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Failing on in-season extensions sometimes a win, sometimes a loss

The Dolphins are on the clock between now and mid March when free agency kicks off because they have between 15-17 players that are unrestricted free agents that they can sign before the free agency market opens.

And I'm told the club hopes to get some deals done before the deadline, which is wise.

Of course, the club tried to get some deals done during the season and didn't exactly succeed there. As you read here last week, the only in-season contract the Dolphins signed in 2012 was locking up special teams and backup Jason Trusnik to a two-year extension.

I was told by one club official that in-season extensions are overrated. I was told the club is convinced players do not become more expensive.

Well sometimes that is true. And sometimes that is false.

Before the 2010 season, Paul Soliai asked his agent if he (the agent) thought he could get Soliai a $2 million-a-year contract. The agent, David Canter, said he'd try. Canter and the Dolphins danced around all season on a contract extension even as Soliai worked himself into the starting unit and then started playing well.

Miami's contract offers were consistently behind the curve of how their player was performing. And that hurt the team in the wallet because after the season the Dolphins ended up putting the franchise tag on Soliai to keep him from going into free agency. That cost Miami a $12 million cap hit.

And before the 2011 season Soliai ended up signing a deal that pays him $6 million per season. So, yes, a $2 million-a-year deal would have saved the team a ton of money and cap space over a three-season span -- $6 million over which Soliai would have initially been happy to get, compared to the $24 million he's actually costing. 

This season the results of Miami doing only one extension are mixed.

The club offered in-season extensions to Matt Moore, to Jake Long and to Brian Hartline. All were what agents would consider "low-ball" offers.

On Matt Moore, the team tried to lock him into a backup quarterback deal. Although no numbers were exchanged because the Dolphins were coy about that, the Moore camp decided it would be better off waiting until after the season because Moore is hoping to compete for a starting job somewhere.

So no deal resulted in this: Moore will hit free agency with the hope someone gives him a chance to compete for a starting job. The Dolphins could not offer that.

But Moore might have been convinced to sign a Miami extension if he'd gotten assuranes (incentives) that if he somehow took over the starting job -- through injury or other circumstance -- he'd be paid like a starting QB.

Didn't happen. So no deal.

I call the failure to do an extension here a push. It neither helped nor hurt the team.

The team also offered Long an extension well before he broke down (again) and finished the season on injured reserve. The offer, I'm told, was a handsome deal for most left tackles but for Long, who has been used to being the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL, it looked like a step backward.

He didn't take it.

Well, Long didn't play all that well in 2012 when he was healthy. The guy is diminished, no doubt about it. He used to do conditioning drills to start the season with linebackers. He can't do that anymore. He doesn't move like that anymore.

And, of course, Long eventually ended up on injured reserve for the second consecutive year.

So now the Dolphins have a better body of evidence of what their player is, rather than what he was. Early in the year, the team could convince itself that Long was irreplaceable and valuable and that his recent injury history was happenstance.

But Long added another injury to that history, making it seem more like a trend, and when he went out, the Dolphins replaced him with relatively no problem. Rookie Jonathan Martin did not play at a Pro Bowl level taking over at left tackle. But neither did the offensive line fall apart without Long.

(By the way, Long wasn't playing at a Pro Bowl level before he got hurt).

And going forward, the club has a solid idea that Martin can get much better through offseason weight-training and conditioning, experience, and a full training camp at LT. So Long, who still wants to be paid like an elite left tackle is a luxury.

I call the failure to do an in-season extension with Long a blessing. He's not as good as he believes he is anymore. He's not worth the kind of contract he was holding out for, given that I don't see him getting better and more healthy as the injuries stack up. This one was a win that offers the team wiggle room to either retain Long at its price (unlikely) or let him walk to a team that needs a left tackle and is willing to pay handsomely for Long's reputation (more likely).

