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Dolphins history with free agency? Not great

I did an impromptu live chat on twitter today during lunch. If you are not following me, please do so now to add to your Dolphins fan experience.

Anyway, during the chat someone asked me my opinion of the best unrestricted free agent the Dolphins ever signed.

So I went to my trusty media guide and looked at the names through the years starting in 1992 and was honestly saddened by how few truly impactful players this team has signed in free agency.

Now, there have been some good ones. There have been guys signed that started for several years. But great additions?

Few.

Far between.

Before running through the names, let me identify what an unrestricted free agent is. We're not counting street free agents because that's another category altogether. Cameron Wake would be classified as a street free agent because he was in the CFL and then made his services available to all NFL teams.

We're also not counting undrafted rookie free agents. Those are another classification separate from unrestricted veteran free agents.

I'm talking about players whose contracts expired with their NFL teams and now are free to shop their services with the remaining teams around the league -- a system that started in earnest in 1992.

Oddly, Miami's first dive into free agency was among its best. Tight end Keith Jackson signed in '92 and was a good player. But his time with Miami lasted a mere 42 games. Three seasons from October of 1992 through the '94 season made Jackson stay all too short. By the end of '94 he was talking about retiring and so Don Shula traded him in the offseason to Green Bay.

Granted, Jackson was better than any tight end Miami has had since that time. But his best season came in 1994 when he caught 59 passes for 673 yards and seven touchdowns. So he was very good, but his Miami time was shortlived.

He was replaced by another free agent tight end signing. Remember Eric Green? Yeah, terrible. He lasted one season in which he missed 39 practices. Yikes.

Keith Byars was solid, but again, he only lasted three full seasons.

Gene Atkins was a nightmare, Fred Barnett was a bust, as was Charles Jordan. Other WR busts in free agency? James McKnight, Derrius Thompson, Az-Zahir Hakeem (aka Az Hakeem), and Legedu Naanee.

Now, some good players did arrive. Don't think I'm saying free agency has been worthless.

Brock Marion and Kevin Donnalley were the only two signed in 1998 by Jimmy Johnson and both started and played well for a few years. Rich Owens came as an afterthought of sorts in 1999 and led the team with 8.5 sacks that year before falling off the map.

Jay Fiedler was a hard-nosed, hard-working, smart quarterback. But he was a game-manager. Can't say he was a bad addition. But you can't say he was the answer.

The 2008 free agent class brought Randy Starks and he's been excellent. But that class also included busts Keith Davis, Sean Ryan, Chris Crocker, and Justin Smiley. A pause here: I know many of you will say Smiley was not a bust. You'll contend he simply got hurt.

Well, the facts are Smiley signed a five-year contract and lasted only two. And he finished both those years on injured reserve. And he came to the Dolphins with an injury history and that history got longer in Miami. And I remind you, as I always do, that durability is a key critical factor in judging players.

So the Dolphins didn't get the length of years or durability they wanted out of Smiley. He didn't solve their problems for the time they expected. And the shoulder that was a problem in San Francisco was not surprisingly a problem in Miami.

Meanwhile, Jake Grove came in 2009. Same issue. Same result. Came with injury history from Oakland. Everyone pointed it out. Dolphins said it wasn't an issue. It became an issue.

Karlos Dansby and Richie Incognito came in 2010. Both good starters. Good job.

Kevin Burnett came in 2011. Another good starter signed for much cheaper than what Dansby got yet plays at about the same level. Very good job.

Then 2012 was worthless. Gary Guyton. Cut. Artis Hicks, Cut. Tyrell Jackson. Cut. Richard Marshall. Injured. Naanee. Cut. Jamal Westerman. Cut.

I can see why many of you are leery of free agency. I can see why many doubt this front office's ability to significantly improve the team in free agency. But ...

I remind you the players the club signed last year were basically stopgaps. None were expensive. So the Dolphins basically got what they paid for -- not much.

If the club dives into free agency this offseason, It'll be going into the deep end. That means Miami will be trying to add legitimate playmakers such as Mike Wallace. He won't be cheap. But his price won't be, either.

What happens as far as landing him or not? Well, the club's history for getting the player it really wants needs a reversal. The Dolphins really wanted Peyton Manning. Didn't get him. The club wanted Ryan Clark. Didn't get him.

