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Perspective about free agency is necessary

Over the weekend the Boston Globe's Greg Bedard noted that the last three Super Bowls champions had only one unrestricted free agent starter in his first year with the team -- combined.

(I'd embed the link but the column is behind a paywall so if you want to see it, go get it. I recommend you do).

Anyway, while that is a very interesting and consequential fact that suggests Super Bowl teams typically grow a majority of their own talent and need their imported talent to adjust for more than a year before succeeding at the highest level, I can see the fact also has the potential to be misunderstood.

Just as what the Dolphins are trying to do this offseason will likely be misunderstood.

The fact suggests rightly that free agents don't immediately bring Super Bowl titles in tow when they sign. Fine. I think everyone gets that. But the next assumption -- that the Dolphins will fail miserably in 2013 because they added eight free agents so far is ridiculous.

Look, Jeff Ireland has spoken to the media multiple times this offseason. So has owner Stephen Ross. And coach Joe Philben spent an hour on the record only two weeks ago.

None have uttered the words, "We're adding free agents this offseason to win the very next Super Bowl and if we don't we're total failures."

The Dolphins aren't adding free agents to win the next Super Bowl. That's not the immediate goal. They're adding free agents to help them win. Period. It's something that hasn't been done in Miami for quite some time and the Dolphins are doing what they can to change course.

The last time the Dolphins put a winning team on the field was 2008. That's a president ago. That's a whole different economy ago. It's been a long time, folks.

And so to criticize them for trying to add talent to a team that desperately needed the infusion is akin to criticizing an athlete for practicing his craft because he might not immediately win a title as a result.

Winning a title is the ultimate goal, yes. But there are goals lower down the ladder of accomplishments the Dolphins will happily chase and consider 2013 a success if they meet -- even if they don't win a Super Bowl.

What?

How about turning in a winning season? How about making the playoffs as a wild card team? How about winning the AFC East? Relevance doesn't just come after winning the Super Bowl.

All of those are viable goals short of a Super Bowl win that would likely feel good to the fan base by the time 2013 comes to a close.

And, unlike that ominous stat about first-year starting UFAs on Super Bowl winners, I can report UFAs do indeed help their teams turn it around fairly quickly when the measure of that turnaround is not a Super Bowl win.

Drew Brees went to New Orleans as a UFA and turned that team, indeed that city, into a winner.

Michael Turner went to Atlanta in 2008 as a UFA and helped that team make multiple playoff appearances. Atlanta, by the way, has no problem adding talent by any means necessary -- trades for veterans, trade ups in the draft, unrestricted free agency, you name it.

When the Giants won the Super Bowl in February 2008, the player who caught the winning TD was UFA Plaxico Burress.

The Arizona Cardinals went to the Super Bowl in February 2009 with UFA quarterback Kurt Warner leading them there.

Jacoby Jones was released by the Houston Texans on May 1, 2012 and signed as a free agent seven days later with the Baltimore Ravens. And that was him making multiple big plays for Baltimore last postseason, including a 70-yard touchdown catch against Denver with 30 seconds to play to tie the game and a 108-yard kickoff return touchdown against San Francisco in the Super Bowl.

By the way, Denver was 13-3 last season and won the AFC West. I'd say UFA quarterback Peyton Manning had something to do with that. 

So what about those facts suggest adding free agents is a bad idea?

Oh yeah, nothing.

Comments

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Perspective is right. Most of theses UFAs are signed between 1-3 years. Their impact is as a stopgap or to help develop players that will take that long to get to the NFL level. Take Grimes and Marshall in the defensive backfield, they will help whatever rookies come in this year and will probably not be here next year if their replacements develop. Winston, if he signs, will get 2 years max to let Yeatman or a rookie get up to speed at right tackle. Also for those signed on multiyear deals, next year they will be considered Dolphin vets and will not count on this list. We must walk before running, unless all the stars align and lady luck is on our side.

Besides, were younger, faster, and legadu Naanee isnt our starting WR.

