The Dolphins put general manager Jeff Ireland and CEO Mike Dee on the phone with season ticket holders this evening. They talked for 30 minutes and for me the three most interesting things are covered below:
Ireland was asked if he could share his draft plans for the upcoming NFL draft. He gave the name of the player the team is drafting and that player is ...
Yeah, just kidding.
"I've got a lot of ideas and I have a strong idea of what I'm going after, but I just can't tell you," he said. "Certainly as I've said before, I believe in drafting core positions ..."
That means QBs, WRs, LTs, CBs, and pass-rushers.
"I like drafting when the core position meets a need and it meets the grade," Ireland continued. "And I try not to reach for a need position if I don't have to. We don't draft vertically, we draft horizontally and that's a whole different story to explain that. But we definitely have a plan. We definitely have guys we've targetted. We definitely have a certain number of players we've targetted. But we don't put, there's 255 draft picks that will selected, but we don't put that many players on the board. We grind through this. We eliminate it down to a specific number that we feel like is the number we want to go into and then we even cut that down even further to guys we're targetting.
"So we certainly have a plan."
Ireland said the Dolphins start draft meetings Tuesday and will go 21 consecutive days in those meetings leading up to the draft that begins April 25.
"There's a lot of work being done these next 21 days," he said. "Stand by and see what we do."
Ireland was also asked about the perpetual Dolphins problem -- the offensive line. He was asked his thoughts on it, including today's addition of free agent guard Lance Louis:
"Where I'm at with the offensive line right now is we don't play until August," Ireland said. "We don't go to camp until the middle of July so it's going to look differently in July and August than it does right now. So we're still tinkering in free agency with a couple of offensive line positions. Tinkering means we may or may not [do something] for the media that is listening. And certainly we have the draft. We have five picks in the top 82."
If the Dolphins want to sign more free agent OLinemen such as Eric Winston, they can use their $15.7 million worth of space (as of March 26) which profootballtalk.com reported this afternoon they have remaining. (The team will pick up an extra $7 million of space after June 1).
"And a third idea you can trade for one ... So it's something I'm still looking at. You don't lose a player like Jake Long to free agency and not feel that so we're going to address the offensive line as a whole as we go forward and we just have to stand by and see what we do."
Dee was asked about my Tuesday story that mentioned the Dolphins are willing to sign a relocation waiver for 30 years with Miami-Dade County as part of the complex package for getting public funds to upgrade Sun Life.
The question was whether the Dolphins might consider leaving South Florida if the deal with Miami-Dade County and the Florida legislature and, yes, voters fails to finance the upgrades as the Dolphins hope.
"Steve Ross has made it clear he will never think of relocating the Dolphins on his watch," Dee said. "And win, lose or draw on this stadium effort, Steve spent a lot of his formative years in the Miami area. He loves it here, that's why he bought this team. We're not going anywhere while Steve's the owner."
Yes. And ...
"Now Steve's 73 years old and he thinks and Jeff knows this, he thinks he's going to live to be 110. But at some point in the next 30 years he'll probably not be the majority owner of the team. So we believe the right time to address the stadium issue is now while the owner is willing to significantly invest in private funds to make it happen. He's a guy that wants to lock in the franchise here for the next 30 years so that any successor that buys the team from him or at some point takes over would be unable to relocate the team. The alternative to that is if we're not able to move forward on the stadium front, Steve is at some point not the owner, you're going to be looking at the possibility of a whole new stadium for three times the cost of what we can modernize this facility for and have a facility that would serve the community for 50 years. That's unheard of.
"This isn't a situation where we're saying if this doesn't happen we're out of here. We're going to be here but we'll be hard-pressed to figure out what we do best as a long-term solution."