The team offered Hartline an extension early in the season. The receiver, through his agent Drew Rosenhaus, has been trying to get an extension since 2011. The Dolphins rebuffed those overtures and I understand why: Hartline was a complementary player and could seemingly be replaced cheaply in the draft.

But this year, given a greater opportunity, Hartline posted a breakout year. He was probably the most consistent and best weapon for the Miami offense. (Yes, Reggie Bush started well and finished strong but he was absent the middle part of the season).

Last year when Hartline wanted an extension, he could have cost the Dolphins between $2 million a year. Earlier this year, he could have been signed for $3 million a year.

The price is much higher than that now.

Hartline performed despite missing all of the offseason camps and training camp. He had a breakout year with a new offense and rookie quarterback. He's 26 years old and entering his prime. He's likely going to get better but certainly isn't going to decline.

The Dolphins cannot replace him easily in the draft anymore. Frankly, no rookie receiver is going to walk in and be able to play all three WR positions, show good hands, go for 1,000 yards and have a 14.6 yard per catch average. Just doesn't happen unless the rookie's a freak.

In this case, the failure to do an extension with Hartline will cost the team more money and cap space assuming Miami opts to re-sign him.

So three players. Three in-season contract extension offers. The Dolphins won big on not signing Long, lost big on not signing Hartline and pushed on Moore.



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Phins78 is by far the biggest b I t c h on the blog. He's views are worthless and I think we're all in agreement this blog would be better without his stupid a s s views.

Impersonator at 11:31, thank you. You make it so easy! MAn it's easy to get you pi%$ed! LMAO I knew writing that post would weed you right out because you're such a loser you actually hang out in here 24/7! You're life is SO SAD! ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for making it so easy. S&%t it's like shooting fish in a barrell. Buh bye.

Phins78 says:

Promichael there's really no need for insults is there ? Lets start there. Why do you feel the need to insult those you disagree with? Now Ill answer the football part of the post while I await your response as to why you insult people.
Ok Phins78 relating football substance. Bess is 27 and Welker 33, who creates quicker and more separation. A pass route can be run for any team. Teams know Welker is beating them so getting significant attention is going to be undertaken. Does Bess get the same defensive attention. No! The Dolphins are not moving the ball against the better DB's and secondary teams in the NFL. Why are the Dolphins seeking to replace their #4's and #5's?


I agree buddy. I dont understand all the negative comments regarding Bess. The guy is incredibly reliable and if Brady, Brees or Peyton was throwing him the ball,Bess would be a regular Probowler








Phins78, simply likes to talk to himself, he is such an idiot.

..Kris @ 11...Good post. I disagree a little though. I think the goal every year is to get to, and win the Super Bowl..I don't think that winning the division is as important as just getting into the tournament. In fact how you are playing going into the playoffs is more important(IMO) then how you got there.

I get your point..you want to see sustained dominance. Not a team that squeeks in with no chance...(I think that was your point)..Anyway. A wild card birth, a division championship. I think at this point neiher would be seen as a fluke. At some point this franchise is going to have to rise up to contender status. Why not next year??IMO it wouldn't be seen as a 1 year wonder, but the begining of the end of irrelevance.

I don't understand why you keep comparing him to Welker. Wasn't the question whether or not he is a good slot receiver?

Free Agency should come down to 2 primary things:

1) Overall Game Plan - Which positions are you looking to spend the most amount of money on?
2) What is the "Right Price" for each player.

I understand that ELITE LT's have commanded big salaries. I respect Jake Long and saw his first 3 years as being ELITE. But his last two years have been declining and he has been hurt. Does that mean he is not worth resigning? No. But I am not a big fan of using a large amount of the FA $'s on him now and paying him as an ELITE LT.

I would rather spend the big $'s on guys who score TD's and create turnovers. I would spend most of my money on WR, RB, TE, CB, LB or S. I would scour the FA pool, determine best available at these positions and PAY THEM. Bush, Hartline and Fasano may be considered in the top talent at these positions in FA this year. But if the really aren't then the Fins can't afford to use the majority of their money on them. I think you can pick up a G or T in FA but I just don't want to spend big $'s on them.

