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Will stadium vote cause the Dolphins to have more urgency this offseason to impress fans, voters?

This morning the Dolphins will make official what the Miami Herald confirmed on Saturday, namely that the team's attempt to secure hotel bed tax dollars and other tax breaks to help finance half of a $400 million upgrade to Sun Life Stadium would be put before the voters of Miami-Dade County in the next few months.

It's a gutsy move by the team. It's also something of a Hail Mary because even though local taxpayers are not generally having to fork over the money themselves, asking voters to  approve any tax increase of any kind (even when it's on tourists) is often not a winning proposition.

And it doesn't help that the county's elected officials did such a horrible job vetting the Marlins and dealing with that rogue organization as they negotiated a deal for the new Marlins Park. Public monies beyond bed taxes were used in that deal because the Marlins were losing money and promised to field a great lineup in exchange for their deal.

Except it was eventually learned the Marlins were making money. And the politicians never got the team to open its books before or after that fact came to light. And after one season of upgrading the roster, the club conducted a fire sale and will field a glorified Triple A team lineup this coming season to save money.

So the Marlins and the politicians that voted on their behalf screwed Miami-Dade.

And the fallout from that bomb threatens the Dolphins in this upcoming vote.

But ...

This vote also offers the Dolphins a grand, awesome opportunity. And, if embraced by the club, it can mend the recent narrow but apparent fissure between the team and its fans.

As you know, Dolphins' fans have not been thrilled with the recent direction of the team. The last four years of 7-9, 7-9, 6-10 and 7-9 were not great, but this break was coming well before that with Nick Saban lying and Bill Parcells splitting and Cam Cameron stinking.

So the love affair has been a little rocky and the historically low attendance last season was proof.

But, as I mentioned, this offseason, this vote, this time in team history is a grand and golden opportunity. Think of it, if the team reaches for greatness and that lights a fire under the fan base to turn out to the polls, we could go to August with:

1. A better team filled with promise and some actual proven stars.

2. A team whose house will be modernized.

3. A team that actually seems exciting to its fans.

4. A team that will remain in South Florida for a long, long time.

5. A team whose fans backed it at the polls.

And all this without winning a game. Indeed, all this without even playing a game.

So how does this happen?

Remember right after the season when I suggested the Dolphins handle this offseason in the fashion the Miami Heat handled the offseason in which they got Dwyane Wade re-signed, and added Chris Bosh, and LeBron James and Mike Miller?

Remember the offseason the Heat went big?

That's what the Dolphins have a chance to do this offseason with $46 million or so in salary cap space and five draft picks in the first three rounds.

And so that is the opportunity. The Dolphins can tilt the offseason, the roster, the fan base and the vote in their direction if they simply have the, um, fortitude to go big this offseason as the Heat did three years ago.

Get a bigtime playmaker or two in free agency. In other words, win in free agency. Then add talent in the draft that doesn't suggest you're going to be the same team you've been for a decade. Get that seam-threatening tight end. Get a promising safety to team with Reshad Jones. Get us some corners that knows how to do this thing recently foreign in Miami, what's it called? Oh yes, intercept the football.

Add a running back if you have to.

Hey, how about checking out the trade market, too. Percy Harvin might be out there. Explore, it! (I'm not ready to push for that move per se. But at least explore. Don't sit in a dark film room studying tape of the right guard from New Mexico, when freaking Percy Harvin is dangling out there.)

Dare to be great. And let your fans know as much.

Now, all this sounds like fanciful sportswriter mumbo jumbo, right? It's just a columnist with a vivid imagination sitting at his computer, eating twinkies and filling space.

Well, it would be that if I was lazy.

I'm not lazy.

I texted several of my Dolphins sources about this very subject Sunday. I asked if the team welcoming a vote would cause greater urgency to do something exciting?

The resulting answers were mixed.

First, the topic has not been discussed internally. Remember, the announcement is today. So there has been no grand strategy session within the organization to see if football operations can be helpful to the business side.

This, by the way, has to fall at the feet of owner Stephen Ross. He knows the business side has agreed to take the issue to the voting booth. He had to approve such a move. So once he got done with that conversation, why didn't he pick up another phone (my understanding is billionaires often have multiple phones) and call the football side and say, "Hey, general manager Jeff Ireland, we're doing this presser on Monday. We've got $200 million on the line here. The vote will likely be in May. I want to hear what you're going to do to help. And, you better help!"