Hey most nfl experts really believe the dolphins will still be a mediocre 7-9-9-7 at best football team at best !! It is common sense reality what Armando is saying, being relevant again is the goal of this organization !! Too bad you have too many ignorant fools of a fanbase or fanboys that very sadly bel that this team is either going 11-5-12-4 or is seriously have a sshot of winning the super bowl !! Then you wonder why this franchise and its fanbasec is a joke nationally !! Dolphins fans do yourselves a serious favor, just appreciate being relevant again you'll all enjoy and appreciate it a lot more !!

I really don't care what a reporter in Boston thinks!!

Jeff Ireland on paper has done a great job with the personal moves and handling the cap.

Don't be surprised if R. Jones gets a contract extention mid year.

Can't wait for the draft!!!!

I would presume the majority of the remaining beat writers in all of the NFL cities who did not have major free agent acquisitions are in disagreement to what Miami has done. Which by the way makes me feel even better about what Miami has done this off season.

couldnt agree more......when fans say the only goal is to win the SB, thats nonsense.....yes, should be the ultimate goal but for a team/fanbase that hasnt won much for awhile, just competing for the playoffs every year would be nice, and a realistic first step--first make the playoffs.....then win a playoff game (or two)....that would be a success for me, for the near term--being competitive and in the playoff hunt every year.....sounds good to me.

It is understandable for a Boston reporter to say that, the Pats have been on top of our division for a while, however it really doesn't matter what a reporter thinks it all depends on if we can sack Brady and score more points. if we can do these things we have a chance to win the division. The passing game should be better if Tannehill develops , the running game is weaker without Bush, and the defense we are not sure about yet, it is cool we got younger and faster LBS, but if we don't get to Brady we will lose for sure and this year should have been all about scoring more and better pass rush.We need at least one more pass rusher like Wake to have a chance to unseat the Pats.

I'll take relevance over Legadu any day!

The best thing about the new UFAs is not only are they talented but they are young. Makes a huge difference. Ireland is not done yet. They now have to just as aggressive
find those playmakers in the draft even if it includes trading up. We will beat Belickeeks and the Patriots at least one game in the regular season.

After watching the Cowboys extend Romo, I have much greater appreciation for the Dolphins as a organization

We can all be thankfull that Wes Welker is no longer in our division. The stupidity of Mueller and Cameron of trading him to a division rival should go down in Dolphin history as the most moronic deal ever made! Howevr,Welker became a star because he had a HOF QB passing to him. We all know that would not have happened in Miami with the past core of quarterbacks that have come and gone since Wes left the team. Just sayin

Hey Mace, eat a bag o d#$k's. Why dont you go back to the your Jets sites and stay off ours, you disgusting little troll.

Let em have it Mando. The whole article smacks of a one sided jealous perspective. First it was the team overspent now the hack writers are moving on to this bad take. I agree all I want is to be relevant again to contend and have a good chance to win every Sunday.

I think that the Fins are in a position that they have never been in. This is going to be the start of something big. I have never, repeat NEVER seen them in the position that they are in this offseason. An unprecidented 11 draft picks. Tons of cap money which they've used to bring in relevant players who more than likely will make an impact. I am going to say that I think that they will gain a wildcard this season and maybe even take the Division. They werent that far off last season and the team was worse from a personnel stand point.

After four consecutive losing seasons, and with the strong possibility of another on the way, fans of the Miami Dolphins are understandably squeamish. Ticket sales are at a 40 year low as Miami has morphed into a basketball city. The huge turnover of player personnel in recent months wreaks of desperation from an irelevant franchise. There appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel for whatever fan base the team still has left.

Would anyone else trade up to get Eric Fisher? I hate to say it, it goes against my 2 core principals.

1. Trading picks to move up

2.Drafting a OL early.

I just think we have more picks than we actually need. With the investments we have made on our offense, we are still lacking a key piece LT, I think Martin can be a good LT, but Fisher can be elite and Martin can be a great RT. What do you guys think?

Hey John been a dolphins fan for 43 years dude, i've seen this franchise win both of thhe es ir super bowls. Unlike 90% of you losers in here I'm a realistic fan dude, the truth hurts dude be happy just being relevant again !! Because this franchise is a damn joke until further notice dude !!