Ireland and Philbin have to determine if the player's game has been going improving or declining and then determine how they fit into their overall plan for managing FA dollars. That is the "Right Price" for the Fins this year.

The "Right Price" should therefore be different for each team as their overall plan will be slightly different based upon position needs and how much they can really afford to spend on each position.

Justin, My New friend,

So tell me, over all the free agents on our team, who stays,and who leaves ?

Phins 78, who are you to call other peoples opinions stupid?? GET LOST MORON!!

Mark that's the thing! I haven't seen any negative comments until that post.

Commentators praise him, coaches praise him, players, analysts, etc. I've never heard or seen anything bad about the guy.

If promichael is talking about him having trouble on the flank because of his size and flat speed I agree with him. But he is playing out of position there. Slot receivers are usually smaller and have trouble with press coverage and their lack of size and speed doesn't allow them to get open much down the field. They have quickness that is suited for catches in the middle or outsides from the slot where they can make two cuts instead of one ( like outside wrs). Great in the 5 to 15 yard pass plays and yac.

If you think the team is trying to REPLACE BESS than you are everything you accuse me of being. Don't believe me? Fine. Ask someone else. Also, when Bess is lined up at his natural position next year getting open over the middle and catching everything thrown his way I'll be proven right and you can come back and tell me so.
The team is trying to replace Bess as one of their top receivers! He is a very average player who is on a team that has a history of not going after top receivers. Parcells hated drafting receivers in the early rounds and it has hurt the Dolphns regarding the talent level at the receiver position. Miami does not have the talent at that position and the league knows it. That's why the DB's can play the Miami receivers close up to eight years and get away with it.

Guy, I have like 15 minutes to talk Dolphins here. Im not wasting it getting into some childish back and forth because I called you out. You have 24/7 in here to find someone else who actually gives a s&%t what you think about them. Good luck on your hunt.

Armando, please ban Phins 78 for fighting and ruining the blog with his clueless stupid opinions.

Promichael I agree with everything in your last post. But I think you're a little confused, like you just read the story wrong. They are trying to get wideouts because Bess is not a wideout. They are trying to move him back inside exclusively. We had no one to fill that role so Bess had to man the position. They're not replacing him as in cutting him when they find someone to man the outside. He will slide right back to the slot and be as solid there as he has always been. You see what I'm saying?


I agree with a lot of your opinions on here, but in my opinion you just can't rank a qb as one of the top twelve due to his team making he playoffs...

Your eyeball test would really rate Dalton, Ponder, and Flacco, as better qb's this year than Eli Manning or Drew Brees?

I understand you're "seeing" they are in the playoffs, but with some of these teams it really wasn't "all about the quarterback"...

Wow I posted twice at the same exact minute. Don't know why it's wasting it's time. All of it's posts will be deleted shortly anyhow.

phins78 says,
Guy, I have like 15 minutes to talk Dolphins here. Im not wasting it getting into some childish back and forth because I called you out. You have 24/7 in here to find someone else who actually gives a s&%t what you think about them.
Dude you can not relate substance.....Why do the DB's play the Dolphins so close so that Miami can not throw underneath passes? With the current talent level that's what happens.

And again at 12:08, you're on a roll! Keep it going! How many times can you impostor me in a day? Honestly can I ask you a question, how much do you get off on this and are you sane enough to realize how crazy you are? Lmao

Promichael why did you just paste something I posted to the lonely troll and then continue OUR conversation beneath it? Hmmmmmmmmm, and with that, I'm out.

... I think some of you are missing the boat on Hartline and his vcalue to this team, both last year, and moving forward. Take away his numbers, forget about those for a minute. He is the one reciver that can play the 3 different reciever spots in this offense. Flanker, Split end, and Slot..

