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Breaking down Miami's options at WR

The Dolphins have a problem, which is no secret to anyone who was paying attention in 2008 and, thankfully, is no secret to them. The Dolphins need more offensive firepower.

And they need it most at the wide receiver spot.

The question is how do the Dolphins address the problem? Well, the next three months or so will offer Big Tuna Bill Parcells and Tuna Helper Jeff Ireland the opportunity to address this, and their other personnel issues.

As it pertains to receivers the Dolphins are considering a three-pronged possibility for adding talent. They can draft a receiver, they can sign a free agent receiver, or they can trade for a receiver. I'm giving you their options in the order the team would most prefer to solve the issue -- through the draft is always the preference with this group.

So let's break down the possibilities and what is available:

The draft -- There will be 31 wide receivers at the NFL scouting combine, which begins Wednesday. The Dolphins would love the best-case scenario to play out and find a star among this group or among the list of draft-eligible receivers that will not be at the combine. That's because these players are the youngest, the cheapest and, in most cases, the ones most easily molded to Miami's culture.

But this is also the hardest area in which to find that star because it's a crapshoot with unproven players and, unlike last season when Miami had high picks in practically every round, Parcells and Ireland don't have more ammunition than everybody else.

Despite that truth, the Dolphins should be able to land a solid receiver among their first three picks if they wish. Miami has nine overall picks but two-second round selections in addition to their first-rounder. By the end of the second round the Dolphins will have had the opportunity to select players they are already tracking, with some of these being North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks, Georgia's Mohamed Massaquoi, Cal Poly's Ramses Barden, Kenny Britt of Rutgers, and Ohio State's Brian Robiskie.

All have excellent size. Barden is something of a freak at 6-6 and 227 pounds. All will be trying to run well either at the combine or at their pro days to show they have speed or quickness to go along with their size. As you read in my previous blog post, draft guru Mel Kiper has the Dolphins taking Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey in the first round.

Mel admits he will likely change that in his next mock draft, which will come after the combine. He believes the Dolphins might also take outside linebacker Clay Matthews of USC. Maybe, but I don't see Miami going to OLB in the first round unless a great player falls. The Dolphins did invest in Derek Cameron Wake for that position.

But I digress.

Some darkhorse, later-round receivers the Dolphins are studying include Marko Mitchell of Nevada, Dominique Edison of Stephen F. Austin, and North Carolina's Brandon Tate, who is a likely a second-day project based on the fact he tore his ACL and MCL in October and didn't really flash bigtime as a WR until that injury-shortened senior season.

Free agency -- The Dolphins like restricted free agent Miles Austin of the Cowboys but if he is tagged with a second-round tender as has been reported, that Miami interest is likely to wane.

New Orleans receiver Lance Moore, another restricted free agent, is a possibility as the Saints must tag him higher than his draft round because he went undrafted out of Toledo. Moore caught 79 passes for 928 yards with 10 touchdowns last season so, again, depending on his tender, he could be an option.

The group of unrestricted free agents, unlike the restricted players, isn't very good. T.J. Houshmandzadeh ... (gotta rest the fingers a second after typing that name) ... is probably the best of the group but, geez, the guy is soon to be 32 years old and he's a possession guy. He's also going to be expensive. So he doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Amani Toomer, 34, should be available but he'd be a great fit if this was 1999 rather than 2009.

Parcells has kept his eye on Tampa Bay's Antonio Bryant despite a previous fallout between the two men, but I don't see the Bucs letting Bryant walk. There are also legitimate questions whether the sometimes troubled Byrant has matured enough to produce after signing a big contract.

Pittsburgh's Nate Washington is not a No. 1 guy today but could develop into something special. San Francisco's Bryant Johnson is an underachiever and not a playmaker. One other guy to keep in mind is Devery Henderson of New Orleans. He has good speed and his agent is Jimmy Sexton, who is also the agent for Parcells and coach Tony Sparano

So the pickings are slim here.

Trade -- The players available include or may eventually include Anquan Boldin, Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens, and Plaxico Burress.

Let us not mince words here: There is no chance the Dolphins acquire Johnson, Owens or Burress. The Second Coming happening Wednesday is more likely than Miami spending picks and new contract money for Johnson, Burress or Owens.

Boldin? That's a different story.

