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Joe Philbin: Free agency on the table

There is a false narrative in the Dolfan community that because coach Joe Philbin came from the Green Bay Packers, he wants the Dolphins run like the Green Bay Packers, particularly when it comes to building the team.

The idea is that because Green Bay rarely dips toes in free agency, with few exceptions, Philbin wants the same in Miami.

That is not true.

"I'm not opposed to improving the football team in any way shape or form, by any method we can -- whether that's a trade whether that's free agency, draft obviously," Philbin said Monday in his end-of-season press conference. "I'm not opposed to any of that."

Philbin says player acquisition is a "collaborative" effort that includes general manager Jeff Ireland and his staff and Philbin and his staff. So free agency is on the table.

And that ties perfectly with what I tell you in my column today about the Dolphins being willing to attack the high end of free agency this offseason as they have not done since probably 2010.

As I've said before, the man in charge of personnel for the Dolphins will  continue to be general manager Jeff Ireland. Owner Stephen Ross will speak with the media later this week, but a source repeated to me again today that Ireland is absolutely safe in his job. So no change is coming there for this offseason.

This offseason is about improving everywhere -- particularly on offense.

"We certainly need to get better production and performance out of the offensive unit," Philbin said.

The coach wants to see massive improvement in the team's turnover margin. It was minus 10 this year which was in the bottom quarter of the league. And he wants to see more plays on both offense and defense relative to the passing game.

"I think these guys performed well," Philbin said. "We have to do a better job of putting points on the board. This is not a complicated game. We have to do a better job there. Part of the takeway issue is getting interceptions and fumble recoveries. But I don't know it's isolated to the receiver or DB positions.

"We need to address the explosive play element on both sides of the ball. We got to create more, we have to eliminate more from our opponent's play."

Well, if that doesn't speak to receivers (including TEs on offense) and DBs (particularly corners on defense) I don't know who it speaks to.

Among the things Philbin wants to improve is himself.

"I definitely need to improve like anybody else, no question about it," he said. "That's what the offseason is all about. I haven't had time to reflect necessarily going through the exit process today and meeting with the players. Obviously we had a plan in place for this season. I thought it was a good plan. However, obviously you have to make changes and adjustments and learn and make improvements. And we'll do that. We'll listen to the suggestions of some of the guys you work with on a consistent basis and see if they have ideas that may or may not benefit the program."

Improvement is the order of the day all around this franchise, folks. The Dolphins finished 7-9 and out of the playoffs. That's 7-9, 7-9, 6-10, and 7-9 in the last four seasons. And none of those seasons included a postseason berth.

"7-9 is not good enough," Philbin said. "... We have a lot of work to do. That's really where we are."



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You're not painting the Smith situation accurately. Smith was in fact a FA last ofseason and talked to the Dolphins, while they were talking to Manning. When it didn't work out with Manning in SF, the Niners signed him to a 3 year/$24mil contract. I believe there's a buyout clause in the contract because I think the cap hit is something like $12.5 mil in 2013.

I actually believe that Smith would be a good fit with the Cowboys, as he doesn't make nearly as many mistakes as Romo. Stay tuned....

Mark In Toronto,

NYG fans are just like Fins fans. We dont see these guys everyday in practice so many times what we think about some players can be taken with a grain of salt.

Also, JPP may be a great contributory to NYG fans lukewarm appreciation of Osi. At the right price Osi could be great addition. Im not talking break the bank money or even close.

But, no matter what NYG fans say, Umenyiora could be a huge upgrade to what we presently have opposite Wake.

This should be a very interesting off season, I hope for the better.

Steve, Robinson didn't visit us because jax just threw so much money at him that they wouldn't let him leave town and he frankly knew he was overvalued. Not a bad paycheque for a 3rd WR. I'm sure he knows he did the right thing.

Same thing happened to Mario last year. Bills just wouldn't let him leave that ass-zit of a town.

DF in Montreal

We will have to overpay. But does anyone think Ireland will?

I think we will be active but land up signing C level free agents and once agin relying on the draft.

YG, Osi is done. Saw him up close in personal in November. The Giants people were saying the burst is gone. Once the legs are gone, it's gone.

Mark in Toronto | December 31, 2012 at 01:39 PM

Once the legs are gone it is over but feel your over stating it. Osi has been wearing out his welcome for a few Yrs. now and with JPP firmly entrenched and superior athlete the Giants have been fazing him out. In a rotation opposite Wake at the right price with incentive heavy deal I feel he is one of those vets worth a looksy. I also at the risk of having the blog call me crazy happen to feel Steve Smith has some left in the tank and in a 3 Yr/12 Mil scenario wouldn't mind adding him along with a Jennings at the right price.


