« Done with the old, on to the new | Main | How did Gibril Wilson feel on Super Sunday? »

Look to the draft for the biggest talent boon

I talked to two NFL general managers on Monday -- no, not Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland who flees at the mere smell of a tape recorder.

In e-mail exchanges with these two GMs, I came to believe that if a team is going to load up on talent in the 2010 offseason, it's going to happen primarily through the draft. These guys were truly excited about the college talent coming out, have already put in long hours of tape study on college players, and are eagerly looking forward to the Indianapolis Combine later this month.

And, no, they weren't bailing on the idea that free agency will have a few good players in the offing and even some intriguing surprises. But when 140 to 200 players in their mid to late 20s have basically been eliminated from unrestricted free agency lists because of the rules of an uncapped season, you can understand it diminishes the excitement about free agency.

Still, there will be a free agency this offseason, it just won't look like anything we've grown accustomed to in previous years.

Free agency will come in tiers. There will be street free agents hitting the market even before traditional free agency begins March 5. These street free agents are obviously discards, but maybe one or two will help teams in 2010.

One such street free agent hit the market Monday when the Cleveland Browns cut wide receiver Donte' Stallworth ahead of the lifting of his league-imposed suspension. If you remember, Stallworth struck and killed a pedestrian with his Bentley in Miami Beach on March 14, 2009. He pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter.

That got him suspended by Commissioner Roger Goodell (not to mention it sent him to jail for 24 days, sent him to house arrest and activated other punishment). Well, after a season out of the game, Stallworth is available.

And already I've gotten a dozen e-mails from readers asking if the receiver-starved Dolphins will be interested. I cannot tell you for sure. But I seriously doubt it.

Stallworth is not the answer for a team like Miami that usually avoids such mixtures of mediocre talent and high off-field risks. Plus Stallworth, at age 29 and two years removed from a football game, probably isn't No. 1 receiver material these days.

So I wouldn't bank on him being in a Dolphins uniform despite the fact the guy lives in South Florida and his agent is Drew Rosenhaus of South Florida. But, as I said, that's a guess.

This is not a guess: Throughout free agency, you'll see players come available that typically would not in a capped year. Teams are expected to view the uncapped year as a sort of jubilee, where all their financial mistakes of the past can be erased because no salary cap means no cap hit for getting rid of under-performing players or toxic contracts.

Those players will hit the market. And maybe a handful of them become significant contributors to their new teams. The trick is identifying those few players and pairing them in the right system to bring out the best results.

Another part of free agency is players that have six years or beyond and are out of contract. These players have not been re-signed by their teams for whatever reasons and will be legitimate unrestricted free agents.

But wait, the top players in this category also might not hit free agency. Teams, you see, can slap a franchise tag or one of two transition tags on the best of these players. That could effectively take about 30 players off the market. 

So most of the unrestricted guys on the market will not be game-changers, assuming their original teams do their homework. Some will be aging players. Jason Taylor might be one of those. Some will be younger but not necessarily game-changers. Ben Watson of the New England Patriots might be one of those.

That market, I'm told, will be lean.

And then there is the restricted free agency market. It should not surprise if teams make a play for a handful of these guys. Desperate times call for desperate measures and that is desperation as restricted players rarely get signed away from their teams.

It would not be a cheap venture for any team that tries because draft pick compensation could be due for signing these players.

Why is that such a steep price to pay for proven talent, you ask? Well, because even the most proven free agents can become free agent busts. Because teams will be doubling down on the move -- giving up draft compensation and paying bigtime contracts for the players.

And because in giving up draft picks, teams will not be maximizing their chances in the draft. Yes, the same draft the two GMs told me was full of very good talent.

Follow me on twitter.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b26169e20128777bc515970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Look to the draft for the biggest talent boon:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Resign JT

I've been preaching from here to kingdom come that the draft will be the way to fix this team and fix this defense. This FA will be NOTHING compared to the FA's of the past. The cupboard will be dry except for a few players. Most will be past their prime , wrong side of 30 overpaid players. This is the very reason you won't see miami waste draft picks on rb's ( spiller) or wr's ( bryant ) early in the draft. Miami will go heavy on defense.

what up peeps!!!

