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Why the wide receivers need to come from free agency

On Tuesday, NFL.com's Albert Breer released his first mock draft of the offseason (of which I suppose there will be many) and had California wide receiver Keenan Allen going to the Dolphins with the No. 12 overall selection.

Today, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper will conduct a conference call with media from around the country. On Sunday and Monday, NFL personnel people and coaches will begin their trek to Mobile, Alabama for the annual practices leading up to the Senior Bowl.

Yes, draft season has begun.

And I will be as excited as always to see what the every team does. This will be a seminal draft for the Dolphins as they have five picks in the first three rounds and those will determine the direction of the franchise for years to come. So this draft needs to be a home run for Miami.

But ...

This draft is only part of a strategy I believe the Dolphins must use. I continue to advocate and indeed demand that the Dolphins be major players in free agency, particularly as it applies to the wide receiver position.

Draft Keenan Allen if you like, Jeff Ireland. Draft Jason Allen or Armando Allen for all I care. But when you get to draft day, you better have a playmaking wide receiver or two or three (three is best) that was signed via free agency on the roster already.

Why?

  1. The Dolphins have sucked at drafting wide receivers under Bill Parcells/Jeff Ireland. Patrick Turner. Bust. Clyde Gates. Bust. B.J. Cunningham. Bust. Rishard Matthews. No idea but not a star. Brian Hartline. Good player coming off a breakout year. So one drafted wide receiver out of five has found success in Miami. Not a good percentage.
  2. Rookie wide receivers take a while to develop. And for a team that has failed to even identify good receivers, it is a leap of faith to believe this year's crop will not only buck the trend but develop instantly.
  3. I'm tired of covering a loser. You're tired of cheering for a loser. The Dolphins are on a losing skid, having four consecutive seasons in which they have lost more than they won -- 7-9, 7-9, 6-10, 7-9. That represents the four worst years in franchise history. I know you've read that last line before. I intend to write it over, and over, and over again, until it sinks in because it is unacceptable. And yet, not addressing the biggest position of need until the draft where I've already shown you this team apparently has trouble identifying talent, and furthermore doing it for a position that takes time to develop anyway, is a message that 2013 will likely be another year of waiting for better days. That is a loser approach. Not acceptable.

The winner approach is the one proven over time by multiple teams. The approach to take is if you have a young quarterback, you are better off giving him experienced, talented receivers to ease the sting of his growth.

This season, three rookie quarterbacks had greater success than Miami rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. You can argue they were simply better. Part of that is correct. But they also had experienced receivers that helped them. And not just experienced receivers but outstanding experienced receivers.

Andrew Luck did very well in directing seven last minute comeback victories for the Colts. He has Reggie Wayne he can throw to and Wayne is nothing less than a future Hall of Fame candidate.

Robert Griffin III took the Redskins to the playoffs. And he had experienced and outstanding Pierre Garcon and Santana Moss, another experienced and very solid playmaker to throw to. Moss is a former Pro Bowl player.

Russell Wilson is another rookie who was also better than Tannehill. He had Sidney Rice, a former Pro Bowl and 1,000-yard receiver and Golden Tate, who is in his third year and coming into his own. Rice and Tate combined for 14 touchdown catches. That's one more TD through the air than the entire Dolphins team managed in 2012. They also both averaged over 15 yards per catch, which is better than any Dolphins receiver had in 2012.

The point is young quarterbacks have a difficult job. But successful teams try to make that job easier by giving those QBs very good, experienced receivers.

This is not a new approach.

When Peyton Manning came into the league, he had Marvin Harrison as a three-year veteran. When Matt Ryan came into the league, the Falcons went out and got him future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez to throw to. Phillip Rivers had more receiver talent around him than he knew what to do with and that included Antonio Gates. Ben Roethlisberger had Hines Ward, another borderline Hall of Fame candidate. Tom Brady's first-year as a starter he had Terry Glenn and Troy Brown. The Giants got Plaxico Burress in free agency for Eli Manning's first full year as a starter.

Sure, there are examples of quarterbacks and receivers coming up together bursting on the scene like a lightning bolt. Dan Marino, Mark Duper and Mark Clayton. But that is the exception rather than the rule. That is a once-a-generation thing.

You have a young QB and you expect him to succeed, get him a wide receiver who is very good and very experienced.

That is the reason I say adding the wide receiver in free agency is vital. If the Dolphins do it, they'll have a young QB but he'll be throwing to ready-made guys such as Mike Wallace and Greg Jennings and Brian Hartline -- hopefully all three! -- and have a choice of open, reliable, proven, big-time receivers.