Nobody else offers this versitility. He is very good in any of those spots, and gives the offense options. There was a reason Tannehill,and Hartline had a good understanding between them. Hartlines was able to line up anywhere on the field and get open. The other recievers were bound to 1 spot. I'm sure if you asked Philbin, he would take a full corps of recievers that could play each spot with proficiency, with efficiency like Hartline.

Back to his numbers..The one stat that sticks out is the TD production.(or lack of)..We can play the blame game all day. I would say, look at the reciever talent. How easy was it to defend this team in certain spots? How irratic was the quarteback play at times? Hartline is not immune to the critique here, he has his shortcomings as well..My point is that with upgrades Hartline should be a huge part of a better whole. What he does for a team is probably more recognized by his coaches, and teamates, then by us fans.

Building a team means to keep your best players and get rid of the worst players. It is that simple. You don't dump Hartline,Bess, Starks, no way, that would be self defeating.

I would like to open a fast food restaurant featuring the cuisine of the tiny African nation of Togo.

It will be called Togo To Go.


This team needs to be built looking at 2015 as the year we become a sb team. Father time probably allows Brady/Manning 2 more great seasons, then he comes to claim.

So by 2015, its seems the Colt(Luck) seems most poised to be the Afc's most dominant team. Bt then the road to the sb most likely goes thru Indy. Therefore, beginning this offseason, I would like our entire recievings corps to have an entirely different look.

I would not want to be facing the Colts in 2015, with a chance to go to the sb, and Hartline/Bess is still on our wr corps. We need to sign Jennings/Wallace and draft 2 wr's. Beginning in 2015, I want to be facing the Colts/Luck with absolutely as much potent offensive fire power as possible.

The road to the sb goes thru Brady/Manning at least for the next 2 seasons. The afc teams best built to become dominant, beginning in 2015, will become the new kings of the American Football Conference.

So our fo has 2 seasons to get this thing absolutely right. If we're to become that team.

This offseason not only has being a good team in 2013 at stake. With Manning/Brady beginning the backend of thier illustrous careers(2-3yrs left).

This offseason will indicate if we're going to be one of the afc powerhouses once Brady/Manning are done in those next 2-3yrs. The Colts have positioned themselves to become the dominant afc team when Brady/Manning are done.

If we dont get it right this offseason, we will not even be in position to wrestle away the afc east crown from Mallet led Pats.

So in 2-3yrs when Brady/Manning are ready to hang up the cleats. Our most realistic chance of going to and winning a sb, will first be to built, to takeover the afc east from Mallet and the Pats.

So however you envision this offseason, I highly suggest to you and this fo, to envision it with a roster best suited to wrestle the afc east from Mallet and the Pats. Then envision what kind of roster it also needs to be, to get thru "Indy" to get to the SB up to 3yrs down the road.

Three years ago the 49ers were one of the most dysfunctional teams in the NFL and nearly everyone had the Eagles penciled in for greatness after their free agency binge.

I wouldn't begin to hypothesize what things will look like in 2015. You can make logical guesses, sure, but be assured they will prove to be 90% off base.

If I were a betting man, I would bet the 2012-13 sb champs comes out of the afc this year. That will be either Brady/Manning because Andrew Luck isnt quite ready yet.

But I wont be surprised if Luck got the Colts into the 2nd rd this year. Luck will lose to either Brady or Manning in the 2nd rd. I expect the Pats/Broncos to play in the afc championship game this year.

The winner becomes nfl sb champs.

Also, it wouldnt shock me at all if the Skins or Seahawks upsets and represents the nfc in this year's sb game. Keep a watchful eye on that guys.

I don't think anybody would be shocked by a Seattle run through the playoffs.

In fact, it's mentioned constantly by the TV talking heads.

Posted by: Crystal Balls Have Cracks | January 05, 2013 at 01:09 PM

These are not logical guess. This is supported by nfl history. Go back and look at all of the sb winners. How they were built, who dominated, who was poised to dominate next.