That's the owner's job. He has business interests that represent $200 million dangling on a vote, it should automatically dawn on him to rally every asset within the organization to make sure the team does what most professional sports teams are in business to do: Win.

Win the offseason.

Win the fans over.

Win the vote.

(Peanut gallery speaking: "But, Mando, we want a team that wins during the season, not the offseason.")

Shaddup, ya foofs.

There are no games available to be played now, okay? And to win in the regular season, you have to build a team successfully in the offseason.

Anyway, I call on Ross, the head of the Dolphins organization, to get his business side hand and football side hand to speak to each other -- one hand working with the other -- and come up with a strategy that willl make the entire organization emerge from this victorious.

Is the business side into the idea?

Heck yes. In talking to a couple of people on that side, they completely agree that if football operations makes some significant advances or moves that convince fans the team is clearly going to be better, they are more likely to win the election.

"This would seem to be the time to make a statement," one source texted me.

That same source asked if signing a particular player would get fans fired up. I cannot divulge the name of the player used because my job is not to get sources in trouble for tampering. But suffice to say the player is a looming unrestricted free agent who makes plays.

I told the source it would help. But I believe it will take more than one player to light the excitement flames for Miami fans. Also, and more importantly, it's going to take adding more than one player to make the Dolphins much, much better. That's the beauty of all this. The business side would love signing several talented players because it helps them. The football side should love the idea of adding gobs of talent because it helps them.

Synergy!

So the business side would be pleased if this was the approach.

But, and here comes the newsy part of this post, the football side doesn't seem too excited with the idea at this point. I texted a couple of folks on that side, too.

I asked if the vote would bring greater urgency to get bigger name players.

"Nope," was one response I got.

"Doubtful," was another response. "We make football moves for the longterm well-being of the franchise, not to please fans."

Alrightie, then.

So, the football side is not on board at this time. It is going about things like this is another offseason that brings opportunities to improve. But it is not approaching this like it's make-or-break and $200 million and the long-term viability of the team in South Florida are at stake.

Do I agree with this?

Yes. And no.

I agree that winning rather than pleasing fans should be the goal. Always. But some people act like winning and adding bigtime players are mutually exclusive. BREAKING NEWS: Adding great players is what brings winning.

Also, if you're telling me that despite the need to please fans with a big name addition you would, as a hypothetical example here, refuse to pay Mike Wallace $15 million per year, I agree with you.

But, on the other hand, if you're saying you'd refuse to go to $10 million per year because you want to also add the $4 million per year guard, I'd think you're a certifiable dunce.

Deep threat. Imperative.

Guard. A grunt that isn't going to win you games.

(Peanut gallery speaking: "But Mando, you need good interior players too to win big in the NFL.")

Shaddup, ya twits.

You can't name the four guards that started in the Super Bowl and even if you could, you can't name one occassion when a guard scored in the NFL this season. And teams must score points to win. Also, the Dolphins have guards on the team already.

So where does this all leave us?

We have one side of the organization hoping the other side gets on board while the owner is in the middle having not yet broached the topic with either.

Let's hope this changes. There is still time before free agency. There is still time before the draft. There is still time before the NFL trade period opens. There is still time before the Miami-Dade County vote.

Most importantly, there is still time for the Dolphins to become a synchronized organization with all sides harmonizing toward a common goal. 

 

Comments

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5th Rd pick? You have to be kidding. Them are mainly training Camp fodder.

YG and others, I'm not sure if it has dawned on anyone yet so let me point this out.

A crappy stadium isn't attractive to perspective free agents. It will be their home, they spend most of their time starting in July and ending in January, at the stadium. This is certainly a factor in any players decision when picking a new team.

On a side note, there are also other teams that will be pursuing Wallace and the others. Why do fans in Miami still automatically think we can sign whomever we want as if this is a video game?

Players have to want to play for a team. We had the 12th worst record in the league, uncertainty at QB, head coach, and most every other position on the team.

Maybe we should be talking about WHY the players would want to come here instead of which players people want to be signed. Because you're all setting yourselves up for some major disappointment.