Go through the draft and Tannehill will be throwing to guys who aren't sure about the speed of the game, are learning NFL defenses for the first time, are cross-eyed about playing 16 games and might hit the wall, and are unschoold about the veteran tricks of the trade. Worst of all, he may be throwing to guys that we eventually identify as busts.

Are the proven vets going to cost a lot? Heck yes. But it will cost less than 2009 when Miami put an offensive line on the field that cost $154 million in total contracts and that group scored, let's see, zero touchdowns.

The built from the inside out approach failed. NFL teams today don't pay the grunts. They pay the playmakers.

The Dolphins need playmakers. Wide receivers are playmakers. Wide receivers make their biggest impact when they have experience. The Dolphins have failed to identify receivers in the draft. Young quarterbacks are usually more apt to succeed if they have experienced wide receivers. The Dolphins have a young quarterback.

Is the puzzle coming together for you?

The Dolphins need to address the wide receiver position in free agency to maximize their chances of success. Period.

Comments

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I have to point out that the last two free agent receivers were "big names" in name only. Marshall was overrated unless he has "his" quarterback and Chad was a crazy mess.

If Miami can get a proficient WR lacking the "touched" in the brain insanity, that would be fantastic.

I would spend on upgrading the o-line, d-line, and secondary.

Go look at Brady's wr's that he has won the Super Bowl with. A bunch of no names. Armando, I can't believe you said troy brown and terry glenn...hahaha...Brady made troy brown look good...brown was an okay wr.

Go look up Brady's wr when New England beat the Rams, Panthers, and Eagles in the Super Bowl...all no names.

The game of football is won and lost at the line...Brady has all day to throw the ball...all day.

To be a successful NFL team...you need a good o-line and good d-line and a QB that doesn't crack under pressure and can win you games late in the 4th quarter.

We do need an upgrade at the WR spot but I would not break the bank on wr's.

jpao, I don't mind Bess, Hartline, Fasano if they are not our front line. They are not the quality receivers that will get us out of mediocrity. We need a seam threat at TE (Fasano ain't that). And we need 1 (or 2) WRs that can get open anytime, and are a threat to score every time they touch the ball.

Bush is our only legit playmaker, so yeah, I probably keep him. If we get the other weapons, then Bush and Bess become extremely valuable because defenders will have to worry about covering everyone else, and those guys should get a lot of LB coverage which they should be able to exploit (along with the TE).

dude said david martin,lol

jpao: Sorry I didn't get to respond to your posts; I didn't get to read them all until late yesterday (we're on different blog shifts, I guess :). You made some really good comments and breakdowns as did others through the PM and I liked the exchanges. Maybe a little more discussion wouldn't hurt?

I made the original post because Armando and many others are wanting the Dolphins to go after some big names in FA -and that's OK by me. I'm certainly not against getting more firepower on offense or better play from the DBs on defense. I was just wanting to know, with the cap and all, how the Dolphins can arrange it.

For instance, your breakdowns were fine except for one small point: Jeff Ireland has to use the $11M you designated yesterday to acquire a free agent TE and WR, for signings of up to approximately 10 additional Dolphin players that are also free agents; this is in addition to the draft signees. He will probably need a few $million left in reserve just for FA signings that will occur before, during and after Preseason.

So while the Dolphins cap money looks big at first glance, it shrinks very fast when one tries to build next year's roster out of names we know from the 2012 team. And if one tries to add some big names for 2013, the cap money shrinks even faster and/or the team we know diminishes.

Between letting some players walk in FA , maybe cutting/trading others or restructuring existing contracts, can the Dolphins find money for the signing of a big name FA? And if they change the roster so significantly, can they field a competitive team even with the big name(s)? When one sits down and does the arithmetic, it's a different game.

Welker, Boldin, and Hartline 15 million that helps you create the style of offense that San Francisco ran back when Montana was running the show.

Better get one of the Bama players in the first not many shure things. And if you let Long Walk bringing in Warmack helps the talent on the line.

Go Dolphins!

Armando, how can you say that BJ Cunningham was a bust??? This was his first season in the league and he was a late pick in the draft...he was Miami's 6th round pick. Lol you make it sound like these wr's that Bill/Jeff missed on were 1st round busts.

