« A look at Sean Smith's cut at free agency | Main | Fans and media sometimes react faster than FOs »

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.


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. 



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I gotta admit you're making a lot of sense. Maybe I've been hanging out on here too much lately....LOL.

There is a ban on trading down this Year. By me. We only want here the Best of the very Best.

Anyway, trading down picking up only an extra 2nd rd pick still gives us 6 picks in the first 96 players. LOL...


I always hated Parcells "doubling-up" draft policy. We wasted a lot of 3rd to mid rd picks that way. Then throw in the lackluster 2nd rd picks, couple plain 1st rd picks, and as you say, trading away picks.

Its been pretty much a disaster.

And we havent even spoke of the fa misses. LOL...

Agreed. You don't need to trade any picks for new players coming from UFA. That's the only kind of FA we need right now.


Actually, IMO, Ireland's 2012 draft is the best since Jimmy Johnson in Miami. Just too bad Jimmy could only drafts one side of the ball. LOL...


Are you bound to a chair with duct tape over your mouth and this is your only means of communication?

You don't seem to do ANYTHING aside from blog here! How on Earth do you find it interesting 18 hours a day??

I say put the Grammy's on Cinemax next year. That way I can see some nip sips! And maybe a lot more. . . But keep that Kelly Clarkston covered and away from the Kraft food table!


I had mentioned a long time ago that I thought Chicago at 20 would be a great trade back for us. They need help on their OL and there are some good tackles who may not be there at 20. Be great to get their 2nd rounder, even if that means we had to chip in another late pick. I'd be fine with us drafting Ertz, if it meant we still had another second in our back pocket. To me that's progress....

"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?"


While I'd LOVE to see this happen this is a poorly run franchise with Ross as owner & Ireland so it's not realistic to expect things to change. It's not like Ireland & his personnel team are all of a sudden going to discover America....They're terrible at evaluating talent & they've had very little success through the draft.

As a fan I'd love to believe that this year would be different with the number of draft picks we have but it's the same incompetent scouts & evaluators who can't even find their own a@@es. This is where we're at.

The O-line is still in flux at LT, RT, & RG, we have no legitimate starting WR's under contract, we have no legitimate starting TE under contract, our starting RB barely played in 2012 & then on top of all of that we need Tannehill to improve??? Improve with what??? By giving him LESS help than he had this year??? B/c I'm under the impression that Hartline is not going to be re-signed. I hope I'm wrong but I expect Ireland to out think himself again at the WR position.

Not to mention that we have NO starting CB's...This organization is a f#cking mess & I'm just sick of it already. I'm begging ownership (if they read actually this) to FINALLY fire Ireland after a fifth consecutive losing season. As a fan the last ten years have been absolute torture & at some point we MUST find a GM that is competent.

Posted by: Get Some Fresh Air, For Gods Sake! | February 11, 2013 at 01:28 PM


I love my dDolphins, only wished I was getting paid for this. LOL....

I had mentioned a long time ago that I thought Chicago at 20 would be a great trade back for us. They need help on their OL and there are some good tackles who may not be there at 20. Be great to get their 2nd rounder, even if that means we had to chip in another late pick. I'd be fine with us drafting Ertz, if it meant we still had another second in our back pocket. To me that's progress....


I'm all for trading down however the Bears are looking for TE as well. There are not a lot of premium prospects in this draft so the 12th pick is not a great spot to be drafting.

I'm glad you took it in the spirit it was intended!

Yea lets take another TE after we just drafted one in the 3rd round last year who didnt even see the field. Real brilliant analysis Craig M

You no getti pay for dis you big fooo


Would love to have Ertz, only if our wr corp was already tight woek.

Think about it Craig, who gets more ball throw thier way? That's what it comes down to for me. So thats how drafting a wr 1st rd squeaks past Ertz for me.

The wr has the potential to be a 80 to 100 reception guy. The TE had better be the 2nd coming of Gonzalez and Gronk to center your entire passing game around him. 60-70 catches for TE is great. 60-70 catches for a #1 wr is pretty good, not really great.

My favorite part of the Grammys was when they dumped a bucket of blood on that girl's head and she locked all the doors and set fire to the venue just by staring at things.


'A fifth consective losing season'? When did 11-5 count as a losing season? HUH?


