil Douglas aren’t eligible for this year’s draft, so we needn’t worry too much…I hope.
|Things to Get||Where To Get|
And finally, the much maligned secondary for the Miami Dolphins. Back is standout safety, Reshad Jones to captain his merry band of misfits. Gone is Isa Abdul-Quddus, who is not expected to play again after a late season injury last year. It is doubly sad because Quddus was the second best player in the secondary and the drop off to third best was, and is, severe.
Nate Allen joins Miami on a one year “prove it” contract, having fully recovered from a knee injury himself, and will be paired with Reshad Jones to roam the middle of the field. And on the boundary, Byron Maxwell (AKA Sleeves) returns as the veteran presence for young, inconsistent corners, Tony Lippett and Xavien Howard. Bobby McCain and Michael Thomas also return, but the less we see them on the field, the better, in my opinion.
And while conventional wisdom screams for The Dolphins to draft talent here (and they still might), what is really lacking beyond Reshad Jones is a talented, veteran presence that can help alleviate pressure from the younger corners.
Someone who can instill confidence in their play by showing it himself…
Someone who is recently been confirmed to be on the trade block by his own GM…
Someone like Richard Sherman!
Yes, he is loud…and obnoxious…and not as good as he used to be…or as good as he has claimed to be…
But he is Richard Sherman! The guy you love to hate and grow to love (when he is on your team). Who WOULDN’T want him on your team, influencing the younger guys, showing them how he goes about business and…
…okay, maybe not. That might be the one grocery item that spoils early and ruins the rest of the food items around it.
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