I also really think that Rishard Matthews will get more playing time next season and he looked pretty good when he played. He make some nice catches this past season. Turner was a bust and Gates may be a bust because they were drafted higher but they were not 1st round picks.

White was a bust...he was Bill's 2nd round pick and he looked afraid in the pocket...he was a Bust.

AndyNJ This is what he did, 36 receptions, 366 yards, 10.2 per reception, Hartline was 74 receptions, 1083 yards, 14.6 per reception. Who's the playmaker here Andy, who would you take from that line. Well I will tell you, Jennings is the receiver with the 36 receptions, Hartline is the one with 74. Receivers age very quickly, and at 30 next season Jennings is approaching the age that receivers skills diminish.

Miami was 17th in pass protection (so middle of the pack). Also, there were 6 Playoff teams who were worse than us. So using our o-line as an excuse for our mediocrity is pretty silly.

We were mediocre because we threw a rookie QB out there with no (or very little) talent in the skill positions around him.

Note to posters, in 2013, not 1985. Just wanted to remind you football has changed.


Andy...Wes Welker is not a prima donna and we were stupid enough to let him go.

Get Wallace and steal Titus Young from the Lions. As a Phins fan in the D, h just needs better coaching, the kid is nails and if there was no Megatron here would have blown up!!!

I would sign Justin Hunter from Tenn great atheletic skill and a ballhawk...forget Wallace,Bowe (mental baggage) and Jennings (if the price is too high), Hartline too (again if priced too high)

I guess 3 good FA WR for about 15 to 20 of the 46 Mil we have, is a priority to get to the next level. Lets do it and see where we go without beefing up the OL, Finding good help in our D secondary, LB's needed, another DE for the pass rush, also another RB since Thomas is not the solution. I guess all these positions can be filled with rookies and we will be play off contenders this year. Also forgot resigning Hartline and Bush would use some more of the cap money.

Mike,

I agree I don't want Jennings lol. I am obsessed with getting Mike Wallace. I actually put a comparison of the 2 on here yesterday and Wallace is better in every way for this team outside of Jennings knowing the offense.

Armando,

The 5 WRs you mentioned, while all being busts, have one other thing in common.....none of them were first or second round picks. Seems to me if you're going to draft WRs, you're more likely to find success in rounds 1 or 2, no? Sure guys can make the argument that there are guys like Marshall, Colston and Wallace drafted later but it makes sense that your top talent comes higher in the draft. Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Randy Moss, Fitzpatrick, D. Thomas, Turner was the highest rated guy we've had in the last five years, going in the third round. Hardly seen as a big playmaker in College.

This regime has plugging the dyke like crazy from the cupboard being bare. Of course there have been bad moves but every team has those.

I'll stick to the argument that you don't win by winning in FA. It's a combination of the draft AND FA. The facts back this up, regardless of what anyone wants to say.

Thank you Armando! Ross, Ireland and Philbin better be listening

I also don't get this mentality of paying a WR $9-10 million dollars a year on a long term deal, when you get a younger guy for a FRACTION of that (let's say $2-3 million a year). So it's OK to throw WHATEVER at a FA WR but not OK to overpay for Jake Long. Huh? Would that be like, 'it's OK to overspend on where you vacation but not OK to overspend on where you go for dinner'? Huh? Who cares! It's all coming out of the same pool of money.

Yes. WR's score TD's but also the D needs to stop TD and should be able to create turnovers that could lead to scores. And that is something we are not able to do. Also the O line needs to either open holes for the running game or protect the QB, we have not been able to do the consistently. Lets spend a ton of money on FA WR's and have Tannehill pressured and sacked 7 times a game. I don't see too many completions to elite WR's when the QB is flat on his back. A lot more is needed to be a winning team besides only WR's.

If it's TOO easy an answer, then it's probably too good to be true. If it was as easy as just overspending for FA WRs then every team would do it and every team would have success. They don't.

I just heard there is another name to watch the name is Ace Sanders sophomore from South Carolina total playmaker he is Devon bess with more speed maybe a 3rd rounder

Everyone raves about VJax and what a difference maker he is. The reality is the Bucs were only two games better in the standings this year with him and the Chargers, while River missed a guy like that, their record wasn't any worse. But let's ignore the facts and pretend we're smarter than everybody else in the league.

This draft is very deep at wr de and te .....wich sounds good to me

..We need this, we should get him, or that guy. I appreciate that everyone has their favorite guys. Players we each believe will contribute. My issue is that we can give our wish lists. But we don't know what the team is going to do personel wise between now, free agency, and the draft.