I want Jennings or Wallace in FA. Then I want a guy in the second round. Hopkins would be a good pick. I know you like him. I want a top flight TE and to me Ertz is that guy. That's hwo I'd go about it (with the tradeback of course).


My mock has with 3 2nd rd picks. One of those is Eiffert. The Pats have 2 very good TE's.

If by miracle, after drafting Eiffert, the light comes on for Egnew. Then we have both a great wr and TE corp.

We would have a nearly unstoppable offense then. Right now, you dont want to place all of your TE eggs in the baskets of Fasano/Clay Egnew. That doesnt seem very wise.


I'd be fine with Eiffert in the second too. I just want the position upgraded.

I'm interested to see what this team does if Finley becomes available. I'm curious to see what Philbin thinks of him. SO tired of this team not having weapons at TE. The price might get too expenisve for Finley but he is only 25 and he does have talent.


I would wager almost anything Hopkins doesnt make into the 2nd rd. I feel I would be better off believing in the tooth fairy.

Even with Ertz, I still believe we will be a team that targets the TE for about 50-60 receptions a year. The wr's will be targeted for far more receptions.

I seriously doubt Allen, Hopkins, or Terrance Williams makes it out of the first rd. Tavon Austin may, but I would like to have a bigger reciever. Robert Woods possibly slips out too. But I expect a major run on the top wr's late in the 1st rd.


Well we disagree on the WRs. I don't believe there are a lot of 'can't misses'. My guess is 2-3 will go in the first round. Then I think you'll see teams like Buffalo and Jacksonville and maybe the Cards trying to draft WRs. Not sure about Hopkins. I think some teams will love and others will be sacred by him. I think it's 50/50 he goes in the first.

Like Austin too but like you I want a bigger WR.

LOL Sorry oscar, just a coincidence. I was waiting for a while to debate, no one was saying anything so I figured I would get some work done. :)


Both of you seem to assume Jennings will take less money (I think bill said pay him less than Hartline). Didn't he say he was looking for a payday? I thought that's why Green Bay's letting him go, so he can get paid. You guys really think he'll come here for 4-5 mil (since I think Hartline's asking for 6-7 range)?

Ireland stikes again....


Alienate our only scoring threat.....

when will this guy FIRE HIMSELF.....

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

Posted by: Laughingstock Fins | February 11, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Hey don't look up to quick you could strain your neck trying to see the point.

flip flop

Are the Herald Blogs switching to Facebook commenting as well?

This goes along with the point I made earlier that everyone ignored.

"The more ideas keep popping into my head, not only do we have the absolute best position in fa,"

YG this statement is based on what, money? Because we certainly aren't in the best position when it comes to desirability. I have to think there are at least ten more teams that would be a more desirable landing place for free agents.


I dont care if it took between $9-$10 million to get Jennings signed. Signing Jennings is 3-fold:

1. Most qb friendly of the fa group.

2. If Im drafting a couple wr's to become our future Jennings is the best guy to not only learn tricks of the trade from. But also learn ho to become professionals.

3. Gives at least a reliable 2yr cushion if it takes a year before the the young guns get up to speed toward greatness.

So signing Jennings gives a 3-fold effect. I have no problem giving Jennings 3yrs $27 to 30 million. who knows, maybe he signs with Philbin for between $8-$9 million a year. Even better.


To everyone,

You're a free agent, probably looking at your last big pay day. You want to get a long term deal and make some money while going to a stable organization that can offer you future success.

So my question is , how do you justify choosing the Dolphins as your landing spot when there are 15 or so teams in a better position, at least three of which could be fighting against the Dolphins for your services.

Just so you know, I'm asking so I can maybe see things from a different perspective. I'm worried no one worth while will want to play here and I can't see a reason why they would with the possible exception of majorly over paying for them.


Just my opinion, but I believe in 2-3yrs, Hopkins will be one of those wr's teams who passed on him will be kicking themselves in the rear for.

I feel at some point soon, Hopkins will be in the conversation of top 5 wr's. Didnt say he definitely will be, but, will be in the conversation.

DC, I know HIS SISTER tweeted one weekend during a game about the pot-o-gold being south, in Miami. But he seems to be a class guy and I doubt he'd say such a thing in public.