I have done my homework on this. What I have posted is based on how the chronology of sb champs have followed year after year. Teams built to be dominant usually have more than one sb appearance.

When father time begans to claim the dominant team. then there are 1-2 seasons of one and done sb appearance teams until another dominantly built team begins to rise.

So before you begin to try and discredit a post. First do you proper homework too.

Darryl Dunphy,

Your logic and writing style on your 12:23 post should be bronzed! Classic DD post that reflects that you contribute mightily to this blog with quality content.

I am not sure why people are arguing that Hartline and Bess are not very solid pieces. I would not overstate either one as a world beater but with good play calls and quality play design both of these players will accel as Tannehill becomes more accurate, better able to look off coverage and disguise his intentions with better ball handling.

Bess is and should always be a slot receiver. He moves outside when there is a wrinkle or most often when the injuries demand it. He is much better served inside.

Hartline is blossoming and seems to be hitting stride. With just 2 "Other" WRs that have top notch skills (Draft and/OR FA's and I prefer one each) then Hartline will have to be less accounted for. This should cause him to slip away uncovered more often.

In the end, Tannehill missed quite a few open shots down field to a number of different players of all types (WR's,RB's,TE's) this year. Chalk some up to learning curve, some up to bad OL play and some may be that just like in College he can be erratic. Let's hope that last one dries up with more reps.

I feel they need to try hard to grab TE Eif or Ertz in the upcoming draft as they need more dynamic players at that position. Maybe pick up TE Cook from Tenn as he is a bit of an athletic freak with some upside yet go. This means the price may be right. Team him with crafty Fasano and we have even more pressure on the DEF.

If they bring back Bush (solid hands) and incorporate Miller on the field with Bush more in a receiving role in the upcoming year the offense can be light years ahead.

Cheers my friend!

Yesterday's Gone 4Ever!,

It will take 4 years AFTER Irescum is fired for a GOOD GM to fix this team....IF they hire a GOOD GM!

Speaking of the Seahawks, that was one of the games that convinced me not to take the opinions on this board very seriously (not that I ever really did).

Miami beat a VERY good Seattle team that afternoon--a team with an outstanding defense--yet it mostly the same, tedious bitching and moaning here.

I wonder how many of you even ENJOY football sometimes. Seriously, if all it does is make you angry then why on Earth would you even be interested in it?

'LOL!!! Don't worry Yesterday, I spelled bou instead of boo today and the Queen of England corrected me right away...Basically called him every name in the book, calling him a whiner with all the "Armando, check this for me and that and Armando bla bla bla..." And the best thing he could tell me was my spelling was wrong...LOL!!! Anyway, I'm done with that idiot...'


Your obviously NOT done with me, because you keep making reference to me. This was from last night, and must have been the TENTH you've said 'I'm done with that idiot'.

What's with the obsession, bud? Does it make you feel better? All you seem to do on here is call everybody an 'idiot' who doesn't agree with your opinion. Must be a Quebec thing, 'cause last time I checked, we live in a democracy (look the word up, as I notice you have trouble spelling the small words).

Have a good day....

YG, any chance you might change your name to 'Captain Obvious?'

Your "insights" are hardly revelatory. Let's see: Teams with top QB's tend to be Super Bowl contenders. Gosh, who knew??

Posted by: Crystal Balls Have Cracks | January 05, 2013 at 01:09 PM

Also, your "Philly" analogy is way off based from what I posted. What I posted was based on onfield play not projection.

Im not projecting anything. I base it on how past championship and dominant teams are built and what they showed when they were also on "the rise".

Luck is a future championship calibre qb. He's already been surroundded with offensive weapons. Within the next 2-3 seasons, the Colts only need primarily focus on building a championship calibre, or close, defense.

The Colts are poised to become a dominant team when Brady/Manning are done. The bulk of thier work only remains on the defensive side of the ball.