If I was a player the only way I'm picking a 7-9 team is if I had no other choices OR they would over pay me. And most of you are saying lets not over pay for guys.

That leaves us with players no one else wants which is the the norm in Miami. The only way we get these people is to grossly over pay imo.

DD,

Here's my mock:

My GM OFFSEASON AQUISITION ORDER SHEET

FA'S

1. Andy Levitre OG
2. Greg Jennings WR
3. Dwight Freeney --- Situational Pass Rusher

DRAFT--- Based On Trading Down(#20). Extra 2nd Rd'er

1. Deandre Hopkins WR
2a. Tyler Eiffert TE
2b. Stedman Bailey
2c. Matt Elam S (UF)
3a. DJ Fluker RT/OG/C
3b. David Amerson CB
4. Stefon Jefferson RB Nevada
5. Tyrann Matthieu CB/S/Slot
6. Sean Porter OLB
7. Best Available Kicker

Many holes get filled with this draft. As a gm, I would try to sell Dwight Freeney on coming into become a situational pass rusher to prolong his career. Make him my Charles Haley.

..I am for anyone that makes this team better. if it wrecks the salary cap, if he is injury prone, if he is a freekin alien. Don't care..If this team is better for it sign him up. We have resources..We should use said resources to make this team better.

Let me ask you guys this..So the jets get ripped here all the time. Deservedly so , they can suck it. Everyone is enjoying the fact that their team is in "Salary cap hell" whatever that means..The Redskins were in the same salary cap siutaion last year and managed to put together some good free agents...

Anyway, back to the point. We call what they did reckless. Irresponsible, But you can't tell me that each and every one of you wouldn't take your chance with 2 championship game appearences with a chance to go to the Super Bowl. I know they lost..and the whole point is to get to, and win the Super Bowl. They had their chance, they had a shot. It didn't work, but while they were competing, we were playing woth our dingalings. Even now, as bad as they were last year. They weren't much worse then us..

So, yes..Do it. Take a chance, This doean't mean you have to be dumb. Don't confuse the 2. But I would rather see this team go for it. Rather then keep playing it safe because that is what you are "supposed to do"..Build a team.

Just my opinion. Tired of being second rate, tired of having to argue about whether or not we will be better then Buffalo.

At least YG is being realistic with his free agent signings. Those are the guys most likely willing to play here for a fair price.

The rest of you wanting the #1 free agents on the list are probably dreaming.

Another reason to favor Miller time over Wallace worries: the team has been trying to institute a zone blocking scheme. Coaches know they don't have the right players. Need some $ to get them.

But not big $. Mike Shannahan ran a zone blocking scheme in Denver for years, with what was about the smallest o-line in the league. He turned out 1000 yd rushers year after year. Don't need the biggest or best, just some good guys that fit the scheme. Miller rules.

Phins78,

Dont know if youve ever been to Joe Robbie, but IMO its far from "crappy". True, modifications could make it much better, but far from crappy.

Adding the top, moving the seats closer, and that sort of stuff is about making it more "fan friendly", not player friendly".

DO NOT TRADE BACK!!!!!!

LMAO, How many years are we going to do this and end up with Odricks? Can we finally stay put and sign a real talent for a change?

We are actually using some training Camp fodders as Players right now.

...Yg..Nice mock. Deandre Hopkins is also my man crush reciever this year. Nice pick. From the first rounds to the 4th nice job. You know that I think Matthieu is a nightmere, but at 5..I'm fine with it. You mentioned throwing dookie and seeing if it stuck. Matthieu in round 5 would be the dookie on the wall. I don't know who Porter is. And would be for finding a kicker. I think Carpenter will be cut for cash.


Posted by: Phins78 | February 11, 2013 at 12:01 PM

I guess some here dont fully understand solid plans are always based in "realism". We have a gm, not a fairy godmother.

The stadium in Miami is indeed very dated and needs upgrades if it wants to be in Super Bowl hosting coversations. It's barely nicer than the hole in Buffalo.

That's a Fairy Tale for the most part, that Players consider a City and its Stadium in deciding to play in it. They consider the $, Man, the $.

Okay, I just realized no one from FLA. would sit in here and talk Dolphins when they have hundreds of friends and neighbors who are fans. I won't find anyone from the area to debate me on the stadium deal. Oh well.