His age/injury history is working strongly against him to land a spot with anybody for big $, and he would be 2 years older by the time the Dolphins would be ready to make a run deep into the playoffs. He has to begin to think about his week-to-week health and a warm weather venue may suit him. All this is in Jeff's favor.

Phins 78

No player or coach with a choice joins the hapless Fins. Cheapass owner, horrible GM, and no playoff chance.

I am right with you YG if you are 1) getting Jennings instead of Hartline and 2) paying Jennings less than Hartline.

Posted by: billcale | February 11, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Reading is fundamental (on my part YG). I thought you 2 were in agreement, but sounds like bill is the one who thinks Jennings will come here for less than what Hartline gets.

I happen to think there's a better chance to get Dan Marino to come out of retirement than getting an accomplished WR like Jennings to take a back seat to a 1-yr success like Hartline (nothing against Hartline, but he's not now nor EVER been a legit #1 like Jennings has).

There's actually 30 better teams for FA's then the Dullphins.

the fa's will get an early offseason every season playing 4 the phins.

bill, it's worth a try, I just don't see it. From what I read, the whole thing with GB is he didn't want to take less money. If in the end he takes less money, if it were me, I'd stick with Aaron Rodgers (over Tannehill). That's just me (no disrespect Ryan).

But maybe Jennings is angry and wants to stick it to his old team. Didn't work that way with Ryan Clark (though maybe he got a little more than he wanted).


So we've got a new HC in place, who most people speak well of. A new rookie QB who a lot of people talk favourably about. $46 mil in money to spend in FA. Five of the first 90 picks. Great weather. No State tax. And the team just finished 7-9 when NOBODY gave them a chance.

You mention 'lack of stability' but seems to me Miami is one of the few teams that didn't fire their HC and/or GM. They also aren't looking for a QB like 6-8 teams in the league. I would say that's a VERY stable situation and there aren't 15 teams out there looking to sign a WR. First of all there are a lot of teams that don't have the cap room and there are a lot of teams that either don't need a WR or wouldn't spend that money on one. I think when it comes right down to it there might something like 5-7 teams vying for the services of Wallace and Jennings. I think we have as good a chance of getting one of them as anyone.

Kris, surprise surprise, I disagree with you! lol

Why would you extend an offer to a free agent before you know the market? Bush is worried, he wants that offer now because he and his agent know there won't be a lot of bidding for his services. They're hoping to squeeze more out of the Dolphins.

Offering him a contract now would be bad business imo. You would either offer him enough that he says yes which means you probably went over what the market would have been. (You could have waited and payed him less but still give him more than anyone else is willing to . )

OR you make a low ball offer that completely insults the player and the agent thus making any future negotiations more difficult.

I don't see a choice C. that works out in everyone's favor so why not wait? Are other teams locking up their third down backs at this point? Because honestly with Miller that's where Reggie is heading. The writing is on the wall.


"when will this guy FIRE HIMSELF...."

Ummmm never, this is the real world where people don't fire themselves. ;)


Don't know the cap situation in GB but they don't NEED Jennings. That's the difference between them and us. They didn't miss him at all last year as Cobbs and other took over the key roles on the team. So I'm not sure it's about him taking a pay cut in GB, as much as it's about the fact that he just not good value for them any more.

I don't see Jennings getting $10 mil at the end of the day but I think it might end up being more than Hartline. Didn't VJax sign for about $10 mil a year last year with TB. Anybody think Jennings is as good as VJax? I don't. It might be close but I don't see it getting to $10mil. I think Wallace will make more at the end of the day.

Cheapass owner (?), horrible GM (agreed), and no playoff chance (shortsighted opinion).

Posted by: Stuart | February 11, 2013 at 02:16 PM

"Cheapass owner".

Please explain if you would.

Posted by: Phins78 | February 11, 2013 at 02:13 PM

For one thing, depends on the position you play and the teams that "greatly need" your service."

Another thing, "last big pay day" is usually your 2nd contract. Superstars college players get their 1st big payday coming into the league. All the other get thier first and last big payday 4-5yrs later after either becoming a superstar or are at the fringe of superstar status.

Last payday can be best defined as "being on your 3rd and final contract. These are players in year eight or more and it greatly depends on position they play and current level of performance.