For instance..Would we have to re-think the strategy in the first round should we lose both Starks, and Smith. Or Long, and Starks...Long, Smith? You get where I am going. Would we even think about a reciever in the first round, if any combination of these players are signed elsewhere?

I do agree with Armando. If I were GM, I would be looking for Veterans at Guard, @ WR, @ Corner. Before anyone says, or brings up the money thing. Get away from the idea every free agent is going to break the bank. There are the top players, then the rest. If indeed we are running a system here(which some have said is wha"Philbin is doing". Shouldn't we be able to plug in players that fit these molds? This should be the job of the general manager, in concert with the HC to do this. Don't forget. I read here earlier this season that Philbin is different from Sparano, he develops guys, he is smarter, he is the next great Dolphin coach. All the hyperbole that comes with a new guy we don't know enough about..We will see.

I have no problem with signing a wr and te it's a must but you build with draft picks in our situation it's a must to add proven stars at those two positions

This is a huge off season and it starts march 12 . It's time to reshape our roster in our coaches vision

So I think the Phins will need about 15 million of that cap space for the rookies and free agent space heading into next season. I'm also wondering how many compensation draft picks we would get if Smith, and Starks walk and what round they would be for. That seems to be how the contenders keep up a flow of good young cheap talent onto their teams. Trade vets while it's possible to or let them walk in free agency and get a pick in compensation.

As for using the 30 million we have left (see above) on wide receivers I agree that we will most likely go for one in free agency and I think it will most likely be Jennings because of cost and history with our HC.

I hope the draft includes CB x 2, S, LBs (1 ILB, 1OLB), OG, OT, DE, WR, RB. Not in that order just in general.

And if the player we target is gone at 12 I have no problem trading back in the first round for even more picks.

If we lose players this off season the pick we get are for next years draft not this year

DD,

Very good points @ 10:12am. This stuff is fluid. A lot of what we will hope to do in FA and the draft will depend on what happens with our own FAs. Totally agree.

The Shriners game is on sat. The senior bowl is next sat.

....Craig M..I"M sure our priorities, the draft board will change from today, to the draft. Not just because of the free agents we may lose, or may sign. But the evaluation period is still in it's infancy. Teams are going to fall in and out of love with guys. Alex Ogletree is going to be everyones favorite linebacker after the combine, TE'O relegated to the top of round 2. (my point here is there will be over-reaction from the combine, Ogletree is a good player, he is just going to dominate the workout) Anyway, guys that are off the board, or who we think are first rounders will be shuffled. A long time to go yet.

DD,

Absolutely agree with players that fit the mold. Just hope Philbin and Ireland are having daily lenghty conversations about the players he needs , enough to brain wash Parcells philosophy out of him.

...Gotta roll. 3 hour drive today to visit a specialist for my freekin back..Not healing. Sucks.

DD,

I want to see the WR and TE positions upgraded BIG TIME! But that doesn't mean I feel our first pick should automatically be a WR or a TE. Nor do I feel we should blow our budget on the two positions in FA. I want us to maximize our draft and FA and I don't believe the approach above does that.

It's very clear to me that we're going to be playing for the two WC positions every year UNLESS we learn how to beat Brady and the Pats. So that really cuts down on on playoff chances every year. Only way to beat Brady is to get in his face and you don't do that by continuing to draft WRs and CBs, as much as we need those. It's PASS RUSH....only chance.

Excellent and fair post Armando.

The Dolphins cannot win without playmakers. While some limited attention should be made to improve OL, DE, LB, and CB positions, the bulk of work needs to be on finding WR, TE, and RB talent. A new young QB prospect would be wise as well just in case of injury or Tannehill flames out.

At least one WR and TE needs to come from free agency. Perhaps an OL from free agency as well.

My only issue with the free agency period and draft is the general manager running the show. The Dolphins have not drafted many elite players the past five years.

Why the wide receivers need to come from free agency??

BECAUSE IRESCUM CANT PICK HIS NOSE!! LOL

Or trade draft picks for an established WR

need a QB in the 1st or 2nd rd.

I'm hoping/expecting Ireland will be fired before the draft.

Two things,

One can you (or someone) put together a list of starting qb's and their top 2 wr's salary's. Point being Miami has very cheap labor at qb compared to most other teams because of the draft. Therefore, they have more money to spend at other positions such as wr's.

