There is one word that owners around the NFL hate to use in front of their fanbase: Rebuilding.
The word means forget about this year. The word means that whatever we've been doing wasn't right and we need to start over. The word is synonymous with, we're falling off the NFL map for a year or two.
Oh, and the word is a great way to not sell tickets.
And so it will be interesting to see if Dolphins owner Stephen Ross utters the word today when he meets with media at lunch time because, let's be real folks, the Miami Dolphins are in full on rebuild mode now.
That's how it looks when you're trading Brandon Marshall and not signing either an equally talented or equally experienced replacement. The Dolphins will replace Marshall with a draft pick. You know how often rookie wide receiver make a big difference for their new teams? Do the homework. It is rare.
That's how it looks when you cut Yeremiah Bell, who was probably declining and too expensive but was also the glue in the deep secondary. The Dolphins may re-sign Bell or they may not. Either way, it is not a difference making move. Bell has so far garnered little attention in free agency so there's the idea other teams don't think tons about him so far. And if Miami goes in another direction, the likely way to address it is in the latter (cheaper) parts of free agency or, again, the draft. Rebuilding.
Once the Dolphins failed to land Peyton Manning and he picked Denver, the Dolphins didn't deem Matt Flynn worthy of big money and I was told by a Dolphins source that Alex Smith priced himself out of their market. So the Dolphins are going with a QB competition between Matt Moore and David Garrard. The Dolphins will also probably draft a quarterback.
Let's see ... Miami's grand promise of finally finding a franchise quarterback is headed unquestionably down the path of having two veterans who have never been franchise QBs and probably a rookie to develop. The two veterans are signed for only one year each. One.
Tell me that doesn't feel like you're rebuilding. Anyone with eyes sees it.
The Dolphins haven't been big spenders in free agency. They are ramping up bigtime for the draft. And I'm hearing more and more whispers from organization sources that you'll not be hearing talk of displacing the Patriots in 2012 because, well, they're as finished a product as you can have in the NFL.
And the Dolphins are a start up production.
I have a hard time believing if Peyton Manning had come to the team the Dolphins would have been in this mode. They would have been led by a 36-year-old QB that needed talented added quickly for a run that will last a relatively short period of time.
But once Manning eliminated the Dolphins, the Dolphins apparently eliminated the idea of really and truly competing for a title in 2012. Their moves are making that plain. They're planning for a title run in two or three years more than they are this year.
They are rebuilding. The only question now is whether Ross will admit as much today.