Why would Laurent Robinson visit this team last year? We had NO money to spend. We were tight against the cap. When did Ireland even express interest in Robinson? It wasn't a fit. He's ANOTHER overpaid FA and in a year or two he'll be released by Jacksonville....watch!

oscar, the Patriots are NOTHING without Tom Brady...Coaches are OVERRATED, most of these guys have been coaches their entire LIVES...You think they don't know X's and O's by now? Of course they get fired, what are you going to do, fire 53 players?? The easy thing is always to fire the coach...But the bottom line is you need PLAYERS, and that falls on the GM's shoulders...I remember when Jimmy Johnson first got hired by the Dolphins, all the expectations were high, and on his first press conference he said: You can have the best game plan in the world, but bottom line is it all comes down to players making the plays for you...Again, why was Belicheik such a failure in Cleveland but all of a sudden he's a genius in NE? Simple answer. Tom Brady.


I know Craig, it's just so silly. Every offseason I get so mad because it's the same thing over and over. When will the "experts" learn?

How many years are we going to hear about how much talent the Cowboys and Eagles have? How they are going to the playoffs? And we have people saying, "I'm sick of Philbin only signing character guys, there's nothing wrong with a few thugs".

REALLY? Because all of the teams that have questionable characters seem to miss the playoffs every year while teams like the Pats, Giants and Packers are winning championships. What do all of those teams have in common. STRONG CHARACTER GUYS! Guys that,,,,,when the going gets tough they stick together, they figure it out and play through it. They don't whine to the media and blame eachother, they just put their heads down and get to work. THAT'S the team I want built in Miami. I do not want to be the Eagles, Cowboys, etc., doesn't work, never does.

Craig M....

I'm pretty sure Smith was under contract....are you telling me that the 9ers were coming off a NFC championship appearance with NO QB under contract....and put ALL their eggs in one basket in hopes of Manning....

I don't think they would do that....I could be wrong......

I'll have to look that up......

Good point MIT,

I will say this for Ireland, he rarely pays more than a person is valued in FA.

Why would ANYBODY want to build a team by over-paying for FAs? How is that a way to build a team? Do you overspend when you go to the store or do you look for the deals, when you have a limited budget?

Makes no sense....

Posted by: Phins78 | December 31, 2012 at 02:11 PM

Even more reason that I believe had Alex Smith signed here he would have been caretaker qb while Tannehill developed. He was seemingly having his greatest statiscal year ever and Hrabaugh still didnt "fully trust him". He changed horses right in the middle of a "shallow" stream.

That's something to take a very long and hard look at.

haha, Oscar, the Ross is cheap posters would have a field day if they had an owner like Joe Robbie. Guy counted paper clips and listened in on employee phone calls to see if they were actually business related. Cheap fukker.

He also opens the door for Odrick to go to DT and let Starks walks. If we could get Umenyiora for about what it would take to sign Starks. I would do it in a heartbeat. It would equate to a "Starks for Umenyiora trade".

Yesterday's Gone 4Ever! | December 31, 2012 at 02:08 PM

Listen couldn't agree more! If Starks gets the big money offer and walks this scenario makes us better we then resign T.McDaniel and keep it rolling while adding a guy who after being fazed out in N.Y. may have something to prove.

How the heck do these idiots keep Ireland? We will never finish above 500 as long as he is here. He is the worst GM in the entire league

But YG, he is not an upgrade even over an out of position Odrick. Odrick was better than him THIS year. When you have Justin Tuck and JPP on your team and still you can only muster 6 sacks - that should be telling you something LOUD AND CLEAR ...


Look it up and then come back and talk about it. That's the way I remember it, yes. He had to wait until they did the dance with Manning before he was able to put his name to a contract with SF. Probably disappointed him after a 13-3 season. Don't remember Harbaugh getting too much criticism for it either.


Odrick has to move to DT...It would be nice to get a bit of pass rush up the middle...

And YG, thankfully for the NFl no other fans are like Dolphins fans. Their stadium holds 90k plus and is sold out and loud and pretty dam intimidating.

Kris Smith came to Miami before he knew if Manning was going to be signed in San Fran didn't he? And he was a free agent at the time. They didn't extend him until he left Miami. Let me find the story so we can clear it up.

Steve Smith the Rams WR or Carolina WR. Please tell me you think it's the Carolina WR!!

Opposite Wake at the right price with incentive heavy deal I feel he is one of those vets worth a looksy.