Boldin is out there and the Dolphins know it as they received the same letter agent Drew Rosenhaus sent the 31 other teams about Boldin being available. And although the Cardinals are publicly saying they will not trade Boldin, I dismiss that because that is what they must say now to drive up the price on him. That decision is not final and the proof is no one in the Arizona organization has definitively said Boldin will not be traded. They may eventually arrive at that stance, but not yet, not even close.

So it remains a possibility. I asked a Miami team source recently if there was a possibility the Dolphins might try to land Boldin through trade if he becomes officially available. His reaction surprised me. He didn't say, "No." He didn't say, "That's ridiculous."

He said, "Anquan Boldin is a very good player under contract with another team and I'm not at liberty to discuss him because that would be tampering." At which point I reminded the person I'm not publishing his name, and he said, "That's all I'm saying on that."

The point is my question was not dismissed. It was dodged. And knowing this source, he dismisses questions that have no roots in facts or serious possibility. And he dodges or double-speaks on some legitimate ones he doesn't want to address.

Am I saying the Dolphins will be the team Boldin ends up playing for in 2009? No. But am I saying you should definitely excuse them from an interested group of suitors that might include Philadelphia, the Giants, Bears, and Raiders? Absolutely not.

So those are the scenarios. The Dolphins have a receiver problem. They know it. They are going to try to solve it. How do you think they should do it? How do you think they will do it?

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lets go ginn

That quote sure sounds like something Jeff Ireland or even the Tuna himself would say...

Take Houshma because ll it would cost is money. Ginn should be a deep threat and Bess the slot man. Draft a WR in the 5th or 6th round as well. Problem solved.

Yo Mando, you are being quoted in Dallas...
http://cowboysblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2009/02/miles-austin-to-miami.html

Trade for Boldin, hes still young and a great WR! Trade QB John Beck a second and forth rounder. They (Cards) have problems @ QB if Warner retires, Beck may help them. And hell if need be give them Ricky as a bonus!!! They could use a RB. Come on Dolphins just make this happen...LOL

I'd like to see the Fins get Boldin but I can't see Tuna giving up a high draft pick even though he's in his prime (not past it). I think they'll draft.

Brandon Tate in later rounds... sounds intriguing. Defense, whether DT, LB, or DB would be my picks in the first day. Day 2 is a whole other story that only the Trio have read.

I'd like to trade for Larry Fitzgerald. We have an extra receiver, Ernest Wilford, that we could send back to Arizona along with a draft pick (second or third round) or another player, perhaps a big guy like Paul Solai to help Arizona's defense.

any one... please you people saying ted(hands of stone) ginn and his clip board holding daddy will be great please look at the facts #1 he drops balls when defenders are desending on him, #2 looks for the side lines instead of the 1st down marker #3 will pertend to trip when there's a catchable ball when a defender is coming in.... another words the man has no testecular fortitude, testecular fortitude e.g devon bess and graig cammarello.. please end the ginn saga before the year starts....

The compensation for Boldin will be at least what it was for Roy Williams (1st and 3rd) and I can't see Fins parting with that many pics, then having to shell out a huge contract.

If we were one or two players away, then I could see it. But I don't think the trifecta believes this team is that close, nor should they believe it.

I would prefer to see what veterans might get cut. Someone like Torry Holt or maybe even Laverneus Coles would come much cheaper and would be a great mentor for our young receivers.

bungle..... do you think that the cards are going to let fizgerald go???? give me some of that stuff your smoking..

Get Hakeem Nicks and Brandon Tate. Nicks is the #1 we need. Stong hands, route running, quickness and makes plenty yards after catch. He is an Anquan Boldin clone.... Unproven but a clone nonetheless... I'm hoping he runs a 4.7 like Boldin so he lasts to Miami's pick in the second round... It would be hard for Parcells to burn that 1st on him... Tate may last to the later rounds so taking him in 6th or 7th rounds would be a really good pick. He has tons of talent and speed... He wouldn't have to come in and contribute right away...

Who care's who they get, but please get rid of hands of stone and his clip board holding daddy.... please..

Man, you are developing some obsessive qualities about the WR position. The Dolphins have a much greater need for pass rushers shich actually does impact the game a lot more than a WR would. How about giving a forum for the bigger needs?