I agree strongly with John. Mace should respect the fact that we're all dolphins fans and not N.Y. JERKS fans.

If Bostonians are having to invent reasons why free agents are a bad idea, I'd say they are getting just a wee bit nervous.

Rdubs, I understand your point however, my opinion is that they will add Eric Winston before the draft. They are filling out the starting lineup through free agency. Then the first pick will not be the best player available (or BAP) but the BPA - best playmaker available. I don't think they will look to fill a need but try to add that talent that makes them more electric. And it looks like that player is Tavon Austin. I personally don't see what has all the pundits giddy about this guy but I'm not a scout either. But the feeling is that this guy is the best skill position player available in this draft and makes me think the Dolphins will be looking his way...

Mace if u think the fins and the organization sucks and is a joke than move on Dude.

Mando, Great Post.

So People In Boston Are Already Scared!!

Cause Why Write Something Like That?

To Try And Make Their Fan Base Less Worried? Don't Worry Guys The Fins Won't Win A Title The First Year!!(That Is What The Reporter Was saying)

We Don't Want To Win A Title. We Just Want The Division and To Crush The Pats!! This Year!!

The Pats Can't Win A Title Without Cheating!! And That Is Fact! And I Don't See Brady Reaching The Superbowl Again!! The Pats Are Done!!

The Clown Just Sees The End!! The Only Winning Era The Pats Have Ever Had Is About To Be Over!! Back To Irrelevance For The Pats!! Back To Being The Patriots We All Grew Up Watching!! Or Not Watching!! Because They Suck!!

Hey mace ( notice the little "m" ) I have been a fan since 1974. I was born in 1967 in Florida and became a fan when I watched them beat the Vikings which was my GrandFathers team. So whatever you say DUDE, quit trolling Dolphins related web sites trying to stir up crap and go back to Jets land DUDE. Infact I think you posted as NFL Analyst you troll.

furthermore, I do agree that the best player in this draft is a LT - actually the best two players - lane Johnson and Eric Fisher.

By the way Mando, agree on the article. These vet free agent acquisitions were shrewd. These guys are good players - all of them and give the team a tonne of flexibility in the draft.

you think so Mark? For some reason I dont see Ireland being all excited about him, just a hunch.

Winston seems like a mystery to me, I am not great at evaluating OL play, so I base it on what I read and he seems average at best. Where Fisher has early Jake Long potential and ensures you a highly paid position for the next 4 years at a very cheap rate.

But I admit I have no idea what it would take to trade up with the Raiders, they might want an extra 2nd and 3rd. That would still leave us with alot of good quality picks.

Good story Armando. I needed that after 2 weeks of Dolphins bashing in the media. Actually it's been fifteen years but whos counting. Have a great day everyone.

Take that Bedard.

And other teams in the past have won the SB with free agents. There are many different ways to acquire talent to achieve team chemistry - draft or buy -
Winning the SB then is a matter of 1- chemistry, 2- strength of schedule, 3- injuries (both to you and div rivals), 4- level of talent, 5- level of desire, 6- luck

Every move this offseason is done to help this team win sooner than later and not put ALL the pressure on T-hill to do it by himself. That would be beyond crazy.

Hey Bedard...How about those 5 NE picks in the draft Bedard compared to Miami's 11? What about losing your best player to FA? Sucks doesn't it?

What I like about our offseason moves are as follows

1. Bring in LB's who knock the crap out of players, we all saw the Patsies turn into a pile mush bout half way through that AFC championship games (They were scared of getting hit)

2.Bring in WR's, NE's biggest weakness is their secondary.

3. Take chances on injured players, Grimes if healthy would have been the best CB in this FA class and would have signed a huge deaL. If he plays at 75% of what he was before his injury, he will be a godsend and keep our secondary, tight! Louis looks very athletic and can possibly upgrade our running game

4. Dont backload deals to mess up the salary cap for the upcoming years!!!

4

I think its safe to say the last thing New England is concerned about is the lowly Fins. But keep dreamin! LMAO!!