But I can't sit in here and debate (for the 3rd month in a row) which players we should sign and draft. This is getting fudging repetitive. How many times can we repeat the very same opinions before it gets boring? I was hoping the stadium thing would spark a new discussion but the blog is right back to the same ole things that get talked about every day in painstaking detail. I know, shut up Phins! I'll leave you guys to your debate, enjoy.

Phins78,

I consider trading back, picking up an extra 2nd rd'er, and getting Deandre Hopkins is like a coup my man. Getting one of the top wr's available in this draft, plus an extra 2nd rd pick, is far from picking up Odrick. LOL...

....Gotta roll. Making a video today for winter fly fishing on the Yellowstone. Hopefully will have a link once it is edited in a few weeks. Picked a doozie of a day. 34 degrees..wind?????

Give Tannehill an o-line with 2 big TEs from FA, 2 high round draft picks as WRs and watch these guys and Miller light up a scoreboard. Low cap risk. Good fundamental football. Fits into the coaching strategy of west coast offense and zone blocking. win. win. win.

Vote NO on Wallace amendment #17

DD,

Past problems or not, Tyrann Matthieu is far and away the BPA of the 5th rd. He isnt dookie and hoping it sticks. You just pray he gets the message "there's no hope in dope." LOL...

YG interesting offseason plan. Only part of it I don't love is Freeney (only 5 sacks last year, I think he is done.) I'm a big Hopkins fan, I wouldn't mind taking him at 20. I'm not sure if all those players would be there where you have them slotted but if they were that would be great.

I wouldn't go any higher, and I think someone else will take mathieu before the 5th (think Jerry Jones, but I'd take a low risk high reward 5th round gamble on the honey badger

Billcale,

Im pretty much with you. My preference is to sign Jennings, draft two wr's. Jennings would be better for the young wr's and is probably far more "young qb friendly".

yg imo the players would prefer to play in a stadium where the fans are actually able to be seen and heard by the players. There is no home field advantage for the home team even when the place is sold out because there is no noise. But that point is a push, it's not part of the bigger picture.

And it's not really my opinion about it being crappy that matters. The league and fans know it's crappy. It's part (maybe a smaller part) of the reason people don't want to go there. The bigger point is that the NFL, NCAA, AND FIFA think it's garbage.

They have so many other stadiums to choose from that are more fan friendly. And that's what it is all about to the guys upstairs. They want to make money, you make money by drawing more fans. Miami winning would help. But how does that help a bid for the Super Bowl, a bid for a big college bowl game, or a bid for an international soccer tournament that will be going on for weeks? It doesn't so making the team better is a small way to make money for the area. The larger picture would be to have a stadium that fans actually want to go to. A stadium that committees agree to vote yes on for their sporting events.

Nemo,

Freeney was a 3 down player. With his present age, being a situational pass rusher keeps him fresh because he only plays on sure passing downs.

Charles Haley had huge success doing this latter in his playing career. Play Freeney like this and he probably gives you 10 sacks a season for 2-3 more years.

Is it my imagination or what that whenever I enter this site some People have something to do and leave, like DD and 78 now did. ???

I am right with you YG if you are 1) getting Jennings instead of Hartline and 2) paying Jennings less than Hartline. Otherwise, I'm looking to stockpile talent in 2013; get my players conversant in my offensive and defensive schemes; and take my big playoff shot in 2014.

Phins78,

There's no homefield advantage because fans have tired of watching crap on the playing field. Put 77,000 in Joe Robbie as is, and you'll need ear plugs during the game.

But no matter how close you move the fans to the field, it will still be quiet if the team isnt giving the fans anything to cheer about.

Some delusional People here. No way the Honey Badger lasts until the 5th Rd before a Team takes a shot at him, which will probably be NE.

If he's still available when we pick there. Say another team falls in love with him at the combine but plays it close to the vest. And we get to #20 , he's gone, and now the best player on your board is an OG. Holy s^&t fans would lose it. Your scenario sounds great but there are no guarantees and for once I would like the team to play it safe and stay at #12. Why are we always the team that trades back? Are we that much smarter than everyone else? Why does everyone else stay put, because they don't need as much help ? Well by trading back all of the time we are creating the scenario where we can't lock down positions (we always need more help), therefore needing that extra pick to see if we can hit a home run. Vicious cycle. We will agree to disagree. I just for once would like to stay put and pick up a top talent for sure. I don't want to trade back and cross my fingers that my guy will be available. Teams that have as many holes as we do should not be taking those kind of risks. That's just me.