But of course you'll still get your buffoons coming on here saying that miami should get dumervil , wilfork , marshall , austin , etc.

Someone is gonna pay some serious money for Dansby.
He's the only FA who can cover Tightends.
I hope he ends up in South Florida.

NJ,

I agree that this should be a defense-heavy draft for the Dolphins. They couldnt stop anybody last year. The offense had to score a million points against Tennesse, Houston, and Pittsburgh just to keep up with those average (non-playoff) teams b/c the defense couldnt slow anybody down. If the Dolphins use their first 4 picks on a NT, a safety, and 2 LBs, you wont hear a complaint out of me.

By the way, really stupid move of Joey Porter to act like an idiot this last month. He wont be starting for any team (even the Lions or Bucs) next year, and he certainly wont get the money he was due here in Miami. He is at the heart (along with G. Wilson and A. Ayodele) of why this defense gave up 24 points to an abysmal Buffalo team who had guys off the street starting on the offensive line.

It's incredible how delusional some of these older players are. Joey Porter can still give you 7 sacks a year, but he is just awful against the run or in coverage. I cant wait to see him make less money next year and not get a starting job anywhere.

I didn't realize that there would be no penalty for releasing players. I guess it makes sense if there's no cap, you can't take a cap hit.....never thought about it though. I can't believe the Dolphins would even consider keeping Gibril Wilson.

Fake GM:

I think there's a difference between
"No Trade Value"
vs
"Rapidly Declining / almost washed up"

South Florida hates Joey Porter but he still might be able to start on one of the 'bottom third' teams.

From THEIR perspective his 'Teammate Index' isn't nearly as scary as, say, Terrel Owens and
He actually had a much better year than, for instance, Shawne Merriman.

There's always going to be 2 or 3 bad teams that might take one more chance based on his past performance.

WTF is with the 3 point stance rule that might be put into effect?!that's the stupidest rule ive heard of!!!that's taking stuff they learned in pop Warner and what their fundimentals are based upon and saying um sorry u can't do that anymore even though that's what uve used since highschool or even before that.what's next are they going to ban hitting to hard or hitting all together!!ridiculous

i wouldn't be against the Phins taking 3 LBer's in the first 4 rds.,and it could happen if Channing keeps running his mouth, everyone knows Joey and Akin are gone cuz ones old and washed up and the other is slow and can't tackle for $#!+.

Rich,

Your logic is excellent. But I factually disagree with you on one point:

I think Joey Porter really is THAT bad. He is a major liability against the run and in coverage. Notice how he had 0 tackles in the game at New England? That is laughable for a starting NFL linebacker. Also, (and Armando once pointed this out) he doesnt take care of his body like Jason Taylor or Zack Thomas. So the decline with him will be very fast. I expect him to be even worse next year than he was this year.

Looking again at Miami going into this draft, we are fortunate that most of our needs are very clear cut. We could be staring at a O-line that is 5 big Question marks, instead I think we really only need to address depth there. We could be facing a QB issue, Amazing how that all turned around so fast. I honestly believe Henne is going to step up his play DRAMATICALLY next year. Only off base remark I have about that issue is this. Sparano and Parcells are very big on the whole.. "Make um Compete for the job" trip. I am not 100% against this, but, I feel that you have to establish your starters early as possible. Henne needs to be taking 90% of the snaps in camp if he is the man they are going to allow to run this team. Not getting 60% of the snaps and still switching in and out between the first and second string. Henne and his receivers and line need to develop even more continuity then they did this past season. That takes snaps and reps with the guys you are going to be on the field with. I feel the same about some of the interior line guys, flopping them in and out of the 1st and 2nd string line-ups is counter productive IMO. They should know everything the guy next to them is thinking on every play. Once again... continuity. Our Defense will get an influx of headbangers no doubt. But, Miami HAS to get some skill talent. Taking 10 or 12 plays to score every time you do will just not get it done. Teams are going field in 5 or 6 plays in today's NFL. Running and ball control is a plus... but only behind a fast striking offensive capability. Without some skill talent... Miami will founder again this season coming. They may be tougher Defensively... but still need to score and do it quickly.

Fake GM:

Chances are you're right.

