While everyone is digesting the news that Jason Taylor is retiring after Sunday's regular-season finale -- something I have been told by a Dolphins source Taylor is scheduled to confirm during a press availability today -- let me keep you guys ahead of the curve with something more to chew on and digest:
This retirement means something significant.
This retirement is something to celebrate for its nostalgia and meaning to the history of the club. But it also is meaningful in that it speaks, no, speaks is understated ... It screams the Dolphins have yet another significant hole they must fill this offseason.
The hole is not new. It was obvious when the Dolphins drafted Koa Misi in April 2010. It was obvious when the Dolphins put in a waiver claim for Shawne Merriman in the winter of 2010, just before he was awarded to the Bills. It was obvious when the team came crawling back to the 37-year-old Taylor in July even though two seasons before the front office cryptically referred to him as a "progress stopper."
Seems Taylor wasn't a progress stopper in July, considering no young player on the roster other than Cameron Wake could rush the passer as well Taylor.
And that means this:
Misi has not developed into the pass-rusher the Dolphins hoped he'd become by now when they drafted him in the second round.
And the Dolphins will have to somehow -- either through the draft or free agency -- acquire another pass-rush threat to replace Taylor and compete with Misi.
None of this mean Misi is a bust. He is, after all, in his second season and everyone I talk to says he works hard at his craft and is seriously trying to get better. But it does say that Miami is ready to hedge its bet on Misi. The Dolphins cannot simply let Taylor retire and be confident Misi will take his repetitions and fill the production void.
They need an alternative to provide competition with Misi. They need someone else who must be better than Misi is right now and has the probability of being as 7-sack good as Taylor.
It's interesting that a 3-4 defense team must have outstanding outside linebacker play to be effective. And yet the Dolphins will go into this offseason with only one OLB (Wake) anyone has certainty will make plays on a consistent basis.
So, yeah, add a playmaking OLB as a major need for the coming offseason.