Posted by: fin4life | December 31, 2012 at 02:16 PM

Absolutely! I see you get it.

Umenyiora is still and upgrade to what we're presently doing opposite Wake and allows Vernon another year or two to come into his own.

Plus, I feel Umenyiora's 1st season here would be all about proving the Giants wrong. He could be a "REVIVED BEAST"!

Phins78 @2:17pm.

Very well said. Glad you can see the big picture.

In case I miss the opportunity, all the best to you at New Year's and for the year ahead. Here's to talking playoffs this time next year.

Mark, what are you talking about?

You guys could be right (Phins 78/Craig M)....

it seems hard to research......seems like it should be easy....but i'm not finding definitive language.....

Kris, Alex Smith indeed was an UFA

Oh, no, Belichick develops Palyers cut by other Teams(Edelman, Woodhead) and Tom Brady was a 6th RD draft choice. Now, I'm not sure tht success is all on him. There could be somebody that tells him who to obtain that could fit that Organization.


Not a fan of that plan. I turn to side with Mark more on Osi. To me he's not the guy he was a few years ago and on top of that, seems like a bit of a whiner. Not sure he fits what we're traying to do here in Miami. I'd resign McDaniel for depth at DT and draft one of those kids you talked about at 12. I don't have a favourite yet but I will by the time April rolls around. (and by then I'll be banging the drum loudly YG....LOL. You'll be sick of it).

Steve Smith the Rams WR or Carolina WR. Please tell me you think it's the Carolina WR!!

Mark in Toronto | December 31, 2012 at 02:23 PM

Of course the Car. WR, he'll be 32 next Season and only 1 Yr. older than Welker. He is a high motor guy who I feel can still add plenty to a team and would come at a reasonable price and you know he will bring it every week.

Montreal, what time's post are you asking about?

I'll put it like this:


He was a big part of 2 Brady SB losses. Tom Brady would not enjoy facing Umenyiora twice a year for the next couple seasons.

If Umenyiora can at least become TOM BRADY KRYPTONITE, then signing him would be a huge success if he only gives us 2 great games a year. Think about this fellas.

*I know Miami is very comfortable paying Flynn the contract offer his agent got from the team but probably isn't too thrilled paying Smith the kind of deal he rejected from the San Francisco 49ers. Smith rejected a three-year offer from the 49ers that averaged approximately $7-$8 million per season but could rise to $9-$10 million if he continued to play as he did in 2011 based on incentives.
Why is this an issue? Well, The Denver Post reported the Dolphins were in negotiations with Smith on what the newspaper said was an $8 million per year contract.

Because Manning did not pick the San Francisco 49'ers, it seems to open up the possibility of a return to San Francisco for Alex Smith. And that would mean the player who visited the Dolphins on Sunday would be out of the running to continue his career in Miami.

This is not a 100 percent certainty as, frankly, Smith still is a free agent and has the right to negotiate with any team he wishes. But, as I reported this morning, Smith had told various NFL sources and had let the Dolphins know his first choice was to return to the Niners if Manning didn't pick that team.

thats 3.....With Mark agreeing with Phins and Craig M....

So I concede......plus I see he signed a 6 year rookie contract in 2005...so indeed he should have been a UFA...but why wasn't he sought after more.....

Mark, the Smith post...

You can't argue with the Success of a well stablished Organization, Mark in Toronto.

There is a chance that Te'o may be available for us at 12. Someone made a comment yesterday about how the middle of the field was open and the fins needed to replace Dansby (it may have been Dashi). Would Te'o the great ND linebacker help solve that deficiency in our game. The patriots seem to kill us in the middle of the field. So, if Te'o is available at 12 does Ireland pull the trigger? Should he, with all of the other needs we have?

We're going nowhere in the afc east until we find way to at least get Brady under control. Umenyiora could be that krytonite. LOL...

Sorry Kris, I'm pretty sure you are wrong. Smith WAS a free agent even after Manning said no to San Fran. He could have signed with any team he wanted, no trade needed, he had already turned down a low ball offer from San Fran for 3 years. San Fran came crawling back to him after Manning blew them off.

Steve Smith or Alex Smith?

Alex Smith was an unrestricted free agent when he visited Miami last off season. That was in question here.

Also, f4l was talking WR Steve Smith and I wasn't sure if he was talking about the fine wr from Carolina or the broken down WR who played for the Giants and was last seen with the Rams.

Can I post?

YG at 2:18, good point.