I'm told the Dolphins will try to land Wallace.

We'll see.

 

Comments

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This is too easy. Who can beat the Heat? Expect a dismembering of the Team next year. No parity there.

oscar,

It looks like "ShowTime" South Beach, only in OKC tonight. LOL...

Norman Braman, who opposed the publicly-funded stadium for the Miami Marlins, and lead a successful recall effort against former Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, said the Dolphins stadium proposal is “welfare for a billionaire,” referring to team owner Stephen Ross.

“These are tax dollars, and sales tax dollars are dollars that fund our schools, that fund our police,” Braman said, adding that Miami Gardens, with high crime and unemployment, can ill afford tax money for football.

BS Cam Wake is the best that exclusion is just dumb. Let's exclude the street "free agent" because that wrinkles the narrative. Really are you kidding me Armando?

Braman scoffed at claims that an improved Sun Life Stadium would bring new development and jobs to the area, pointing to similar claims for the Marlins stadium project that have failed to materialize.

Ross, grow up and fix your business without handouts!

I saw a LOT of People working at Marlins Stadium, many, of the Black Race.

Most of the service industry in Miami is the very low class blacks and immigrants. Supermarkets, the DMV, banks, retail, taxis. it's mostly American and Haitian black.

It's like saying a green apple is not an apple because it's not red. That's just an awful foundation to the article. Did anyone ever mention in writing how to lay out the facts and support your position based off those facts? You can't redefine facts or called it's fiction.

Ross will make the improvements himself but he's playin Miami for suckers.

Posted by: dadsmithwest | February 14, 2013 at 09:28 PM

Armando's basically telling us this blog is his ball and he'll paint it any color he wants. LOL..

There is a sports bar in Ft Lauderdale by the beach, during the season in huge lights they have the Pats logo shining out front. Across the street is another sports bar and you see mostly Jets green. Its a region of out of towners, and foreigners, not a lot of local love here. The few local fans are the redneck bud drinkers and the cubans that were born here.

I sure would like to see the staium get an update. The tax $ may be SOP in most every other city but it is kind of bogus. But businesses should maybe get back for creating the things and opportunities they do. Maybe to try and create more.
I reckon if you don't like it you vote no, or buy the majoity and build it yourself.

Probably not having much impact here.

I'd rather see the team upgraded then the stadium. Who cares about the stadium when the team is so pathetic?

GO DAWFiNS!!
Woooooooooo!

No doubt the team is the Priority.

But the people that care the most are the one who get fat stacks yo, when big time sporting events come to town.

If Ross would upgrade the team he'd make plenty of money to upgrade the stadium.

I haven't studied Vaccaro but if he is the best safety that is impressive. I have watched Matt Elam of Florida, Reid from LSU and Swearinger, the South Carolina guy and they are all very good. If Vaccaro is better than them then that is a darn good player. That being said though and fwiw there is some depth there. Jonathan Cyprian of FIU is also coming off a great Senior Bowl too.

Upgrading the stadium is a waste. They did not build it with much future vision. Scrap it and build a new state of the art showcase stadium.

Make Jerry Jones jealous. Build it and they will come, and we will host even more SB's. It's a win win.

It is a different deal down here. You have to think outside the box. Make a new stadium so modern and ultra hip that even the non-fin fans will want to go, and slowly they will convert to aqua.

Ross is too cheap to upgrade the team or the stadium.

If Ross is too cheap, then he has a good reason to be. He knows how to become a billionaire. We don't.

I won't defend Ross or praise him. I will say he took over a team that was in a state of disaster. Let's give hiim a fair shot. He cleaned out the FO. Step 1 accomplished. Let's see how it plays out from here. Sparano is gone. Parcells is gone. Ireland had a good draft last year. Let the story play out.

Ferguson, yes, Ross is great at being a billionaire but he's a terrible sports team owner for the fans. Winning is VERY low on his priority list.

Ross is a jackass owner. He honored our opponent Tebow just to sell a few extra tickets.

Steve,

That is such a stupid comment I am stupid to even respond to it. I suppose if you owned a football team you'd have a SB victory in your first few years. That's never happened of course, but then again no owner has ever been as good as you would be.

Many of you I see lack perspective. Most of your gripes could be said about 90% of the teams. Drop the hate and make a fair comparison. If your mind is open enough to do so, you will be surprised.