Mr. Aloco,

Sorry I logged right after I posted as it was late on the West Coast.

Thanks for the kind words bro! I hope things are rolling along nicely in the new year for you and yours.



Sup man!

While I totally see your logic and the 2015 prediction sounds like it may be a dead on call I can't see looking that far ahead.

The NFL is a full grown mans game of attrition. Guys go from the penthouse to the outhouse in season or two...ask Jake Long.

Every player is but one Lawrence Taylor hit away from ending their career or at least never being the same player. This as well as cumulative damage from life in the NFL and it's very hard for me to see the 2015 tea leaves.

If I had a prediction though it would look very similar to yours as your logic is sound bud.


I am not sure who HAS or who has NOT seen this hit from DT/DE Jadeveon Clowney vs Michigan in this years Outback Bowl but here it is...



It may be one of the best, hardest hitting Defensive plays I have ever seen. It seems like this tough play is the reason most like to watch football. Like those that watch races like to see the crashes.

He sure would make a stellar Fin!!!


Tannehill isnt taking the Dolphins any further then Henne did and anyone that thinks that is drunk on kool aid just like they were gaga over Henne.....The Dolphins do not have a franchise QB. They better keep drafting QB's or they'll stink for another 5 years.

Captain Obvious should be reserved for oscar canosa, no?

Interesting posting on Hartine, If the Phins pickup Jennings which seems imminent we will have 2 slot receivers Bess and Jennings, rumors are around the phins are that they are going after Wallace and Finley. So given that lineup I think Hartline could be better than Welker, I also heard they will franchise tag Shaun Smith, I would let him go and go after Eric Berry and Revis. I think our secondary is our biggest concern after the offense. Please get another pass rusher to help Cam, and sign Bush trade D tomas, and give Brandon jacobs his job

to reality i seem to remember a Qb named Dilfer who lead the ravens to a Superbowl win, as per Dilfers words Tannahill is a top 5 Qb (remains to be seen) this franchise qb thing is old how many Star qbs are there and how many teams are there. (Peyton, Brady, Rodgers, Eli) what about (Ryan, Flaco, Rberger, Cam, and Schaub) and Rookies (Luck, Rg3, Wilson, Kap, and T-Hill) your thoughts

To Rob in OC - Clowney is a stud to bad he is Jr and is not comming out this year

Hi Reality,

I don't profess to know what ceiling Tannehill has but it would seem that with only 19 college starts, limited rotation 3 QB camp snaps he did make many positive plays with what most called a very sub par receiving core.

I am with you on NOT slapping a "Franchise QB" label on the guy as our sample size is just too small for that. I would also reserve that title for a QB that definitely can put a team on his back at times, when called upon and lead the Fins to the playoffs. Time will tell if he can cut down on Ints and see the open players better as he makes his reads as well as complete the ball.

I will say that I have already seen more from Tannehill on the must have intangibles (awareness, better mobility, pocket presence) side in his brief stint than I saw from Henne in his Miami career.

Henne doesn't have it, and will be replaced in Jax soon. He will hang on and bounce around the league as a bench guy and that is about it.

If Henne is a QB of any stature the Jags will keep him as the starter and draft around him. If not he will be replaced. I would bet on the latter.

Not sure how Henne still warrants comments after 4 years of futility Miami.



Too bad indeed. I should have qualified the comment and said in 2014 Clowney would make a stellar Fin.

I also agree that the "Franchise QB" label is being doled out like conjunctions "and, but n or" by too many folks.

Let Tannehill accomplish some things before pundits, talking heads, fans etc proclaim our QB search is over. At least it's a promising start but as with the two overtime games we see how fast one goes from hero to zero. If Tannehill converts a few more first downs or makes a distance toss for a TD we don't even need Carpenter's leg.


Gotta bolt. Catch you guys later!


If I cost my "organization" 6 million dollars I dont think I would have a job the next day.

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