If youre a player with 8 season or more and sign a contract of 4yrs or more. Its very unlikely you see the money on the remaining years of your contract. Youre quickly getting passed your prime, your play begins to slip, and so does that team's interest in paying you the final years of that deal.

So the final big payday for many players is the 2nd contract of their career due to injuries and not performing up to level of pay in this 2nd career contract.

Im ending this post here because their so much more to say on this. Bottomline, build coreectly thru the draft and you'll become a team that's attractive to free agents. That includes here in Miami.

The key phrase there, DC, is "...like Jennings has..." Not saying it's over for him but talent for many who creep up on 30 drops precipitously. And I'm not sold on getting ANY of the big 3/4 name wide receivers. I think the team's money is better spent on 4-year vet TEs and rookie WRs. More bang for the buck that way.

Craig M has the rose colored glasses cemented to his face. HAHA


I would offer Jennings more than Hartline anyday. Jennings actually has a career body of work where he actually built a bank account of tds.

In comparison, Hartline is only holding a tube of rolled pennies standing in the bubble gum line.


I'm definitely not for paying Jennings top dollar. We'll have to see where he falls. I don't see him going that low (like under $5mil). But maybe, who knows, if there's no market for him, bill may be right.

If we can get a good TE bill (or 2), then a rookie WR (if he can be as successful as like a Julio Jones) would be optimum, as that would save us money and we could get a blue chip guy on the line like you guys want. That's a big "if" though. How many Julio Jones' are out there?

Phins78 @2:24pm,

Totally agree. The FO has played this as they should with Bush. Good, not great player. I may be in the minority but I'd bring him back AT THE TIGHT PRICE. I don't know what this right now.

Kris, has a real hatred for Ireland. I don't think that's any secret. That's his right. There's nothing this guy could do outside of bringing a Championship to Miami and even then it would be 50/50.

Heard on the radio this morning that the pats would be interested in Jennings since they will not re-sign Welker or Lloyd. If that's true, why would he choose Miami for less money. jennings is taking at least $8M minimum to sign.

Thanks Craig. I'll try to feel better about the situation. The problem is I see a lot of if's in that post.

First year head coach (is he going to get better, we don't know yet)

Same with the QB, is he the answer? Not sure yet.

Cap money to spend you say? BIG question mark there. We have never seen Ireland with money to spend and the little money he has been able to spend on free agents the past two seasons hasn't worked out so well for us.

The stability you speak of is largely based on hope. There are a lot of organizations out there who have proven they are legitimate. We're still waiting on these guys and I'm afraid free agents will see it that way too. I hope I'm wrong but I won't be surprised if we end up with a few second tier free agents while the better ones go to teams that have had sustained stability.

If we are fighting 5 or 6 other teams like you say I don't like our chances. Unless of course those teams are Jax, Cleveland, etc.

Also, if we get all of these new wr's and a TE. In preseason we need to let Tannehill start 2 qtrs in all 4 preseason games.

This way they build game chemistry at a higher level coming into the regular season. This would be their first season together. We want things to click rightaway.


I believe there will be a market for him. Off the top of my head, I can see teams like the Chargers, Jets and Cards having interest in him. Mark's mentioned the Pats now too. Don't know teams' cap situations but I think the Steelers will have to replace Wallace somehow and if the Chiefs lose Bowe they'll need a replacement too. I've also heard the Niners will be looking for a number two after moving on from Moss. These are just teams off the top of my head. There'll be a market for him. No question.

Kris, has a real hatred for Ireland. I don't think that's any secret. That's his right. There's nothing this guy could do outside of bringing a Championship to Miami and even then it would be 50/50.

Posted by: Craig M | February 11, 2013 at 02:34 PM

Kris would still be pissed. His reply to Ireland bringing a championship to Miami would be:


Exactly what are the plans for improving the stadium Mando. Lnow about the roof but what else? Closer seats? How? Sitting on the 2nd row you can't see (45 yard line) because of TV cameras,players and coaches. Seats go downhill the closer you get. Are they going to dig a trench?

Let's face it, the stadium was not designed for football and I don't see how anyone can change it without MAJOR changes.

« 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 11 12 »

The comments to this entry are closed.