...but I think his attitude and 'State of mind' might play a part in his success or failure (wherever he ends up) next year.

In the past few months we've learned that Porter's not only a Loud-mouth...but shockingly, (according..from what Crowder said to him on the radio) the guy (apparently) mopes and disengages mentally when things don't go his way. As pathetic as it sounds, some of the 'bad' we've seen may have been due to that.

If he finds himself in (what he considers) a favorable situation, he may appear marginally rejuvenated next year. ...and if he gets in a Scheme where he mostly pass-rushes (and doesn't have edge responsibility,) then who knows?

I say none of this based on film study -- so chances are your eval. is closer to the truth.

it will be interesting to see next year.


Cheers.

Porter WAS already as good as gone before his interviews. He knew it. Figured he minus well get some free press during superbowl week.

Let's focus on our needs and not an "ass clown" who had little chance of making the team next year anyway.


Ps. stupidity for stupidities sake:

(1)- wasn't Suprano's arguement that Cameron Wake was not on the field more was because he needed work on the run and pass coverage? Aren't those Porter's weaknesses and Wake is a BETTR edge rusher than Porter? This team lacks any sort of logic.

(2) I do not think anyone has ever given a reasonable answer as to why Roth was released. He had 5 sacks in around as many games for his new team, Cleveland. I believe he was a second round pick of ours. By keeping him on the roster, we may have got a compensatory pick next year if he was signed after this season by another team, which makes the release even more stupid?

(3) Why do we keep sighning Detroit's rejects to the practice squad? Weren't they 2-14 last year?

Ireland seems like a shmuck.. He avoids everything and has a personailty of a wall

jeff ireland may not be GM material. he seems very insecure in that he doesn't talk to anyone,media or otherwise. he may be on a very short leash with a gag order in place! he doesn't admit to making mis-steps and seems to be very sensitive to criticisms. other GM's seem more personable and enjoy a requested interview. they are capable of a laugh and a joke while telling some interesting stories. jeff is an introvert who give the loyal fans "nothing" to get excited about. he probably locks his office door.

Stallworth is an intelligent guy with good hands and speed (he was a great track guy). What he was involved in was an unfortunate incident which could have just as well happened to many others in the league who frequent South Beach and have the bad luck of someone darting out into the path of their car on the way home.

He may not be the #1 receiver answer for the Dolphins but he'd probably give them more bang for the buck than say, Braylon Edwards does to the Jets. And let's face it, when you line up the Dolphin receiver options against those of other teams, our number 1 and 2 would be hard pressed to be a 3 or 4 on the depth charts of most other teams. Especially the playoff teams.

I understand about the reluctance of singing players with off the field issues but the reality is, this is the NFL and star players are going occasionally get in trouble or run their mouth a lot like T.O. and Ochocinco. A WR set of Greg Camarillos and Ted Ginns may be great for community involvement activities and team picnics but they arent going to make the Pro Bowl anytime soon.

For them not to even consider Stallworth as an upgrade for their 2 or 3 WR after two years of neglecting to seriously address the glaring weakness at that position is an ominous sign of another 20+ rank passing offense to come and a bevy of "they're getting better, they really are" soundbites.

Who cares about Jeff Ireland talking or not?? Parcells barely talks either, that's the way his organizations have always been... Armando has a hard time with it because it makes his job harder, but as a fan all I care about is what happens down on the field..

why hasn't porter been cut yet what are they waiting for.

Getting drunk, driving and killing someone is not an " unfortunate incident" it's claaified as "DUI Manslaughter" and Stallworth can go elsewhere, not Miami

When r u going to update this app to 2010 dolphins!!!!

Testify bobbyd12, testify!!

You can tell it's the off-season.....

Miami have young people being trained how to do things from an old school dog. (both players and management)

They will be well trained even after Parcells walks away.

This is just year 3 of our rebuilding process.

has our new dc said anything yet?

I remember the first time I ran someone over with my Bentley.

This one is simple.

Only need two free agent signings:
- Vince Wilfork - NT
- Anquan Boldin - #1WR

Neither one of those are too "crazy" to think it can be done.

