This post is not going to be popular. This post absolutely will not fit the current popular narrative surrounding the Dolphins the past week. And I don't take this undertaking lightly because I don't enjoy taking a bullet for someone who is not my family or close friend.
This Jeff Ireland hatred is getting more than a tad ridiculous.
To begin, I cannot say I agree with every single move Ireland makes. I don' agree with his approach with the media. I am aware agents talk behind his back (if they do it with me I'm assuming they do it with others) and complain of an arrogance that is baffling and approach that sometimes borders on bullying.
But I also do not agree he is a total screwup and gets everything wrong -- maybe that's because he doesn't.
I thought the David Garrard signing was a very good one, assuming the projected use for him is what I believe it will be and isn't followed by a crazy chase of Alex Smith or Tim Tebow. I thought the re-signing of Paul Soliai at a bargain price -- $6 million per year when he had a bigger deal on the table with Denver and for a price that is half of what the team paid last year -- was a coup that got whitewashed in the negative theme of the day.
I like the fact the Dolphins held to their guns in coming to a organizational value for Matt Flynn, remembering that coach Joe Philbin knows this guy as well as anyone. People are saying Flynn picked the Seahawks over the Dolphins. I think it's more accurate to say the Dolphins picked something else over Flynn because I don't believe they wanted to outbid Seattle. I like that Miami made a move to explore Alex Smith. I like that Miami won't be paying Smith $8 million a year because that's crazy money considering seven years of watching this guy has offered only one season of promising production.
I understand (I think) why the Dolphins traded Brandon Marshall. I like Marshall and think he's an engaging guy. He really is great if you speak with him. Guy's charming. But he is a trouble magnet. He is immature and the lack of a father figure in his life gives him no foundation on which to sometimes understand right from wrong and being an adult from being a kid. I believe unless that changes, he's going to be in trouble again eventually. So the move to jettison him is logical on several levels.
I also understand and cannot criticize Ireland for letting Kendall Langford go. Quick, what was the last game-changing play he made? What was his signature moment in Dolphins history? Correct, he didn't have one. He was a grunt, a role-player albeit a nice one. Certainly, he's not a guy worth $6 million per year and a $12 million guarantee, which is what he got from St. Louis.
And, because I am not a hypocrite, I also cannot rip the idea of cutting Yeremiah Bell. Bell is one of my favorite players. He's a tough blankety blank. He's a good locker room guy. But he's 34 years old and his play isn't likely to get better. And for years I've urged the Dolphins to be one of those teams that jettisons players before they totally break down and lose it rather than waiting an extra year and suffering the actual fast decline while the player is on the roster.
The Dolphins cut Bell on Monday before he completely fades out. I cannot rip them for that, considering he brings $4.3 million in cap relief. (Also, we don't know if Miami offered Bell a chance to cut his salary and he refused or not.)
So all these moves that Ireland is getting destroyed for ... tell me how they were terrible. Tell me what he should have done.
The Garrard signing, by the way, is being panned because David Garrard is not a franchise quarterback and Ireland has promised a reach for a franchise QB this offseason. "We need to add a quarterback that can get us over the hump," he's told The Miami Herald.
No kidding. That's been the case for a decade, including five offseasons during Ireland's employment in Miami. And Garrard is not that guy.
But Ireland hasn't said he is. Ireland hasn't said that's his signature QB move of the spring. Seems to me Garrard is a move to add a veteran backup presence who might get a shot to win a job in the short-term. Hello? Compeition is good.
Unless I miss my guess, the Dolphins aren't done adding at quarterback. I believe they will draft a kid on which the club's future hopes will rest. At least that is my sense.
Maybe that rookie will be a bust. Maybe he'll be a star. The point is to rip Ireland for a move not yet made in an offseason not yet complete is hating for hating's sake.
On that front, there's plenty headed in Ireland's direction now. I hear there is a fan protest scheduled for today to rip Ireland. On Sunday, Pittsburgh safety Ryan Clark ripped Ireland on twitter and blamed him for Miami's ills and talked of how "the guy running things is not a good" person.
Then yesterday on NFL Network, former Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter blew up Ireland on national television. He blamed the Dolphins inability to close on, say, Peyton Manning and Flynn on Ireland.
"I think Jeff Ireland has a big part to do with it," Porter said. "I don't think when you come in being recruited by him, you totally believe things coming out of his mouth. I think he's a guy that's not trustworthy. He really doesn't hold up to what a GM's supposed to be."
Well, I really don't think Porter holds up to what a man is supposed to be. Porter is a great guy to have on a team when things are good. But as soon as things go bad, he becomes part of the problem. And as soon as he's no longer getting his way or is out of contract, he bites the hand that feeds him. He previously blew up Cam Cameron. He previously blew up Tony Sparano. He previously blew up Mike Tomlin.
The guy has a history for ripping people that either cut him, let him go in free agency, or stood up to him. So while you don't have to dismiss his criticism, at least understand where it originates.
By the way, this idea that Miami can't land anyone is getting on my nerves. No, they didn't get Harbaugh. No, they didn't land Fisher. No, they didn't get Manning. Which one of those was Ireland responsible for?
Manning, of course.
Well, the Dolphins didn't get Manning. And neither did San Francisco, Arizona, or Tennessee. The Jets, Kansas City, and Seattle all have good to outstanding GMs. None of them could even get a meeting with Manning. So Ireland is a bad guy because the Dolphins swung and missed on Peyton Manning?
Look, I do not agree with every move Ireland makes. To me, the Manning chase was a waste of time that I didn't agree with. I would have been in Mario Williams' jock and tried to sign him and I would have outbid Kansas City for Eric Winston. It would have been two blue chip additions to the team and my overall talent would have gone way up.
Instead the Dolphins are shopping at K-Mart with Artis Hicks and Jamaal Westersomebody.
I also would have gone to the wall (yes, even giving up FOUR first round picks) to land Robert Griffin III. I would have gotten my franchise QB one way or another. Ireland didn't.
But does that make the guy a loser? A man to revile?
Someon hacked into Ireland's Wikipedia page Tuesday and edited in some unkind things about him being born in a Denny's parking lot etc... Maybe that sounds funny to you. Maybe you're cheering the imagination of that move. I guess I'm not talking to you.
I am talking to the folks who are thinking for themselves. Break down the moves on their own merit. Tell me what you would have done. Tell me where you would depart from the current course.
Obviously, Ireland hasn't gotten all his moves right in the past. By the way, no one does. And the pressure is on him to land some, you know, actual stars this offseason because the Dolphins don't have any of those.
He might do that. He might not. But I'm not ready to say this guy is the devil for blowing it when we're only one week into free agency and the draft is on the horizon. I don't judge a team's gameday performance in the second quarter.
I wait until the game's over.
[BROADCAST, PERSONAL NOTE: If you wish to discuss this or any other Dolphins topic with me, you can tune in to my radio show at 640-AM in South Florida or watch the show online at the Miami Herald. You can call the show toll free at 888-640-9385. Also, I will not be updating this blog until much later this afternoon because I have a doctor's appointment after the show. For the latest, check out the rest of The Miami Herald Dolphins page.]