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25 posts from July 2010

July 22, 2010

Dolphins are 18th most valued NFL franchise

The recession has hit many people quite hard and caused the value of things to shrink. Homes some of us bought in the last couple of years are worth less today.

Oh, and the football team Stephen Ross bought a couple of years ago is worth less today than what he paid.

That according to Forbes.com, which values the Dolphins and their holdings at $1.02 billion. Ross paid $1.1 billion for 95 percent of the team and Sun Life Stadium. 

The Dolphins rank as the 18th most valuable NFL franchise and the world's 23rd most valuable franchise if the list is expanded to other sports outside football. The Dallas Cowboys lead the way among NFL teams with a value Forbes estimates at $1.65 billion.

AFC East rivals New England ($1.36 billion) and the New York Jets ($1.17 billion) rank ahead of the Dolphins.

But don't feel bad for the Dolphins owner that his investment in the Dolphins isn't returning dividends yet. It will eventually. No NFL team has ever gone down in price over time. And Mr. Ross, you see, is worth approximately $3.4 billion, according to Forbes, and that makes him the 277th richest person in the world.

Billion And just in case you missed it, that is billion with a b. The picture is of $100 stacked to equal $1 billion. Ross is worth nearly three-and-half times that many $100 bills.

All that money and the team couldn't pay for a proven free safety? 

July 21, 2010

No holdout on horizon: Odrick, Dolphins talking

With training camp set to start the afternoon of July 30th, the Dolphins are obviously working on having all their players present but as of this morning two rookies -- first-rounder Jared Odrick and second-rounder Koa Misi -- are still not in the stable.

The Dolphins have made contract offers to both, according to a source. The same source tells me the club is not waiting for the typical slotting method -- waiting on a player ahead and behind to sign -- to get their deals done, particularly with Odrick.

The team and Drew Rosenhaus, the agent for the No. 28 overall selection, "have been working on the deal," and "are still optimistic about getting Jared into camp on time" the source said.

Rosenhaus was unavailable for comment.

Although nothing seems imminent at this point, there seem to be no out-of-the-ordinary obstacles preventing Odrick's deal from being done by July 30th's first training camp practice.

That is obviously good news as the Dolphins want Odrick competing with veteran Phillip Merling as each vies for a starting defensive end job.

The Dolphins have already signed A.J. Edds, Nolan Carroll, Reshad Jones, Chris McCoy and Austin Spitler. The club agreed to terms with third-round pick John Jerry on Monday. As previously reported, he gets a four-year contract worth $2.64 million.

July 20, 2010

Guard John Jerry signs four-year deal

And then there were two.

That's how many of the Miami Dolphins eight draft picks are still not signed or agreed after third-round pick John Jerry agreed to a four-year contract today worth $2.64 million, according the National Football Post. Aaron Wilson at the Post reports Jerry will get guaranteed money of approximately $858,000.

[Update 5 p.m.: The Dolphins have confirmed that Jerry is signed.]

The Dolphins still have first-rounder Jared Odrick and second-rounder Koa Misi that are unsigned and haven't agreed to a deal. 

The Dolphins are searching for a starting left guard and Jerry has a good opportunity to win the spot. He is big (6-5 and 330 pounds) and strong and has played good competition (the SEC) while at Ole Miss.

But Jerry is obviously inexperienced in Miami's techniques and will have to beat out Donald Thomas and perhaps Nate Garner for the left guard spot. Thomas and Garner shared the job last year with Thomas fading somewhat late in the season while Garner became a factor after getting an initial opportunity at right guard.

The right guard spot, another question mark much of last season, is initially penciled in for Richie Incognito. Unlike Thomas or Garner, Incognito isn't really viewed as a swing guard that could play on the left side. Coaches like him almost exclusively on the right side.

Brandt: Dolphins will win the AFC East

To piggyback on the previous post where I touched on the expectations for the Dolphins for 2010, I direct you to a couple of items that have caught my attention.

First up is the prediction from NFL.com's Gil Brandt on where he expects the Dolphins to be once the NFL regular-season is over in January.

"I think the Dolphins will be in first place in the AFC East come Week 17," Brandt said on his live chat a bit ago. "They have done a lot to help their team, they have a young QB in Chad Henne who is getting better every week.

"The key will be how Ronnie Brown recovers from his knee injury and whether he can stay healthy. Henne must cut down on his interceptions. If he does, he will be very good."

So much for the Jets being the team du jour in Brandt's mind. So much for the Pats defending their division title. Brandt thinks the Dolphins will go third to first in the division.

Beyond that I must correct the record from the previous post on Tony Sparano and his public confidence. Sparano has always made winning the division his team's stated goal and I assumed that would hold for 2010.

That's why I wrote that while Sparano may have loftier expectations and goals for his team privately, he wouldn't say winning the Super Bowl is the place his team will be publicly

Well, not so fast.