After all the Dolphins would have had a 1,000 yard receiver if Camarillo didn't get hurt, Bess had an almost historic season for a WR taken where he was and Ginn made impressive strides in season 2 and may become an elite player. Yet, the Dolphins have absolutely no hope yet for improving their pass rushing ability behind Joey Porter other than an untested CFL standout.

Remember what the team that wins the Super Bowl does better than any other team year after year, that's rush the passer and protect the passer. Not the team that catches the ball the best of them all. If that was the case, the Patriots would have gone undefeated, the Cardinals would be on the verge of a dynasty and all the run and shoot teams of the 1980s would have rings on every finger. Yet, Warren Moon, Haywood Jeffries, Eric Metcalf, and Jeff George don't have any.

One thing is certain. They cannot spend their cap on one big player because that will not get the team where the trifecta wants to go. That leaves Boldin out. Just as Ireland said, rookies are cheap and sign long term contracts. They are looking to the draft to build the team, and free agency to build depth, with possibly one or two good players that won't break the bank. They won't pull a Wanstadt (?) and break the bank on one player. They are building the way it's supposed to be done: with an eye on the future.

Mark: My regards to Toronto, one of North America's great cities. I will get to Miami's needs at CB, LB and OL in the coming days and weeks.

Meanwhile: WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR RW WR WR WR WR WR WR!

Bungle:

Larry Fitzgerald (the best player to ever wear a Cardinals uniform) for Ernest Wilford and Paul Solia?

HAHA.. you are on crack..

Quit calling Ireland Tuna Helper already. It was funny and clever the first 100 times I read or heard it. I hate it when people call me Obama Helper.

Joe Biden

Hahahaa, good one Mando!

Yeh, Boldin would be nice. But, he's going to be too expensive. Besides, I like what the draft has to offer. Also who knows what other receivers may get released b/w now and the start of free agency.

Brandon Tate in round 4 is the answer. He was the best WR at UNC before he got hurt and not H. Nix. Draft defense in round 1 with OSU LB Lirinitis or whatever his name is. If he's gone we need the best available MLB to take Crowder's place.

Hakeem Nicks is going to be a really good player. If he lasts till our top 2nd-rounder, it's a great value. I'd bypass those other listed draft options.

i think boldin would be the best fit.. he is the anti-ginn, someone who looks for contact instead of trying to avoid it.while ginn showed some signs of promise, he doesn't fit well with a weak armed pennington.boldin is a master at in routes and quick slants, and with him drawing attention from creeping safeties/linebackers it would create lots of room for ginn to shine.however, to get him it mite cost alot, and i dont think tuna's up for that.look for a boldin type clone like nicks from UNC(great hands,ready to play) or kenny britt(big target,good speed) from rutgers in the second round

The Dolphins clearly need a great WR who can slot straight into the team as our NO1. As far as Free Agency is concerned,Hpushmanzadah is the only special guy here. All the others are just ok and are not that much of an upgrade.I have concerns about him due to his age so i say dont go for him. Considering Miami are still in the process of rebuilding,trading a 1st AND a 3rd (Which is what Arizona would expect),is definately not the best option.However,i feel the best way forward is through the draft. Heyward-Bey or Nicks look good and i'd have no problem Miami selecting either one in the 1st round.

Bungle get your azz out of the keyboard and stop typing turd scenarios of wannabe trades that have no value for the other team.

Toronto Mark, I agree, we need a pass rusher and OLINE help to RUN the ball. This needs to be a running team.

Dear Mr Biden: No one calls you Obama Helper. Oaf? Yes. Obama helper? Not so much.

T Ferguson: Since I pretty much invented the Tuna Helper line and it still makes me smile to write, I do. My apologies for having a stupid sense of humor.

Also, i'd like to trade t. culver. courtney bryan , r. wright and a 7th rond pick for ed reed . Thoughts ?

While I agree we have a way to go on the WR position, I think that Mark in Toronto is right. You build on the line, while developing your current crop of WR's. We have the guys to do it.
Ginn is going to have to step up. The problem is Penne can't throw the ball to a flat out speed guy unless he leads him by 35 yards so Ginn is going to have to catch in the middle and focus on his YAC.
Bess will be our go to guy for a couple of years. He is very good, has no fear and runs great routes everywhere on the field.
Now if that big 6 foot 6 reciever is still there at our 50th pick then we should take him. Size in a receiver really throws off the smaller db and is impossibl to deal with. It also suits Penne real well on the dump off passes.

bungle, apparently your doing some other mind altering drugs besides the mighty weed.. please take a nap a blog back later..

