Miami Dolphins: Building without a Rebuild
Everyone has said it all off-season, the Miami Dolphins are rebuilding. They’ve let star talent go. They’re not keeping their promise to “pay their own”. They traded away stars towards the middle of last season. Now there are rumors they’ll be looking to make some trades come draft day as well. Well Dolphin fans, it’s okay to be nervous but don’t believe the hype.
What this regime is doing is something that should have been thought of years ago and planning for the future. I know what some of you are thinking “If they were planning for their future, they would’ve never let a dynamic player like Jarvis Landry go.” That may be true, but only in part. Miami has painted themselves into corners for the better part of two decades. Sloppy drafts, unevenly distributed talent, and lack of development has been their downfall for years. Sure, they’ve thrown money around come free agency, but when it comes down to it most of the time it was on fixing 2-3 positions and hoping those acquisitions would fix the entire unit. Putting guys like Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake in the front of the D-line sounds like an instant resolve to a poor run defense, but a defensive front consists of 7 players.
That’s not a knock on the current crop of talent either. Think about every season in the history of football. More often than not, the back two-thirds of your roster is starting come playoff crunch time due to injuries and the Miami Dolphins have never done much to improve their depth. Every time a guy like Tannehill or Pouncey went down, there was little to no contingency plan in place. Why? because so much time and resources were spent on a “win, now” mentality that they never fixed any real problems.
Sure it hurts seeing talent like Jay Ajayi and Jarvis Landry come and go, but the Miami Dolphins owe it to those players to let them compete and earn their pay. The team has had a fair amount of success lately via the draft, if these young guys can stay healthy it wouldn’t look as bad. With the money they’ve saved letting guys move on the Dolphins were able to shore up their offensive line and depth to their already deep receiving unit.
On top of that, not only have they added depth but they’ve given themselves time as well. If you take a look at the transition over the past few seasons, most of the contracts being handed out went from 4 to 5 years down to 2 to 4 years. Miami is investing less time and resources into player who may or may not work out. That’s not to say they won’t extend these guys when the time comes but they’re not handcuffed either. By committing for a shorter period, the window to put up or shut up becomes a lot smaller. Not only do the current starters have to perform, but the rookies who are developing actually see their opportunity getting closer.
At face value, the offseason has shown it’s been “business as usual” for the Miami Dolphins. However, for the first time in a long time it seems they have a future in mind. They might not be making the most popular of moves, but they seem to be building a team that can compete longer than a one and done season. There’s no way in a crucial year three for a head coach would a team deliberately tank or “rebuild” or any other synonym for giving up on the season. Miami is in it to win this year, as for the results, guess we’ll have to wait and see.