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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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Salguero, Ireland hired Marshall as free agency, a 1k-yard receiver, only to fired him next year.
Ireland is the problem here, but you're scared or something to expose him or to say it openly. You mentioned somehow that he's incompetent in drafting good WR's, that the last 4 seasons are the worst in team's history. Well, who's been in charge of all that mess ?
Ans. J. Mother f@&#er Ireland, no more and no less. And yet, he's still the GM.
He's the main source of the failure, if not, tell me who is, other than Ross ?
As long as this infamous character manages this team, it will not come out from the deep hole it started to sink into year ago.

i ting really pixxed me off at tannehennes last depresser,
he said that he is gonna step away from football 4 a while,wtf??
yeah axxhole,that's what u need is less reps + film.
lol
f'n moron.

http://youtu.be/vx6pGFvDqt0 Cordarrelle Patterson WR Tenn... this kid is sick Armaondo.We need to get a young WR also so he can grow and gel with Tanne and this is the kid

allen from cal looks great but id take the corner from bama at 12

Do not resign none oc your FA's dolphins cause they all overrated by this ignorant fan base also C.Kelly was just named the new coach of the Eagles !! Start new get some real talent for a change in Miami !! You fools have been mediocrd for over 30.yrs PATHETIC FRANCHISE !!

Marchcool,

So what you're saying @11:51 am, is that Philbin wanted Marshall here and Marshall wanted to be here. Is that your stance? Does that seem consistent with what you know of Philbin? That Marshall is HIS kind of guy? Does that seem feesible to you? Why would any GM undercut his new HC and give him less of a chance to succeed, if it wasn't something the HC wanted. YOur theory makes no sense to me.

Tks for the info on compensation picks NJ.

Taggert 30 years? NOT

Conference championships (5) AFC: 1971, 1972, 1973, 1982, 1984

Division championships (13) AFC East: 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1992, 1994, 2000, 2008

Playoff appearances (22)

NFL: 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2008

Ireland stinks at drafting so everything has to come via trade or FA.

Craig, Ireland incorrectly thought Marshall was going to get suspended for a bar incident and traded him the day after the incident. Brandon was later cleared of all charges.

While watching the Fins during the past several decades, I'm constantly reminded of that saying, "a chain is only as strong as its' weakest link".

Unfortunitly, in an attempt to fix one link, the FO invariably wrecks another. The chain is so twisted and kinked, it can't be patched with one or two solderings...but needs entire sections rewelded.

Example: (1) We need work at the recieving corp. But first we'll dump the best we have at that posistion. (2) Our OL isn't what one would expect after the troubles of the past five years. (N.E. sacked Tanne seven times their last game.) We'll end up tearing holes in the OL before trying to fix it once again.

(3) So on and so forth...

I wish they would get it right. I'm sick of this team getting the wrong end if the stick vs the rest of the division. Namely the Pats.

While I agree with your post Mando,I have to add this one caveat:there were too many plays to count when Hartline/Bess were wide open,only to have Tannehill either not see them at all or miss the throw altogether.The two games that standout in my memory was the first Patriots game and the Niners game.You can't blame the WR every time.

Craig , Philbin ok'd OchoCinco so I'm sure he was fine with Brandon Marshall also. Lots of top receivers are divas.

"...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."

Mando,

Exactly!!! The only team that took a QB in the first round & didn't help their QB by drafting or signing FA's @ WR's, TE's, & RB's that actually produced this season is us.

Indy helped Luck with two rookie TE's, a rookie WR, & a rookie RB.

The Redskins helped Griffin with a rookie RB that rushed for over 1600 yards & signed Garcon & Morgan in FA.

The Browns drafted Richardson & then drafted Josh Gordon from Baylor in the supplemental draft. Even Travis Benjamin from our own backyard produced more than any WR we drafted.

So someone tell me--what the f#ck did Ireland & his staff doing to give Tannehill a chance this year??? Also bear in mind that Hartline wasn't even healthy this off-season & in the pre-season so it was not a given that he was even going to MAKE the team.

Still Laughing @ 11:18....should give me a chuckle all the way home....

Fin 77,

Not true at all. There's no evidence that's why he was traded. There were MANY incidents when he was here, with teammates and off the field. Are you going to ignore those?