Letting Reggie Bush and Jake Long walk away puts more money in Ross's pocket but makes the team MUCH WORSE.

This group has failed at EVERYTHING they have tried and they have moved this team away from its roots and tradition while alienating the fan base.

I have ZERO faith in anything they do and I will pay no more than scant attention to this team until things change in the owner's box.

I can care less what the NFL commentators and local sports writers have to say about Miami's offseason. The reality is that most of them never watch Fin's games and have no real idea about the true talent level and performance of most of their players.

The Fins needed to make moves, they managed the cap properly to be in a position this offseason to be aggressive. They filled some glaring needs. The got rid of expensive and under performing players. They added new players with solid upside and limited contracts to manage downside.

They have a stock pile of draft picks and that gives them a lot of flexiblity. They can trade up, trade down or stand pat in rank order. They have fewer 'need positions' so they can chose BPA if they want.

The reality is that Ireland has done a very solid job so far in Free Agency. Lets see how he manages the draft. And then we can judge the entire offseason.

point counter point good article enjoyed it Jeff Irelands linebacker switch-a-roo play left even his oppenents silent and the NFL talking heads shoveling praise. ps We're not sending Mike Wallace back to Pittsburgh.

Rdubs, different than the last two years where you could see the Puncey and Tannehill picks a month away from the draft, this year is different. i mean most people including myself have been hard on the team for only drafting linemen year after year but this year more than any other you would totally see why the team would go OL or even DT in the first, for some reason I don't think they are.

As far as Winston, I'm no expert either but the team appears comfortable with him at RT and Martin at LT and it scares me to see him at LT full time but it seems like the team is comfortable with that going forward so who am i to criticize?

I do like some of the 2nd and 3rd day options at LT but none of them appear to be Jake Long type ready like the three first round OTs this year. Terron Armstead, Reid Fragel, David Quessenberry, Tanner Hawkinson, Braden Brown

Hey Josephus, If your paying SCANT ATTENTION then why are you reading articles about the team you are paying SCANT ATTENTION to? Hmmm, could it be another disgusting little troll in our midst or a fair weather fan who has to much Miami Beach sand in his C&#T. Why dont you keep your trap shut you poser.

rdubs, by the way, during the last week or so I've heard of a couple of teams wanting to trade up for Austin inclduiong SF and under Harbaugh they've seldom made personnel blunders ... this guy seems to be gaining momentum and will be the hottest thing entering the draft.

personally, like you I don't see it in the guy but I'm an accountant .. not a personnel guy. I just play along for fun.

EVERY new HC remakes the team to meet his strategy. The Trifecta did it when they came, Cam Cameron tried to do it, Saban, etc. Now it's Philbin's turn. It could turn out the exact same way as the others.

The reason I believe this time it will be different is: a) I'm a die-hard fan so my optimism is blinding me (which I understand), but b) Philbin has a good strategy that CAN and HAS won games RECENTLY in the NFL and I he is matching good strategy coaching with the right personnel (mostly young, predicated on speed and intelligence, no nonsense, and focusing on skill position players).

we just need to get to a 9-7 record next year and that would be huge improvement.

The Pats' own 17-1 team was built with a LOT of Free Agents, as were their earlier SB-winning teams. Moss, Welker, Adalius Thomas, Mike Vrabel, etc...

The last "three years" bit is a fluke- successful teams make smart FA signings AND they draft well. As Armando pointed out, Kurt Warner / Drew Brees / Peyton Manning look like they may work out for their respective teams...

All I want the Dolphins to do is beat the Patriots off the perch
I'm so sick of them and their fans

Mark,

I gotta disgree with you on Tavon Austin. Not saying this guy won't be a good player but I don't think he fits what Philbin wants to do. I see him as a similar option to Bush and we all know that Philbin wasn't a Bush fan. So if I'm a betting man (and I am), I would bet my last nickel that the 'Phins won't pick Austin and if there's anything leftover, I'd bet their plan is to trade up for a LT.