Billcale,

I see this team needing to move on from both Bess and Hartline in the longrun goal. Both struggle to score. Both totally disappear in the redzone. That's without even being doubled.

If this fo expects Tannehill to become a topflight qb, they need to give him a topflight recieving corps(TE, WR's). Hartline/Bess dont fit that billing.

I just can't imagine Philbin agreeing to a diva like Percy Harvin. He's great but has been in a few fights with coaches in the past. It's going to be either Wallace or Jennings - with Wallace being the first target.

hmmm I'm not sure if dropping back just a few spots (down to #20) can get you an additional 2nd rounder, and I doubt Tyler Eiffert will still be available in the second round... but I like your mock, YG.

Love dem DJ Fluker and Tyrann Mathieu picks. Besides if you really like DeAndre Hopkins, you need to go for him early in the first day. Anything is possible, of course, but I just can't take seriously any mocks drafting him at second round or after.

Oscar,

My mock is predicated on if Matthieu is still sitting there. Some real mocks having 5th-6th rd.

Also, if you notice, I drafted cb David Amerson 3rd rd and S Matt Elam 2nd rd. So my secondary has been addressed. If Matthieu is still there 5th rd, he's "too good to pass up".

Agree again, YG. Have always thought Hartline and Bess good players but just taking up space on a team that needs to move toward a more dynamic passing game. They are excellent as backups but fall well short as 1s.

Eagles keeping Vick for 2013. Thought this would happen. Foles is a stiff and if anyone can make Vick work, it's Mr. Crazy Offense from oregon.

True. If We(and I do also) like DeAndre so much, don't you really think there are other really Football involved People that like him too? Like the Personnel men of the 11 Teams ahead of Us in the Draft? C'mon.

Hyrashock,

At #20, we should be able to get at least one of the top 3 wr's. T^he earlier rds of this draft looks like a run on front 7 defensive players, 2 cb's(Milliner/Banks), Lt's, a couple og's, and 1 qb. Someone may even gamble on Barkley, I wont be surprised.

I believe either Keenan Allen or Hopkins will still be available at #20.

4 consecutive losing seasons is bad timing to ask for handouts! LOL

Hydashock,

Agreed. Anyone believing Hopkins is still available 2nd rd also believes in the tooth fairy.

Oscar,

I wouldnt be mad with Keenan Allen, Terrance Bailey, or Robert Woods 1st rd if I couldnt get Hopkins.

One of these 4 will be available at #20.

The stadium is a side issue. If the government wants to help bring in a Superbowl that repays their effort, fine. If not and we don't get the new stadium or a Superbowl, no big deal. I don't care a lot if the Superbowl comes to Miami, I am more concerned with whether the Miami Dolphins get to the SB.

With that in Mind:
Top Draft targets #1 TE (by later rounds truly versatile TE lacking), #2 and #3 WR, #4 big RB (Thomas is not the answer and Lane is out of shape), #5 CB

Top FA targets #1 WR, #2 CB (two if Smith goes), #3 tackle (esp if Long goes).

True, YG, about the run on DEs. That might be our salvation in gettng the Playmaker that we like.

Cordarrelle Patterson I like more as a #2. The most receptions he's ever had in one season is 47. Far from the body of work you wopuld like to see drafting a wr !1st rd and as a #1 wr.

I believ Patterson will be a bit of a project if drafted to be a #1 wr. its may take him a couple years to truly get up to the same #1 wr speed that the 4 wr's I mentioned will come in at.

Meant to say Terrance Williams, not Terrance Bailey. LOL...

Personally, I like Marcus Wheaton after Deandre. Speed is greater than the others. Now, is he a Football Player?

Ok, I see the Bengals are mocked at #21 to take Manti T'eo. The Steelers are mocked at #17 taking Alec Obletree.

We could deal with either of these two with our #12. Steelers would wanna make sure they got Ogletree, and trading from #21 the Bengals would have thier pick of Ogletree and Te'o.