While I agree with your post Mando,I have to add this one caveat:there were too many plays to count when Hartline/Bess were wide open,only to have Tannehill either not see them at all or miss the throw altogether.The two games that standout in my memory was the first Patriots game and the Niners game.You can't blame the WR every time.

Ralph,

Maybe you should be Tannehill's QB coach.

Fin 77,

Maybe you missed Hard Knocks. Philbin is the one who was quick to get rid of Ocho when he was here. I didn't see any puppet strings with Ireland hands attached to them. Philbin is his own man, which is how it should be.

After signing Mike Wallace, Greg Jennings and Brian Hartline. Sign Jake Long to play right tackle if not let him go.
Letting go Reggie Bush, Anthony Fasano and Sean Smith. Keep Starks, Soliai, Moore, Garner, McDaniel, .

WE MAY HAVE TO MOVE BACK UP INTO RND 2 TO GET SOME OF THESE PLAYERS.

Draft:

DEE MILLINER CB RND 1
ZACK ERTZ TE RND 2
EDDIE LACY RB RND 2
BEST OT OR CB AVAILABLE RND 2 OR 3
SHAWN WILLIAMS SS RND 3 OR 4
KEVIN REDDICK ILB RND 4
RICKY WAGNER OT RND 5

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.

Mando,

Seriously??? All three??? We'll be lucky if Ireland & Dawn Aponte sign one.

WHDP, Ireland drafted Jonathan Martin, Michael Egnew and Lamar Miller to help Tannehill.

Mel Kiper, who in his first mock draft has the Dolphins taking WR Cordarrelle Patterson (Tennessee) 12th overall.

LOL SEE ABOVE

WHDPs,

We've had this argument a MILLION times. It was NEVER about this year. You honestly think Marshall would have toed the line, stayed quiet while Tannehill learned and did everything Philbin and Sherman asked of him. HIGHLY doubtful! So I trust Ireland and Philbin to make that decision.

Now you're made that they didn't find a replacement. They had NO money to work with in FA. They weren't going to give up picks for a player. So that leaves them with what? The draft. The only fault in the whole plan is that they didn't use a third round pick on a WR. Of that I can't excuse them. But I also have to believe Philbin and Sherman were onside with the Egnew pick, otherwise why pick him. I think it was oversight on their part NOT to draft a WR but I believe Philbin and Sherman should share in this too.

Why does everyone have to help Tannehill? Cant Tannehill help his surrounding cast?

Craig, Marshall was traded the DAY AFTER the bar incident. 1+1 =2 And Philbin knew OchoCinco might be a problem before he signed with Miami! Duuuhhhh!

"Draft:

DEE MILLINER CB RND 1
ZACK ERTZ TE RND 2
EDDIE LACY RB RND 2
BEST OT OR CB AVAILABLE RND 2 OR 3
SHAWN WILLIAMS SS RND 3 OR 4
KEVIN REDDICK ILB RND 4
RICKY WAGNER OT RND 5"

Wally,

Sorry to burst your bubble but unless Dee Milliner gets arrested before the draft or fails a drug test at the combine he's going in the top ten & maybe as high as the top five. There's NO WAY that the best CB in the draft falls to 12. And both Ertz or Eifert are not falling out of the first round unless they run like a 4.7 in the forty. If you want either one of the best TE's in this draft teams are going to need to use a first round pick.

I just got off the phone with the agent for Mike Wallace and Greg Jennings and Brian Hartline (they all have the same agent as do 47 other WRs in the NFL).
None of his clients will be signing here.
Move on.

WHDP, Ireland drafted Jonathan Martin, Michael Egnew and Lamar Miller to help Tannehill.

Fin77,

Exactly. Egnew didn't see the field, Cunningham didn't even make the team, & Miller & Matthews were barely used. Now that's how you help a rookie QB!!!

Thanks Jeff!!! Keep up the great work. Ross should give him an extension.

Dont give that cheap SOB billionaire Ross a dime.

WHDP, yes Ireland failed again. Whats new?

Ha Ha stupid Phins phans.
Every year stupid phins phans wait for big time phree agents to sign here.
Then when phree agency start for real no big stars come to play in this phuced up place.
Only unemployed phormer NFL players come here.
This one big acorn pharm.
Acorn belong on end of wang not on phootball phield.
Stupid.