I think they've addressed WR in FA. I'm not saying they are set there but I think it's less of a priority than it was 3 weeks ago. I could see a WR in the 3rd round or so but I highly doubt it will be boom or bust player Austin.

I agree with Craig Mark. I think it's a LT or CB in the 1st round (maybe a DE if one slips that's worth it). Don't see us drafting a 1st round WR (not Philbin's nature).

I think Ireland is using the "interest" in Austin as a smokescreen to try and get someone to trade up.

WHY IS IT THAT THESE SO CALLED NFL EXPERTS ALWAYS HAVE SOMETHING GOOD TO SAY ABOUT NEW ENGLAND AND MAKE EXCUSES FOR THEM BUT WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO OTHER TEAMS THEY FIND A WAY TO BE VERY CRITICAL! CASE IN POINT! REMEMBER WHEN NE SIGNED CHAD JOHNSON? IT WAS CONSIDERED A GREAT OFF SEASON MOVE! ONCE CHAD BOMBED OUT AND THE DOLPHINS SIGNED HIM HE WAS BASICALLY DOOMED FROM THE START. BELICHEAT IS A GOOD COACH TRUE ENOUGH BUT ISN'T IRONIC THAT THE PATS CAN'T BUILD A GOOD DEFENSE SINCE THE "CHEATING" STOPPED!! THIS IS SUPPOSE TO BE HIS SPECIALTY. NOW WITH THE LOSS OF WELKER ALL OF A SUDDEN THE WR FROM THE RAMS IS SIGNED AND THE MEDIA ALL READY HAS MADE HIM THE SECOND COMING OF THE GREATEST WR. FACE IT THE PATRIOTS ARE STILL TALENTED BUT ARE AGING AND THE DOLPHINS ARE GETTING YOUNGER. WHAT HAPPEN TO GUYS NOT WANTING TO PLAY IN MIAMI? NOW THAT WARREN SAPP HAS TO EAT CROW HE NOW HAS TO SINK DEEP ON THE PATS BAND WAGON. TEAMS CAN AND DO IMPROVE FROM YEAR TO YEAR BUT THEY ALSO GET OLDER. THE LAST 4-5 YEARS THE PATS HAVE HID THERE TERRIBLE DEFENSE BY OUTSCORING EVERYBODY. BUT WHEN THEY RAN INTO TEAMS THAT PUT BRADY AND HIS RECEIVERS IN CHECK THE PATS DEFENSE ALWAYS HAVE LET THEM DOWN(GIANTS TWICE). SO NOW THE NFL PUNDITS PRAY THAT DOLPHINS FAIL JUST AS THEY PRAYED THE JETS WOULD WIN!! THEY DON'T KNOW SH..! THEY JUST GET PAID TO DON'T KNOW SH..!GO FINS !! GREAT JOB SO FAR JEFF!

Craig, i could care less about Austin - I'm not a fan. Just a hunch I have. Sure, our biggest need is OT, and from what I can see and measure the guys that stand out above their repsective positional peers the most that are rated near the top of the draft are the two OTs (joeckel is also good but the other two are freaks).

Again, just playing a hunch. I'm not overly enthusastic about drafting a guy that weighs 175 pounds 12th overall. I think those types of guys are found throughout the draft.

I also like the three DTs and a year from now that will be a glaring hole for us too.

Guard is also a possibility ...

Pass rusher ...

Cornerback ...

In other words, I don't have a freaking clue what they will do.

I think this is the year Ireland trades down. This whole offseason COULDbe for not, if we dont land a good LT. I dont want a project at LT, if Tannehill has time and our OL plays well, we are in the playoffs! I would give up our 1st a 2nd and a 3rd with Oakland, if that doesnt get the Raiders to budge, plan B trade up with whoever to get Lane Johnson. If we stay at 12, I saw we take Eifert!

Just as we discuss Austin, I get this tidbit in my e-mail inbox, thought I'd share leading up to this month's draft ...