Ross is a jackass. He tried to hire a HC before he fired his.

Ross seems pretty satisfied with 7-9 in his 5th year. YIKES!!

"I'm told the Dolphins will try to land Wallace."

Mando,

I just don't see it happening. Not saying the move doesn't make sense b/c it does BUT I see Jennings as a being a better fit. My gut feeling is that Bowe will re-sign with the Chiefs.

Anyway you slice it, Ireland is going to have pay through the nose if he wants any one of these WR's.

From The Finsider:
===================

“I still believe after watching him on film for years that Mike Wallace is mostly a vertical guy,” Cosell said, “that he’s not necessarily going to run those intermediate digs, or those short crossing routes with consistency.”

The Dolphins, of course, are not coming off a playoff berth. At 7-9, in 2012, they are not necessarily looking for a final piece that pushes them into the Super Bowl conversation as much as someone whose versatility would open up the offense.

This, Cosell said, is what could separate Bowe and Jennings from Wallace for a team in Miami’s position.
“Bowe or Jennings gives them completeness as a receiver whereas I think Wallace – I don’t want to say he’s a luxury because anytime you can lift the coverage like that that’s really good, but I don’t know if they have that luxury right now.”
=========================================

So, Cosell disagrees with Armando(and probably most of you). While not taking anything away from Wallace, he believes Jennings and Bowe are more complete and therefor, a better "FIT" for Miami and their current position. I don't COMPLETELY disagree with him either.

That's a pretty interesting take on the WR's and Miami's position. I would agree with **MAYBE** Jennings, with the only downside being his age. But **NOT** Bowe! Bowe definitely plays more physical, but thats really the only thing I see that he has on Wallace and/or Jennings for that matter. Then with Bowe you have all the baggage as well.

No thanks Bowe, not when were going to invest tons of money and place tons of responsibilities and expectations. Wallace or Jennings? Good question. Bowe? **NO THANKS**.
=====================

Aside from Cosell and his observations, I am almost starting to prefer Jennings over Wallace. I would be estatic with either, but if it wasn't for Jenning's age and recent injury, I would take him hands down over Wallace.

There's only one problem I have with Wallace. For all of his speed and skills, there's one area I just don't like. He doesn't challenge defenders for the ball. He won't go up and take the ball away from anyone either. He has to blow into the (wide)open and depend on a nearly perfect throw from Big Ben. Otherwise it's a wrap.

In Miami he would draw nost of the attention and ALL of the double coverages. And he wouldn't have Big Ben throwing to him either.

All things considered, I think Jennings would probably make the bigger impact.

Ross, save the Dolphins. SELL THE TEAM!!

Who the fuh cares what Cosell thinks? Just one more media opinion. Tell me what NFL team has offered him a GM job?

TGH, go play with your Barbie dolls

Irving fryer was decent and so was trace Armstrong !

I was just tossing the idea of franchising Hartline or Bush around, that's all. Not that I'm promoting it one bit! Jake Long would cost way too much. And, Hartline & Bush really don't have the production you'd like for their position. But, it is an option that Ireland could use on someone. However, you'd like to get some value with it too. Nowadays, even Kickers are expensive to franchise...

From Page 2:

I see some posts about Dansby not playing nearly as well as he did in Arizona.

While he did rack up some good stats, I think he came up short in alot of key situations. Virtually NO game changing plays nor turnovers.

Having said that, I have to say the **KEY** factor in my opinion is that he's simply been playing out of position.

I mean how many teams went out and broke the bank signing one of the biggest Free Agents available, only to play him out of position?

It's truly pathetic in my opinion. Now that we're going base 4-3 and need outside linebackers, I think we should do whatever we have to to find a Middle Linebacker and return Dansby too his true position.

I would just **LOVE** to see Wake and Dansby blitzing off the same side.

Dansby's simply talented enough to get away with "Filling In" at MLB! The best thing to do is get him back outside where he played like a Pro-Bowler!