Yeah, acquire 58 receivers and don't worry about anything else. It worked for Detroit.

WHDP,
Just got off the phone with Ross.
He gives Ireland the 4 inch extension every chance he gets.

I say ignore Armando's advice and stay the course looking for acorns in late rounds. Just because it hasn't worked in the past doesn't mean it won't work in the future. Remember the adage, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn from time to time.

Ireland and Philbin had no idea OchoCinco might be a problem before they signed him?? Are u F'N kidding me?

Fin 77, Mando reported that the Bears and Dolphins had talks about Marshall months before the bar incident. Try to keep up with general knowledge if you want to play along, please.

i like Cordarrelle Patterson in round 1 as well over Keenan Allen, we might be able to get TE Ertz with our first pick in RND 2

We've had this argument a MILLION times. It was NEVER about this year. You honestly think Marshall would have toed the line, stayed quiet while Tannehill learned and did everything Philbin and Sherman asked of him. HIGHLY doubtful! So I trust Ireland and Philbin to make that decision.

Now you're made that they didn't find a replacement. They had NO money to work with in FA. They weren't going to give up picks for a player. So that leaves them with what? The draft. The only fault in the whole plan is that they didn't use a third round pick on a WR. Of that I can't excuse them. But I also have to believe Philbin and Sherman were onside with the Egnew pick, otherwise why pick him. I think it was oversight on their part NOT to draft a WR but I believe Philbin and Sherman should share in this too.

Craig,

Granted it wasn't about THIS year as far as winning but how can you build with your best WR, your best RB, & your best TE leaving for FA??? I'm not saying I want Bush back but we're going into next season with all question marks at ALL of the skilled positions. Thomas can't stay healthy, we don't know enough about Miller or Matthews, & then there's Egnew & Clay at TE??? The cupboard is BARE for next year & now we're going to count on the draft where Ireland & his scouts couldn't find a starting WR, a starting TE, or a starting RB if his life depended on it???

And don't even try to put this on a rookie HC or his OC. The scouts who work for Ireland find & rate the players. You really think Chuck Pagano & bruce Arians told the GM to take Dwayne Allen & trade up for Hilton.

Cordarelle Patterson also getting some love from Walter Camp on is latest mock. This kid scores in several different ways. Athletic freak. If he tears up the combine as expected, he will be our pick at 12 - just watch out for the Rams trading up ...

Mando, this is prob the only time I will ever write this, your absolutley correct!! Im so sick of tired of drafting OL and worry about the line. We dont have enough ppl who can score points, thats the name of the game SCORE POINTS PPL!! SO whhich ever guys on this blog got a hard on watching Chase Warmick block please go bust a nut and stop thinking about wanting to draft him. Give me Kennan Allen whoever just guys who actually scored TD in collge!

Mark, talk is talk. Try some logic if you can. The day after the bar incident. Get it now?

I'd like to see the Fins resign:
Long (at the right price)
Bush (only real playmaker)
Smith (CB FA is shallow - no depth on team)
Hartline
Starks

FA:
TE Dustin Keller - upgrade over Fasano
WR Jennings or Wallace

Draft:
1st - CB or DE
2nd - WR/OT
3rd - WR/CB

If we lose Hartline I'd take a long look at the a 2nd tier FA like Donnie Avery

personally, I'd like to see Bush, Long, Smith, hartline re-signed. Think they all have use if their demands fall in line with their respective production levels. I'd only bring in one outside big ticket free agent at WR. Use the draft and keep your best players.

Interesting list of former Fin WRs available in FA:
Ted Ginn
Derek Hagan
Greg Camarillo
Patrick Turner
Wes Welker

Out of those only Welker worth a look - but don't see him leaving NE

Yeah, Fin 77, trades of this magnitude take place in hours right? They don't take days or even weeks to come together. Not as easy as pressing the X button on your madden video game. Get it now??

Mark, Ireland said he was in talks about Marshall so he wouldnt look as bad. Just like Saban said Bress didnt pass his physical. Dont believe everything you hear.

Whatever fin, believe whatever you want I guess. Personally, I don't buy it.