Through the draft:
1st rnd - FS (Superstar Ed Reed type - Berry, Thomas?)
2nd rnd - LB
3rd rnd - LB
4th rnd - RB
6th rnd(1) - TE
6th rnd(2) - LB
6th rnd(3) - OL
7th rnd - .....

Resign:
- Ronnie Brown (reasonable)
- Devone Bess (deserves a good contract)
- Jason Taylor (reasonable)
- Anthony Fasano (reasonable)
- Chad Pennington (2year backup deal)

Thanks for being a leader and taking us to the Playoffs in 2008 Joey but its time for us to go our seperate ways.
Wilson and Torber take a pay cut or get cut. I don't see Ferguson returning

Not too hard to do right? If we do that we can have a damn good team next year!

Carlito, wow did the paint get scraped??? No major dents I hope??

I guess if parcells philosophy is build through the draft this is his year to do it. Young, lesser but developing talent of the past few yrs mixed with some better faster developing talent of this yr.

Amen NJ!!! @ your first post, that's the only way to go.

Bobbyd12,

I must confess I do not own a Bentley, and I have never run over someone while driving drunk and I'm sure if I did, I would spend more than 24 days in jail.

Dansby will be an unrestricted free agent as Arizona will not likely franchise him a third time. I say the Phins should make a huge push for him and then concentrate on filling the rest of their needs through the draft.

I do have to make another comment about the football since Henne was compared to Manning in regards to the Big Ten getting compared to the SEC or the other big conferences out there. I cannot remember who, but they mentioned Henne never beat Ohio State in college and I followed that up by mentioned Manning never beat Florida. Does it really amtter Henne never beat OSU? I do not think so. Then, the Big Ten was made fun of, because they were not that good (which I disagree)!

SO, I turn to the Super Bowl and look to see the MVP,Drew Brees, (who outplayed Manning) went to Purdue. Then the game changing play they sealed the fate for the Saints and the Colts was no other than Tracy Porter! Where did he go to school? OH yeah....Indiana University (THE BIG TEN)!!

In return, don't think for a second that the former Big Ten players can't be the best in the game. We have a good future ahead with Henne (even if he didn't beat OSU) people, end of story!!!

why whould anyone waste their time writing you emails about stallworth!!! are you serious!!

ill take 3 of our receivers over him

Jamillion - We need to stay away from Boldin. He gets hurt and is at a decline in his career! Go out there and read what Jaws says, because I believe he is correct in his statements!

With so few free agents coming available, doesn't that increase Porters value?
Stallworth has 32 touchdowns in 7 years, with 4 different teams. Has had hamstring issues on the field. Regardless of who signs him, he should not get any signing bonus or guaranteed money. Pay for performance only.

Tracy Porter, a.k.a "Legend Killer" - after picknig off Favre and Manning to pretty much end the game or help decied the outcome GREATLY!! Mark it down, he will become one of the best cover corners in the league!

I can't believe people are even spending time to talk about stalworth. Seriously?!?!? I hate Teddy Ginn but I would take him over stalworth in a heartbeat. Ginn might not be the best player even tho he got better at the end of the year. But one thing about ginn. He doesn't get in trouble off the field unlike stalworth. Stalworth is not the answer

Vince Wilfork will be franchised by the Patriots, meaning it will cost the 2010 #1 and 2011 #1 to sign him. Anquan Boldin is not a free agent. It will cost at least a 2nd round pick to trade for him. And besides, Boldin is not what we need at WR. Other than Ginn, we have already cornered the market on slow WR. Boldin is another slow WR, and one headed into the downside of his career. He has never been great at getting separation, and his only big plays come as a result of Larry Fitzgerald taking the defense's attention off him.

For all you people that think Stallworth is worth the trouble, think again. These are his numbers from 06' with the Eagles and 07' with the Patriots:

07'-16 games 46 rec
06'-12 games 38 rec

Result is:
These are mediocre numbers with two offensive powerhouse teams. Imagine what he COULDN'T do with Miami...

P.S.
I din't include the Browns in 08' because of their QB/OL issues. So I gave him a break on that.

Mark - THANK YOU!! Agree 100% about Boldin. If it was 2-3 years ago I would say do it, but he is only going to start to decline going forward...

Marc,
Larry Fitzgerald??? I think you got the wrong guy.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=4899375

Julius Peppers anyone?