Many of you don't realize the media pundits are wannabe's that were never good enough. Ever hear the old saying, if you can't do it, teach it? So these guys get PAID to write, they HAVE to produce articles on a schedule. But at the end of the day, they are just opinions that have no bearing on what happens, no different than ours. Their JOB is to draw your attention. Don't think for a minute they have an inside edge, if anything teams use them to spout their smokescreens. Our Armando is extremely gullible in this area.

fin4life/YG (from earlier),

I never said anything about comparing JPP's weight to Dion Jordan. What I said was 'JPP was said to be 'raw' and lacking in strength when he came out too'. Go back and look at some of the reviews of this guy and the knock on him was he hadn't played enough or shown enough at College and that he was more of a 'finese' player. You guys are the ones that introduced the weight difference. That's not what I said.

Thats why in my humble opinion I think Hartline can be a part of the equation here.

Posted by: Dolfan Rick | February 14, 2013 at 06:58 PM

I have to agree. First and foremost, the price has to be right. I've read that Hartline's Agent had to proposals, one @ 6 Million, another at 5 Million with more incentives.

Having said that, the people complaining about Hartline are just being ridiculous and VERY unrealistic.

YOU CANNOT HAVE 22 STARTING PLAYMAKERS ON YOUR ROSTERS! PERIOD!

Hartline devloped some nice chemistry with Tannehill and did it almost overnight. So, with Wallace blowing the tops off of defenses or Jennings juking corners out of their socks, Hartline will be **Playing A Role**. He's already proven a capable security blanket for Tannehill, Wallace or Jenning's should only help make him more effective.

Hartline runs great routes, has great hands and makes alot of those sideline catches look easy. He's also pretty damn good at moving the chains(led the team 2012).

So I repeat, YOU CAN'T HAVE 22 PLAYMAKERS ON YOUR ROSTER.

There's a role for Hartline to play on this team and he's proven he can play it well. He works GREAT with our Sophmore Quarterback. Most of all, Ireland has more than ample amunition to bring in guys that will help this team and help Hartline help this team even more than before!

I wish we could start Andre Johnson, Megatron and Wallace week in and week out. But that's being pretty UNREALISTIC. RIGHT NOW, we need to find AT LEAST TWO really good WR's. Hartline's the best we have RIGHT NOW and if it wasn't for him:

WE WOULD NEED AT LEAST 3 WR's!!!!

Sheesh! I'm tired of this ridiculousness! This ain't Madden Football!

Screw Jennings. He will be availabe for the same reason Long will be. Two years of injuries and decreased performance. Some of you get a name in your head and have illusions of grandeur.. Jenningis is nothing but average now. Stop your wet dreams!

Ross is more concerned with the logo, hard knocks, celebrities, and the stadium. then he is about winning.

Who the fuh cares what Cosell thinks? Just one more media opinion. Tell me what NFL team has offered him a GM job?

Posted by: Ferguson | February 14, 2013 at 10:45 PM

You JaxckWad! Cosell has already worked for NFL teams! Do you live under a Rock?

Just a few years ago he was offered a job running the scouting Dept of the Cincinati Bengals!

Next time you go a Trolling, at least **TRY** to know what you're Trolling About!

(See whast I mean about the ridiculousness around here-LOL?)

Thank goodness the free agency mistakes were not the fault of Jeff Ireland.

Furthermore, the REAL "Who Gives A Fuh" should be the following!
============

It is a different deal down here. You have to think outside the box. Make a new stadium so modern and ultra hip that even the non-fin fans will want to go, and slowly they will convert to aqua.

Posted by: Ferguson | February 14, 2013 at 09:57 PM
====================================================

Free Agency is about to start, the College Combine is coming fast and the draft looms on the horizon!

Yet here you are talking about Billionaires and Stadiums?

LOL - That's Rich Fergie!


Many of you don't realize the media pundits are wannabe's that were never good enough. Ever hear the old saying, if you can't do it, teach it? So these guys get PAID to write, they HAVE to produce articles on a schedule. But at the end of the day, they are just opinions that have no bearing on what happens, no different than ours. Their JOB is to draw your attention. Don't think for a minute they have an inside edge, if anything teams use them to spout their smokescreens. Our Armando is extremely gullible in this area.

Posted by: Ferguson | February 14, 2013 at 11:13 PM

Yeah, if thats the kind of guys **YOU** choose to listen too/read.

However, there are PLENTY of "Experts" out there in this day and age, that DID do it. That did coach, that DID build franchises into winners.

You REALLY did yourself a disservice in trying to sound so intellectually intelligent-lol.