Mark, if you're that gullible and naive I have some ice in Alaska to sell ya!!

WHDPs @1:00pm,

Can't disagree with too much of what you've said in your post. All I can fall back on is we have five of the first 90 picks and $45 mil to spend in FA. I think you're looking at all of the FAs we have as a bad thing and I'm looking at it as, 'here's a chance to get some of the players Philbin and Sherman want. Who do they want? Now that doesn't mean we're going to get everyone we want but I think it's a better situation than having a bunch of guys stuck on long term deals we don't want.

The Dolphins can sign both Wallace and Jennings. Wallace will want between 8-10 mil a yr. Jennings is along in age and will be cheaper. Jennings wont be back with the PAckers. If the Dolphins sign WAllace, Jennings will come. The draft can land Dolphins OLmen, defense, DBs, But this has got to be Jefferys best effort, he cant come away from the draft with doughts as he has in the past. Pat White,,,,Please.

I mean, if you want to ignore the constant run ins with coaches and teammates, if you want to ignore his public dumping on his teammates and the Dolphins organization at the Pro Bowl - that's up to you.

You can go on continuing to love that sack of garbage, MVP of the Pro Bowl, ahhaa- six years and no playoffs and four coaches fired. Go ahead, love him - personally I'm glad he's gone - just not happy that they didn't replace him adequately.

Long can GTFOH for all I care. Im sick of him taking up cap room and playing like garbage. I get hes a great leader and all but lets be real he was a turnstile this pass season. I guess Columblow rubbed off on him

sign Mike Wallace, Greg Jennings and Brian Hartline, it is time for a big upgrade at receiver and we have the cash....

Fin 77, Mando reported that the Bears and Dolphins had talks about Marshall months before the bar incident. Try to keep up with general knowledge if you want to play along, please.

Mark,

Then he should have gotten more than two 3rd round picks right??? For a Number 1 WR who happens to be a starter in the Pro-Bowl who caught 118 passes for over 1500 yards & had 11 TD's???

Even if you look at Marshall's last season in Miami he still caught 81 passes for over 1200 yards & 6 TD's with Henne & Moore playing QB, Ireland got fleeced.

What does the expression 'Sophomore Slump' mean?

Everyone keeps bashing Ireland....I guess I get the frustration...he has made some bad draft picks..but...every GM has their hits/misses.

He has some successful steps too:

He has gotten us Wake, Pouncey, Bush, THILL, Long, Miller, Jones, Hartline, and Martin. He kept Solai. He brought in Dansby when everyone saw him as the stud ILB free agent.

He avoided Orton and the kid from Green Bay (can't even remember his name at this point).

He has managed the cap to get us to this point where we have a healthy amount to spend on need positions. He has managed draft picks to get us 5 in the top 90 this year.

He has had to deal with major transition Tuna to Sporano to Philbin. He has managed through O & D system changes (3-4 to 4-3 and new West Coast O).

I think this is the big year that makes or breaks him. He has the opportunity in FA and the Draft to set the standard for this team over the next 4-5 years. Will they shine or will they sink?

Lets see how he does.

But cursing him for past moves is old, tired and worthless.

Fin 77, you don't move $40M in salary in a matter of a couple of hours... it's complex ... do you understand?

he was toxic here - it had nothing to do with the bar incident.

I believe his ignorant tirade at the Pro Bowl had 50* more to do with his trade. You can't have someone as your highest paid player or close to it that craps on his teammates in public. get it???

He must be a leader. Also love how he made no mention of droping 6 easy tds that year in Miami either. he's a sack of shite.

WHDP, I can't argue that two 3rds was adequate compensation either. Everyone here knows my thoughts on 3rd round draft picks - not very much - like lottery tickets. May win something or most likely worthless.

jpao, pls dont come on the board trying to vouch for Ireland. The team hasnt had a winning recored in 5 years, how can you justify that?? I dont get many of you so if we go 8 and 8 next season will you guys be satisfied?? Ireland deserves all the bashing he gets until we get a winning season. Hello, you play to win the game!!! Not get under the cap and all that other BS!

I never believed that Brees didnt pass his physical. Saban blamed the team doctors for the mistake?? And I dont believe a word out of Ireland or Ross's mouth either.

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