The only wide out that should even be mentioned in the first round besides Crabtree is Purcey Harmon FL... His skills would be well utilized as a slot in the wild cat as well as running the slot from a variety of different formations.

However, as pressing an issue as this may be making bold moves would suggest a lack in faith in the young group of recievers presently in camp. Ginn, Bess, Camarilo, and London all exhibited some of the characteristics the staff is looking for in that position. All of those recievers including David Martin, I believe can improve; making this area of the roster less concerning than others. I don't expect any huge moves.

However in regards to LBs, Guards, Tackles (Defense & Offense), Safties, and Corners...

I don't feel the same way

Upgrades are imperative in those fields not in the Wide-Outs.

Mando, stop hoping for a flair of excitement this off-season and start thinking like the TriFecta. There are no issues here...

I wander how much it would cost to trade up for Crabtree.

kindry, ted(hands of stone) cant step up, its just not going to happen, no balls,no testicular fortitude.. that's just the way he is, he dropped 8 passes when a defender was closing in on him, his best friend is the side line marker, he'll fall down in the middle of a route if a defender is 10 yards near him, that's why ed reed intercepted pennys pass and returned it for a t.d in the play off game, if you don't believe it check out the video..

Mando's right, fish need a wide out to help camerrello and bess

Breaking news mondo's source has now been confirmed as Cecil Collins the transcripts were leaked from the FL DOC Mondo is accused of offerings bribes of honey buns and chips in exchance for that FALSE STUPID LIE he called a story above..Listen relax with the stories that u try and drop to hype people up

Vic107m , who the hell is PURCEY HARMON , lol

How old is Duper and Clayton?

Boldin yapping in Todd Haley's face during a Cardinal playoff WIN is enough for me to say PASS. He looks like a T.O. wannabe to me.

Boldin is no spring chicken and has racked up injuries in prior years. If they take him for Ginn straight-up [yeah right] or with a 2nd day pick, sure. Otherwise, too much to pay!

How about something completely different and refreshing, like ERNEST WILFORD showing up ready to play??? Maybe the emberassment of the lost season has set in [I'm rich, bioootch!] so he may show up in shape -- mentally and physically.

I'd like to see the dolphins take Heyward-Bey in the second round (redskins pick) if he lasts that long. He's far superior to Nicks(UNC). He's bigger, stronger and about twice as fast. I think it's moot, because after he runs at the combine, Heyward-Bey will cement himself as a 1st round pick. He very well may run the fastest time at the combine. I don't think the dolphins will take him in the 1st round because they dont have anyone to get him the ball(strong arm). However, I would love to see the mismatches you could create with Heyward-Bey and Ginn outside and Bess in the slot, with Henne at QB (future).

GO GET BOLDIN!!! I like Hakeem Nicks if they dont trade and plan to draft a WR. Ramses Barden looked very unathletic and too lanky to make cuts in the Seniors Challenge. PLEASE stay away from Devery Henderson!

Thats my 5 cents...

it would be nice to get Boldin for Ginn straight across!!! but I'm afraid Boldin's price will be too high for Parcells!!!

Your 1 cent, how about trading wilford, london and a 7th round pick for BOLDIN. Thoughts ?

I say we sign Antonio bryant because he is a beast. If not draft someone. I think we signed Greg Camarllio to soon. I dont think he's better then Ginn or Bess.

The "Tuna Helper" line is, officially, TIRED. We get the joke...

bungle, "JUST SAY NO" i think the slogan was..

Lets send Ginn and a 2nd or 3rd rounder for Boldin and close it, Camarillo is a great 2nd receiver and Bess can be the best 3rd receiver in the league, imagine those 3 together

I disagree Andy, I think Camarillo is a solid player. Better than Ginn? I Camarillo's stats last season prove that he's better or, at the very least, on the same level at WR as Ginn. Better than Bess? Bess is a good player, but still way too early to say he's better than Greg. I hope he gets better, and I think that in a few years, I wouldn't be surprised if all three guys are number 1 guys.

I think the draft is probably the best way to go. Owens, TJ, and those other you mentioned, Armando, are just too old to invest in. Austin could be good if the price is right (though he's not a number 1). Go younger and hope you find a Pro Bowler.