Just Saying........

PS: Sorry about calling you a JackWad. I shouldn't have done that. My Bad, I just got a little excited there ;)

Ross, the worst owner in sports?

I see Cosell's comments and I think that is great as he watches more film than all of us put together. Regardless I don't think Wallace is a "luxury". Every team could use a player like that as it makes everyone else better. I can't say Hartline could do the same. Tannehill has a good deep arm and Wallace could run under many of his passes. The other guys can run the under routes. I mean did Mark Duper run a lot of under routes? He did occasionally but that's not how he made his living.

..The thing about guys like Armando is that they are easy targets. He writes a blog that is open to the public. He offers opinions, sometimes presents facts. I would imagine if any of us did the same. We would be ripped apart too. But. These guys to have way more access to people in the orginization, then any of us will ever. It isn't like Armando is making this stuff up when he says it comes from a sourse close, or within the team.

Take it as you will. I like hearing what he can give. How much information would we get if one of the bloggers here was the source? Not much.

Same for the F.A.G.S(football anaylist guys) People rip these guys all the time because they are offering their view of the game. They are paid to give opinions on all things football everyday. Of course they are going to be wrong sometimes. But who cares? Do you learn anything. Take Trent Dilfer for example. He is a much better anaylist then he was quarterback. He is wrong a lot. But, he can break down the position better than anyone here can. How many times has he been right on the money? See nobody remembers these moments. Only the times he may have been wrong.

DolphinDave,

I agree and there is no doubt in my mind that Hartline is not a "Super Star" that makes everyone else around him better.

Now, just like you implied that Wallace **IS** the type to make those around him better, I believe Hartline could very well be one of those that "improves" or benefits.

Hartline is young, has improved steadily and has had to learn Hennings, Daboll's and now Sherman's offenses. Considering that he can play all the WR positions, I think it's safe to assume he's intelligent as well.

So all I'm saying about Hartline is that he CAN be an integral part of this offense........for the right price. Because of Ireland's........."Curious(lol)" handling of the WR position, we're a bit pressed.

Also, if Hartlines Agent opened up negotiations with 5 and 6 million dollar proposals, I think you can assume two things.

1. Hartline wants to remain a Dolphin. Thats big or important in my opinion. Without even testing the market, he came to the FO with a reasonable offer. I think this obviously means he's buying into Philbin and what he's trying to build.

2. If Hartline's Agent started off at 5 and/or 6 million, you can rest assured that we can get him a little cheaper. I could live with giving Hartline 4.5 mil a year. Maybe even 4 mil with incentives.

So anyways, I said all that to ask you these two things:

1. Do you think Hartline is good enough to play a role in this offense?

2. Do you think he's worth 4 or 4.5 Million a year?
===================================================

Disclaimer:

I can understand people wanting to upgrade from a Hartline type of player. But when Hartline is the best you have and the next best is a rookie and a 3 year special teams player, you have to take it one step at a time(please don't mention Bess here. He's great in the slot, but we've all seen he has no business on the outside).

Darryl are you still out there?

I got something for you.

BTW Darryl, nice post. I couldn't agree more.

Armando does a **GREAT JOB** here. He takes a little break here or there, just like we all need and do. But for the most part, I think he's Excellent, even going above and beyond at times!

In addition to your post above, add in the "Crap Shoot" factor. Player evaluation in regards to the NFL is one Great Big Crap shoot by it's very nature. I believe many of those War Room Veterans would tell you the same thing.

Other than your occassional Andrew Luck or RG III, who the heck does get it right with any degree of consistency? Look at all the so-called geniuses when it came to Marino on draft day.

Ultimately, it's this uncertainty that gives us our little play room in which we all get to be Armchair GM's-lol! And after all, thats what most of us LOVE about it.

Oh well..........

It's **Telecaster Time**

I'm working out some Eric Clapton versions of some Robert Johnson Classics ;)

ValHalla!!!!

The draft is a "crap shoot" only for crap like Ireland.

Yes. we obviously need a stud or 2 at W.R ,... but please get a solid T.E once and for all!! don't remember last time we had an All Pro T.E ?? (they are under valued)

In watching an event, I get more info out of it than 99% of the People that watch it along with me. I guess it is as my esteemed colleague said. It's in my Blood.

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