Boldin would be nice for a 4th or 5th round pick(if we had a 5th), but I would NOT give up a 1st, 2nd or 3rd for him.. (well, maybe third if we somehow got an extra third by moving back in the first).

He can catch, he can take a hit and he can get some YAC, which none of our guys seem to get if you exclude the times where Ginn is already past everyone so the endzone is kind of like a special sideline..

AJ Hawk of the Packers and Gary Bracket could also be available in FA market according to some football rumors

To go further on my post, however, I think this draft definately should be about defense. Am not one that wants to give away the farm for a WR but if his price drops, can't help but like the guy for what he brings to the table.

But without question, Miami should not go crazy in FA.. because if they can draft well, this draft might be one that we talk about in a few years while they plan the parade..

Stallworth is not going to solve any WR issue.. but he will probably be picked up by some team that wants to add some cheap depth... we have a ton of cheap depth.. we need our starters to show themselves!

LipsinToronto - I agree with you. You have to think also that this front office does not like to give draft picks away. Also, with the FA market slim this year, the draft picks become more and more valuable, so I don't look for us to give away any draft picks unless we get picks.

Indiana,
Peppers would require too much compensation, and Miami already has like the highest payroll in the NFL. But I do feel he still has the goods, and through out his career he has managed to be healthy overall.

Does Peppers prefer to play in the 3-4 or the 4-3?

Indiana, good point - so will meet you half way - I say they go for Boldin IF his price is reasonable and we use an extra pick we got by trading back in the first..

This of course assumes that when that pick comes around, there isn't someone else on the board that we really want that has fallen into our lap.

The more I think about it, the less I think we trade for anyone... we *might* try to get Dransby, might try to look at Wilfork if not franchised, but that is likely it...

Which is our biggest need between NT and ILB?

You should ALWAYS be building through the draft - not just this year. It's the cheapest way to add top talent.

I find it hard to believe the Pack would release AJ Hawk - I mean, come on, the guy's a beast.

I would also say no to Peppers:
1. He's 30 and about to be on the downside. Although, he might give you 2 very good years.
2. He's a me first player. This guy had the audacity to turn down a contract to make him the highest defensive player in the league after coming off a 2 sack season.
3. has a nasty reputation for not playing hard every game.

I'd take my chances with about 10 of the OLB/DE types coming out of the draft over him.

Boldin would be a huge upgrade over what we have now even if he is getting a little older. Furthermore he was an elite WR before the Cardinals drafted Fitzgerald and it was because of him that Fitzgerald developed into the great WR that he has become. If we can get Boldin for a 3rd it is a no-brainer, he may even be worth a 2nd but I agree he is not worth a 1st. However, I think the Cardinals know that and are not looking for a 1st. I also agree with the majority of posters here that Stallworth is not worth the gamble at this point. Stallworth is a speed WR and so is Ginn. Ginn is in better playing shape right now and has more upside than Stallworth.

Adrian, I say NT is definitly most pressing...Fergunson 35 yrs old coming off severe injury...but there are some really good NT picks deeper in the draft..I think if McClain is there at 12 we pick him up no matter what, if not, Dan Williams is moving up the board and would fill that NT position real nice....it does no good to have great ILB if that NT position is weak at the 3-4 defense

But Ken, Ted(No jock strap required)Ginn has no testicles, who cares how fast he runs(Usually to the side-lines)Teddy ran back 2 k.o returns last year and yet he was 7th in K.O return average......CUT GINN AND HIS ENTIRE FAMILY....

Dan Williams is working his way up to top 15 consideration on a lot of boards out there. He may very well end up being the pick at 12 if he has a great combine in a few weeks. Heck, he may very well end up being #10 to Denver.

I thought maybe the Fins might bring in Antonio Bryant for a look see since he was cut by Tampa...but him and our new DC Mike Nolan are not shall we say, to friendly since Nolan cut him after one year in SF after Bryant signed a 14 million dollar 4 year deal

Yeah bobby, dont really see that happening...lol

Dan Williams, Rolando McClain I think it would be great if we could grab either one...lot will change after the combines so who knows??

1 2 3 4 5 6 »

The comments to this entry are closed.