Two, two names that haven't been brought up are Victor Cruz of the Giants and Percy Harvin of the Vikings. Cruz will be restricted with first round pick compensation, and Harvin by all accounts will be available in a trade. Any way we can take that "acorn" that Ireland got in the Davis trade and flip it for either of these wr's and still sign Mike Wallace? I understand along with the pick will have to be a new contract, but this will definitely address the wr position for years to come and then we have an explosive, fast strike offense (assuming we can find a TE hopefully Cook in FA). The draft can then used for the OL and Defense.

Thoughts?

You don't fire your gm right before the draft moron

We're drafting the OG from 'Bama.

Duper and Clayton's best season was as good as Hartline last year but no better. They are worshipped too much.

Marino had 4 good seasons, the last one being 1986.

After that he was a pick 6 machine.

100% agree..WR take a while to develop, and we need veteran to help out(play making)

Armando Salguero this is your best piece since the one where you projected yourself as the GM of this team.I think you are exactly right, almost ALL rookies at ANY position are not IMPACT players in their first year.Now that you know Ross or one of his assistants reads this blog(as per a recent post of yours)I hope he or his help, like this one better than the GM blog.WE will find out a lot about Ross's agenda this off-season.I personaly hope the government dosent help him with the stadium until he has made an effort to upgrade the product on the field.

I like probably many of you here knew that when they traded Marshall and didnt get anyone to replace him in the off-season they were relying on too much hope with the receivers and TEs they already had.Ditto for the V. Davis trade.IMO they went into the 2012 season with LESS starting talent than they had to start 2011.Thats why I knew and was willing to bet anyone that they wouldnt finish 2012 with a winning record(9-7).To make the playoffs they will need to win at least 10 games in 2013.

Matt,

I like Cook from Tenn too. Don't know what the Titans cap situation is but I've read they will likely let him go. Don't know what the price would be on him.

I like Cruz a lot but would you give up the number 12 pick for him, 'cause that's what he'd cost. The other part is I believe the Giants have the right to match. I don't see them letting him go. So I guess I'd ask why pay all the money it'll take to sign him when I believe there are some good talents in the draft that will come at a fraction of the price. I'm not even convinced that WR at 12 is the answer, which would mean a 2nd rounder would be even cheaper.

wallace,jennings,harline,
and a 1/3rd of that axxhole irelands mess will be fixed.
2/3rds left 2 fix.
maybe by 2019.
lol

No, you dont fire Ireland RIGHT before the draft but anytime in the next 6 weeks would be good. See who he likes and then fire him. And pick other players!

Armando,

Having experienced WR is critical. I for one hope that the Dolphins do sign one experienced receiver before the draft. However, Look at the Patriots, Ravens, and 49rs. All in Championship games and none have a top 10 receiver. (No, I dont think Wes Welker is a top 10 receiver.) What they do have is very capable, cagy , profesional WR that work great as a unit. DON"T overspend on a primadona WR. It does not work and will bring only trouble.

aaaaah, ss crying about the d scheme and why he sux this past season and odick agreed w/ him.
c ya axxholes.
lol

Ross has to realize he has a lot better chance at getting public money if he fires Ireland and at least shows he's trying to win.

yeah, the worst losing stretch in franchise history isn't when u want to cry 4 some public $$$$.
lol

Why would a top FA WR even want to come here unless we substanstially overpay him? I think they'd rather go to a playoff team.

miami can afford 2 of the 3 WRs i like jennings and bowe combination. the TE spot could be fixed by trading down from pick 12 to acquire additional picks then snagging t. eifort who is a beast or ertz if they miss out on eifort. pick 12 is too high for eifort, but after those 2 the drop off is big. with the rest of the picks the BPA strategy works for me, but defense especially CB has to be a priority.

Ross may have had a shot at public money if he landed Peyton Manning and fired Ireland. But no politician is going to vote for aid for a billionaire in Miami unless he's accepting a big bribe. And especially after the Marlin debacle.

zonk, they will get free heat tix to play down here 2.
lol

11:18 migh be the FUNNIES post I have ever read on this blog....

Craig M...how do you feel about the post @ 11:18....

I agree we need to bing in jennings but f.u the dolphins are going to the playoffs next at worst trust me i can see it

sal, why do you think jennings and wallace will "break the bank"? miami has 45 mil estimate of cap space, signing hartline to a new contract will probably cost 4-5 million, both are coming off subpar seasons for a couple mil more i would take either of those guys.

funniesT....lol....

DAryl D...

Get better....

I still owe you a post....

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