We may can parlay itr into an extra 2nd and 3rd rd pick because of this. LOL...

Oscar,

Wheaton's most likely still there in the 2nd.

In the second, we can have choices of Wheaton, Patton, and Bailey. In my scenario, we have 3 2nd rd picks buddy. LOL...

Don't worry. I may be retiring but I'm not going to stop wearing dresses.

Oscar,

with another 3rd rd pick, we can trade up to the absolute top of the 2nd rd. or use it ourselves. LOL...

I would be really happy with Keenan Allen at #20. He is my alternative choice if Dolphins decide not to draft an elite TE prospect at first round!

...and Hopkins could still be available to make the choice even juicier...

The more ideas keep popping into my head, not only do we have the absolute best position in fa, we also have the absolute best positioning in this draft.

We can build at least 50% towards a championship team this offseason alone. We're at abot 35% there right now. After this offseason we can be at least 85% toward fielding a sb championship team.

The Ross/Ireland Dolphins will never get near a Super Bowl so who cares anymore?

Why did they put lettuce on top of the glass dome over Nebraska? I never asked Mary Tyler Moore about this and now she is eating raw seal fat with Eskimos.

Oh, if Jed Clampett was only here wearing a bikini and applying cocoa butter to a shaved wombat.

Mark Duper bought a Braun coffee maker yesterday at the same time Mrs. Chin Wang Fo of Sacramento passed gas.

Yup, YG. Ireland set us up that way(Thankyou), now he has to go to gather the Fruit.

DD (from earlier),

Respectfully, I think you're missing the point. 'Time to take a risk'? Huh? Is that how the Ravens, Steelers and Packers do business? It's not. It's how the Raiders, Cards and Bucs do business. I'll take option number one. FAR more successful!!

So we've got $46million and 5 of the first 90 draft picks. LOTS of ammunition to add players. Wallace at $8 mil or Wallace at $10 mil is a 'risk'. Is there anything 'conservative' about that? No.

This team has CONTINUALLY traded picks for guys over and over again. Culpepper, Williams, Marshall, Gordon, Feely. It NEVER works out. You build through the draft and add in FA. I'm not in favour of giving up a pick for a guy who will be here a year and then leave via FA. Not interested. We need to STOP doing this. We're 7-9 and need to find a way to win 3-5 more games, EVERY year. This isn't the answer. No way.

I feel that if a team can get at least 90% of the way towards fielding a championship team. That same team can win a sb championship then and there.

The other 5% to 10% is only "icing on the cake". Then we're having a "dynasty" conversation. LOL...

A crappy stadium isn't attractive to perspective free agents.

Posted by: Phins78 | February 11, 2013 at 11:57 AM
=================================================

PROspective, not 'perspective.'

Good Lord. Every day is Remedial English day on this blog.


Yup, YG. Ireland set us up that way(Thankyou), now he has to go to gather the Fruit.

Posted by: oscar canosa | February 11, 2013 at 01:08 PM

I couldnt have said it better buddy. Go gather the fruit! LOL...

Well!, somebody here that also cares about Language.

Imagine if the People from that Valley had poor Grammar. We wouldn't know who we are now.

YG,

We don't always agree on here but I'd much rather take your approach to this ofseason than some of the ideas being thrown around on here.

Myth #1 with this team: The team got to where they've gooten to by being conservative. BS!! It's wasted picks and picks thrown away in trades. How good would this team have been with those two picks for Marshall back? Mark already ryhmed off all the guy we could have gotten in the second round in those two years. Go back and take a look. We would have been FAR better off. Time to stop making these DUMB decisions and realize there's a REASON why the team is trying to dump Harvin. We need to stop thinking we can 'change' these guys into something that they're not.

CraigM,

If we trade down to either Pittsburgh at 17 or Bengals at 21. We stand to gain another 2nd and 3rd pick.

The Steelers are mocked to take Ogletree at 17, and the Bengals, T'eo at 21.

If we talke to the Bengals it may scare Pitt into giving up a 2nd and 3rd rd pick to make sure the Bengals dont snatch Ogletree from underneath them with our #12 pick.

So it would then give us a 1st, 3 2nds, and 3 3rd rd picks. That would then be 7 picks in the first 96 picks. How great would that be? LOL...

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