For years it has pained Dolphins fans to watch their team be built and rebuilt and rebuilt again simply because, well, the rebuilds never seemed to get it quite right.
Remember the use of a second-round pick to address the center spot with Samson Satele in 2007? And then the use of valuable salary cap space to replace Satele with Jake Grove in the spring of 2009? And then the use of a first round pick to fill the spot again with Mike Pouncey in 2011?
The Dolphins have felt the need to do this a lot at a lot throughout the roster. (Don't even make me go through the 17 quarterback names who have started since Dan Marino retired. Don't make me remind you of the investment at cornerback. Don't make me remind you about all the safeties and offensive tackles).
Well, the linebacker spot seems to be the latest and most likely spot for more rebuilding to follow the rebuilding that was done last year to replace the rebuilding that was done just before that.
You'll remember that last season the Dolphins signed Dannell Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler to big and curious free agent contracts. The curiousity was caused in that Miami had two high-priced free agents already playing the spots Ellerbe and Wheeler were signed to play.
The Dolphins, you see, had previously spent sizeable money and cap space to sign Karlos Dansby (in 2010) and Kevin Burnett (in 2011) to fill the jobs.
Well, here we are a year after Ellerbe and Wheeler replaced Dansby and Burnett and the Dolphins are apparently looking to replace either Ellerbe or Wheeler.
We already know neither player lived up to expecations last year. But it was apparently so bad the Dolphins have toyed with shaking things up. New general manager Dennis Hickey offered free agent D'Qwell Jackson a contract to play the middle in Miami. Under that scenario, Ellerbe would have been shifted outside and Wheeler would have had to compete for playing time with Koa Misi.
The team is also toying with the idea of moving Misi to the middle thus letting Ellerbe head to the SAM (strongside) or WILL (weakside) LB spot.
And Miami's desires to makes these shifts is apparently no secret league-wide. Today, for example, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper put out his latest mock draft and he has the Dolphins taking Alabama inside linebacker C.J. Mosley with their first round pick at No. 19 overall.
Let that possibility marinate for a second.
One year after the Dolphins signed Ellerbe and Wheeler to contracts worth a combined $60.75 million with $27 million in guaranteed money, the team is needing to upgrade the positions those players were supposed to upgrade.
And that Ellerbe-Wheeler "upgrade" came on the heels of another $69 million "upgrade" made with Dansby and Burnett.
And the Dolphins may have to funnel resources to address that issue away from resources that attend to other obvious needs, such as offensive guard and right tackle.
This, folks, is the reason this team has been to the playoffs only once in a dozen years (2008 season) and hasn't won a playoff game since 2000. The decisions made to fix problems require almost perpetual adjusting, mending, revamping to fix the same problems again.
None of this is Hickey's fault, by the way. He's new. He's getting his first crack at his set of fixes.
So one cannot put it on him that he's studied the tape and feels Ellerbe would be better outside rather than in the middle and that Wheeler might be better off the field altogether if Ellerbe takes his spot.
That, by the way, was exactly what was coming had Jackson signed. That's exactly what would be coming if, as Kiper's mock suggests, the Dolphins select C.J. Mosley in the first round.