Can't see us trading for Boldin - too expensive in draft picks, then money for a new contract and you're then getting a gut whose been pretty injury prone (only played 16 games once in the last 5 years)

Also would be surprised if we spend a high draft pick at WR. Not only is it against Tuna's usual practice, but also if there is one position the Dolphins do not need to become younger its WR. Young upcoming guys already abound on the Dolphins roster, its proven productivity that is missing.

So if the Dolphins do try to majorly upgrade the WR position I think free agency looks the best route. I'm not too sold on TJ. He's not a really big playmaker (av 10.0 yards a catch over the last 2 seasons) and is older than you'd like. Plus evryone seems a bit TJ obsessed so I think the cost could be far in excess of the likely return. FRom that list of free agents you published a while back I think the names that really stood out were Antonio Bryant and Nate Washington. Bryant is coming off a huge season, has averaged 1000 yards a season for the last 3 years playing with teams not known for their passing games, averages over 15 yards a catch and is big for a WR. Two major caveats though. Fistly Tampa Bay has tons of cap room so you have to expect him to be re-signed (and if he isn't what would that say about him). Secondly there is of course his behaviour, including of course throwing his jersey, or something similar, at Parcells while at Dallas. So he'd be costly and risky, but the rewards at least could be big.

Nate Washington though may be the most interesting free agent. He's the number 3 reciever in Pittsburgh and so its unlikely they will pay him too highly so almost certain to be available. Despite limited opportunities he put up good numbers (40 catches, 631 yards - nearly 16 yards a catch) - not too far behind Santonio Holmes (55, 821) who started ahead of him. He's young (25) has good height (6-1) and should be a lot cheaper than TJ or Bryant. One decided drawback though is that despite his height he is only listed as 185 pounds, presumably well below the Trifecta's desireable size parameters.

CUBAN , you should be the last one telling somebody to "just say no". You sit there talking to yourself as MONKEY. Take your own advise.PLEASE !!!!

If we can get Boldin for a reasonable price I say make the trade (1st and 3rd or our 2 2nd's and a 5th). If the price is too steep UFA's Antonio Bryant or Nate Washington provide the most upside. Then draft the best available WR with one of our 2nd rounders. Either Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Britt, Derrick Williams, Brian Robiskie, Juquin Iglesias, Louis Murphy, or Ramses Barden will fall to us in round 2.

Boldin and Henderson sound like the best options. We have a surplus of short agile receivers and are missing 6ft+ guy who can get down field. Mando, what's up with London? He reminds me of Domenik Hixon (NYG), a young project guy who can eventually become a legit threat.

Trade Ten Ginn and a 3rd rounder for Boldin. Camarillo and Bess can fill in nicely and we can still draft a receiver to mold in the later rounds. Ginn will never be a #1 so why pay him all that money.

bungle,bungle,bungle, just admit that your m@@c and enjoy the sun sentinel gay section..

GET RID OF TED(NO NUTS)GINN AND HIS CLIP BOARD HOLDING DADDY>>>> PLEASE TUNA I BEG YOU..

O.k kids, the menace is on line to take your questions who's on line 1??

Pat I agree Camarillo is a great short passing WR, but Bess can fill his role in a heart beat and the only Reason he is better then Ginn now is because C. Penn inability to throw the deep ball. What I'm saying is "if we pair Ginn and Bess with a number 1 WR like Bryant then we will be all good on offense". Notice this will only work if we have a QB with Arm Strength. Also, I had the opportunity to ask Bryant and a few more nfl WR's for advice on C.Penn during the super bowl, and all of them said they will take a game managing smart accurate QB like him in a heart beat rather then a gun slinger let Brett Favre.

The problem with the draft is it takes (on average) THREE YEARS for a WR to blossom. The Fin Fans don't want to wait that long. That said, perhaps this coming season will be Ginn's year...

I thought this was funny so i posted it and its a TRUE STORY. "Also, I had the opportunity to ask Bryant and a few more nfl WR's for advice on C.Penn during the super bowl, and all of them said they will take a game managing smart accurate QB like him in a heart beat rather then a gun slinger let Brett Favre."

You can give hands of stone 30 years in the n.f.l and he would still be a horrendous wide out..

Draft - draft - draft.

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