** The 15th pick of the draft has emerged as the over/under for West Virginia WR Tavon Austin. The Rams are expected to sprint to the podium to select the playmaker if he makes it to pick #16. New Orleans is sitting at #15. They're unlikely to target Austin, but that pick could become a hot spot for teams looking to move ahead of St. Louis. We could see the 49ers, Vikings or Bears make an aggressive move up for the draft's most electric player. We're excited to see where Austin lands. He's fully capable of making an instant fantasy impact.

** Meanwhile, Austin's QB's draft stock is on the rise. Geno Smith has been climbing draft boards since his impressive Pro Day. NFL.com's Bucky Brooks now has Smith as the 4th-best prospect in the class. The Sideline View's Lance Zierlein has him at #7. Smith looks like a virtual lock to be a top-10 pick. And he could end up inside the top 3. Both the Jags at #2 and the Raiders at #3 have been connected to the former Mountaineer.

Source also had some complimentary things to say about the Grimes signing ...

** CB Brent Grimes signed a 1-year, $5.5 million deal with the Dolphins. It's a strong pickup for Miami, which allowed starting CB Sean Smith to leave for K.C. in free agency. Grimes missed nearly all of last season after tearing an Achilles' tendon in Week 1, but the early injury date should help his readiness for 2013. He missed 4 games in 2011 but graded out as Pro Football Focus' #3 overall CB and 3rd best in coverage. Grimes grabbed 11 INTs over the previous 2 seasons and earned a Pro Bowl trip in 2010. This looks like a "prove it" contract heading into his age-30 season. Grimes is worth considering for your IDP lineup, but his fantasy football value can be hurt by his strong cover skills. It'll help if the Dolphins assign him each opponent's top WR as the Falcons used to.

Mark,

Big gamble taking a guy like Austin at 12. I don't believe that's Philbin's style. I believe there's a reason they haven't signed Winston yet and I believe it's because they aren't totally comfortable with Martin at RT. Maybe this thinking all changes if they sign Winston. Could Winston play guard if need be? Maybe?

I still think it's one of the LTs in the first and you're right about DT but I think they'll figure that out next year.

Amen TK SWAN !!!

That should have said 'comfortable with Martin at LT'.

One other thing, I know a bunch of us like Patterson. Good chance, IMO, that we get to see this guy twice a year, either in Buffalo or with the Jets. He's EXACTLY what both of those teams need, among other things.

Craig M, I'm sorta convinced that we will be grabbing a guy like K Allen in the draft and Bess will be traded. Bess is easily replaceable and a young speedy draft choice would be perfect

On paper the talen level looks better. But even Armando argued that the team made eerily the same FA movements during the year of Brandon Marshall (WR, LB, DL, OL). While the fan base is in wait and see mode, I think it comes down to: can Ireland manage talent gathering and a budget at the same time? While his ability to scout has been well recorded, his GM abilities have been found lacking (to say the least). The team was better on paper when Marshall, Dansby, Bennett were added. It just didn't translate. That's been the issue since Shula was forced out and Marino retired.

Craig, I hope you're right. Lane in round one and if we go with a WR - you know who my favourites are - Justin Hunter, Markus Wheaton, and Da'Rick Rogers - all of whom are 2nd round grades.

All three have good speed, strength, explosiveness, and Rogers and Hunter also have that big body that we are missing in our WR corps. Wheaton is a little more like Austin but incredibly strong(20 reps v 14 reps) with a little less speed (4.4 v 4.3), but also bigger (190lbs v 174lbs)

Tired of seeing Austin is to small. Lets go back to Dave Megget, smaller then Austin, Pro Bowler played 9 years. Austin will return kicks and punts and put points on the board. He is small but quick enough to avoid the big hits. Austin will be a big time player

Could be Bobby. And if he's the guy at 12 then he's got my support. I'd rather be proven wrong than wish failure on a Dolphin only to say I told you so ...

There's a reason why teams are jockeying for him just a couple of spots behind us. Seems everyone in the NFL is convinced we are going CB or OT. It would be great to see Ireland one up some people and have several war rooms throw up their paperwork in exasperation ...

I told u, we are trading up with Cleveland or Oakland.

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