A friend directed me to this video of the Dolphins awards banquet earlier this summer. In it, owner Stephen Ross repeated his talk about winning a Super Bowl this season and having a parade to celebrate the title.

And Sparano was right there with him.

"The long haul is the 28 weeks that start July 30th," Sparano tells the crowd. "... that 28 weeks is the time it takes for us to win the Super Bowl, for us to have that parade, Mr. Ross. So February, Dallas, 2011? I'm with you."


Look, I'm excited about the Dolphins as anyone. I think they're ready to fight for a playoff spot. But Super Bowl? I guess I'm not there right now.

I thought it kind of ridiculous when Mark Sanchez talked of returning to the White House -- after a visit earlier this offseason -- to get the meeting with the president following a New York Super Bowl win after this season.

I think it is equally stretching credulity to predict the Dolphins will win the Super Bowl this season. Sure, you aim for the biggest prize, but to predict you're going to get it is another thing altogether.

I am inclined to believe Brandt's prediction is closer to reality.

What do you think?

Dolphins dominate sports landscape ... for now

There have been some changes since I left on vacation in June.

Before I left, I shared with you my ranking of NFL teams No. 32 to No. 1 in which I rated the Dolphins the No. 10 team in the NFL. Many scoffed at the idea Miami was already that good despite the offseason additions of Brandon Marshall and Karlos Dansby and a seeminly fruitful draft.

Well, since then the NFL Network's Mike Lombardi has categorized the Dolphins as a blue chip team, meaning he not only expects them to be good, but expects them to be Super Bowl material. Sports Illustrated, meanwhile, ranked the Dolphins No. 6 on their countdown from No. 32 -- (which kind of blew me away.)

And even while on vacation, I did some radio interviews with stations in places such as San Diego and Seattle and New York and they seem to have high expectations for the Dolphins also.

I am told the Dolphins brass isn't upset folks expect good things from them.

Tony Sparano isn't going to predict titles or publicly set the Super Bowl as the team's goal -- even if that is exactly what owner Stephen Ross did in June. But the coach isn't afraid of facing a bar set high. He often sets the bar quite high for his players, albeit in private.

The amazing thing in all this is that while folks around the country are looking forward to this Dolphins team being a big deal, being playoff caliber, and perhaps championship caliber (if you believe Lombardi), folks locally have allowed their gaze to wander away from the Dolphins.

Basketball, you see, now dominates the front pages, the TV and radio airwaves, and the purse-strings of South Florida sports fans.

The Heat added the Three Kings to their lineup and are seemingly building a championship machine so folks down here have happily jumped on the bandwagon while barely mentioning the Dolphins.

Suddenly, Pat Riley is much smarter than Bill Parcells according to some knee-jerking columnists. Suddenly, the Heat is the team on everyone's lips. Suddenly, Lebron James and Dwyane Wade are the biggest local sports stars while the Dolphins have some guys that might or might not get recognized in clubs and restaurants.


It is my humble opinion that one NBA offseason -- regardless of how mega-productive, and definitely the Heat have had a great one -- does not erase 40 years of tradition. It is my opinion that once the games begin, and even as early as when camp opens, the Dolphins will again be at the forefront of South Florida's attention.

This all comes with a caveat, of course.

As we all know, the Dolphins face a difficult schedule the early part of the season. After what, on paper, promises to be a victory at Buffalo (new coach, same old bad QB situation), the Dolphins then embark on a killer stretch at Minnesota, against the Jets and Patriots, at Green Bay, back home to face Pittsburgh, then trips to Cincinnati and Baltimore.

The Dolphins play seven playoff-caliber teams the first eight games of the season.

And unless they prosper against that tough lineup that will carry them through the first week of November, the Dolphins may find themselves the second-tier story locally to the Heat as that team begins its season.

What I'm saying is that, locally at least, the pressure is on the Dolphins to win early. The pressure is on them to start fast, something they have not done since 2003.

The requirement is not just about keeping the attention on them, it also has a lot to do with making the playoffs.

If the Dolphins go into their bye weekend Oct. 10 winless or 1-3, not only can you deem their playoff chances on life support but the attention span of locals will diminish as the attention-grabbing Heat begin their season.

Clearly that won't be the case for Dolphins fans living outside South Florida. A majority of national Dolphins fans have no rooting interest in the Heat. But down here? That's just the way it might play out.

It will be moot, of course, if the Dolphins are the team we all hope for and expect. If the Dolphins are a 12-4 team, or an 11-5 team, one assumes they won't be 1-3 at season's start.

And if they are a 12-4 or an 11-5 team, I would say they will still be the dominant sports story in South Florida, even beyond the Heat.

Just like they were before I went on vacation.

[BLOG NOTE: Come back this afternoon, as I have some minor news that I'll be posting at that time.]