Oscar, Joe Robbie only became successful after he put his trust in Don Shula. he was close to losing everything after the George Wilson debacle. Like now back then fans weren't showing up. He became a good owner when all he did was sign the cheques. In reality he was a nasty boss, cheap SOB, and a drunk. So if you want to thank anything, thank the possibility of the team going bankrupt and Joe Robbie losing all his money as well as his investors'. Desperation is a crazy thing and he was lucky to attract Don Shula. If it wasn't for the Unitas/Morral/Shula/Joe Namath incidents - it never would've happened and Miami might not have a team today.


You seem to forget Umenyiora has been like "BRADY KRYPTONITE". Until we can at least get "Brady under control", we'll continue to get swept in the seasonal series.

If Umenyiora helps us at least split the the two Pats games. Then we have a prayer of challengting for the afc east crown over the next couple seasons. I would have to wait until Brady's gone to have this chance.

Freakin weird...I tried to post a bunch of times with another post to no avail...but the can I post one shows up?? WTH??

Phin78/Craig M,

The only thing that makes us better at pass rush is a pass rusher don't know what Dashi meant by a MLB making the pass rush better unless blitzing his A S S off or audibling to the blitz every down. My point was that "IF" Te'o fell to 12 he'd be hard to pass up replacing Dansby in the middle while switching Karlos over to his natural OLB spot opposite Burnett. Osi has been a whiner in N.Y. but feel the talk about him washed up a little over stated given in the game Vs. Car. on Monday night early this Yr. he ran Cam down a couple of times that I saw and contributed on pass rush as well. Fell he's just worn out his welcome there and not a Coughlin guy.

even though our defensive unit did NOT play well against the pats, you have to remember ONE thing, "28 POINTS". this is NOT a HUGE score to overcome if you have an offense that can sustain drives and score. to hold one of the best offensive units in the game to 28 points on a bad day is not so bad, sure, a few changes should be made, but the offense needs some serious attention, and although we spent our 8th pick in 2012 on tannehill, ireland would be wise to echo the sediment that the draft is an imperfect science and bad decisions will be made, the fins without a doubt needs to re-address the QB position once again, anything would be better then a team like the jets who for three years have been waiting for sanchez to get it. look, you either have IT or you don't. one look at manning, marino...and you know they have IT, one look at tannehill tells you he DON'T, and all that stuff about learning and developing, i don't buy it anymore...who was miami's back-up behind marino? i can;t even remember his name nad he had YEARS to learn behind the best QB of all time. i liken tannehill to that shirt you bought that LOOKED great on the hanger but didn't fit to well, so you bought it anyway, and every time you go to wear it you change your mind and wear a different because..it STILL doesn't fit. tannehill IS what we know he isn't, and that it... he is NOT the stud QB ross wanted to get.

Same to you Craig. And I'm not against signing free agents, I just don't believe in being held hostage. Like you said, do not over pay for people who will screw your cap. We did it too many times under Parcells and even before that.

Starting of the NEW YEAR on a bad not...I am as wrong as the day is long....

Thanks to the regs for setting me straight....

I'm out guys...

Taking the wife to a NEW YEARS Movie....and dinner before we link up with friends to celebrate the event....


Be safe....and see you next year....

We cannot continue to live in the past. Osi's numbers for this year were: 28 Tackles and 6 sacks. Odrick's numbers 26 Tackles and 5 sacks. Hardly any difference between the 2 if you compare the statistics. Osi was once great but he is on the downside of his career and those numbers and his age indicate that he is probably a situational pass rusher at this point of his career. I would rather draft a stud pass rusher in the first round to complement Wake and move Odrick inside to replace Starks.

Robbie's Organization became hugely successful, for many reasons and most of all because of Himself. Good businessman, good organizer.

Mark, I've always been a Steve Smith fan (From Carolina, LOL!!) of course...He is tough as nails...He's like a Hines Ward...Plays WR with a CB mentality...If he's a FA, I'm definitely interested...I remember when Newton was struggling, Smith called him out...Never hesitated...The guy is awesome...Even at his age he could bring a lot to the Dolphins, no question...

Did anyone here actually know there was a Miami Seahawk team that went bankrupt??




Kris good question. YG brought up a good point about Harbaugh and that he obviously doesn't trust Smith. If that's the case though, why sign him to that contract? And after he was absolutely killing it in the beginning of the season why do you throw him on the bench so quickly when he comes back? San Fran better not lose in the first round. If they do I hope THERE ARE WRITERS IN san Fran that will question the move like they would in Miami.

Have fun Kris and Happy New Year!

Kris, all the best to you and your family in 2013...

I will be using the playoffs as a "tryout" of the new team I will be following. If Ireland's here Im not.

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