Front Office Takeover! Miami Dolphins 2018 NFL Draft
In this article, the Couch Potato GM (General Manager) front office takeover continues. I will be attempting to mitigate the Miami Dolphins’ salary cap, stabilize the front office, and field a competitive roster. It’s hard to imagine two years ago the Dolphins were in the playoffs. No team exemplifies what poor salary cap management and planning can do to a roster. This CPGM takeover is different from the rest; I will be acting as Owner of the Miami Dolphins. With the state of the salary cap and roster, the only choice to be made is building for the future.
Miami Dolphins Front Office
The Miami Dolphins, prior to 2016 when Chris Grier took over as GM made countless mistakes with overspending, none bigger then the signing of Ndamukong Suh to the massive 6-year $114 million dollar deal. Keeping that in mind, there is no debate, Grier didn’t step into an envious position. However, this situation has striking similarities to the Jacksonville Jaguars of the early 2000’s, when they fired Shack Harris and promoted his right hand man Gene Smith. NFL teams make this choice way too often in my opinion, why is this a common theme? Are these organizations too lazy to look outside the building? Do they get to know these front office members too well, leading them to unwittingly promote from within instead of considering a new, external perspective. If you fire the GM only to promote the guy directly beneath him, can you really expect different results? After all, the guy working underneath (Grier in this case) typically learns from the GM that was just fired. I don’t know why organizations continue to make this choice, it rarely works out. From what I’ve seen, Grier, unfortunately has continued the trend of making questionable moves; I will just list a few of these moves.
- Let’s start with the two moves that have already proved to be mistakes including the signing of Lawrence Timmons, and trading for Julius Thomas both players have already been released.
- Next the signing of Andre Branch, an average pass rusher who shows flashes but has never had the consistency. All of these deals reflect the same flaws as previous GMs Dennis Hickey and Jeff Ireland, rushing into deals and overpaying as a result.
- The final move I will touch on that makes no sense is trading for Robert Quinn, a player in the final year of his contract earning over 10 million. So why when you are already over the salary cap do you trade for a player in the final year of their deal? Now if that isn’t perplexing enough on its own, consider all the pass rushers and money invested in the defensive line.
So in my opinion Chris Grier and the entire staff must go, I believe for the Dolphins organization to be fixed you must clean house and start fresh.
Miami Dolphins Free Agency
Now that Grier and all staff have been removed the first thing we must do is find our next general manager. Just as Grier learned bad tendencies from bad GMs; quality GMs have spent copious amounts of time under top notch GMs. Taking a look around the league my target would be Joe Douglas VP of Player Personnel for the Philadelphia Eagles. Joe has been a part of three Super Bowl winning teams two in Baltimore where he learned from Ozzie Newsome for 16 years (00-15), and now learning from Howie Roseman in Philadelphia. Having the privilege to learn from two of the greatest GM’s, I have no doubt in my mind Joe has learned everything he needs to be successful. After our GM is in place we must begin to fix the salary cap for the future. There is no way to rebuild this franchise in one off-season to be successful and sustainable. The one move that must be made is cutting Suh to get out of the contract before it further cripples the organization. Once this cut is made it leaves us with roughly 26 million in cap space. I believe the best plan is to stay quiet in free agency; the reason for this is the odds of competing in the AFC this year with the current Miami Dolphins roster are slim to none. We must look to the future, which would give us essentially an extra $20 million for the 2019 off-season where we can truly start to (re)build the roster. The emphasis in 2018 must be to properly evaluate all players young and old, currently on the roster, to figure out where and if they fit into our future plans.
Miami Dolphins 2018 NFL Draft
Now it’s time for us to start building for the future via the 2018 NFL Draft. With the departures of Jarvis Landry and Julius Thomas we have 2 glaring needs if we want to continue Ryan Tannehill‘s development. I believe Ryan is the QB for this franchise but we must get him stability from the coaching staff, as it’s been a revolving door of head coaches and offensive coordinators since drafting him. It’s extremely hard for a young QB to come into the NFL and be successful when everything is in place but when you continue to change coaching staff and schemes it only further stunts the growth of any young QB. With so many draft picks and money invested into the defensive side of the ball by previous GMs I believe the best strategy for the 2018 draft is an almost all offensive class, this is beneficial for two reasons. First it surrounds Ryan with young play-makers to grow and develop with; second it affords more playing time to the defensive players already on the roster for evaluation purposes.
- Round 1 (11th) WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama – a couple months ago Calvin was a Top 10 pick, now as the draft process has unfolded some have him falling (although I personally do not have him as my #1 ranked wide receiver, mine is Michael Gallup). It’s hard to pass on the most pro ready WR who is following a rich lineage of Alabama #1 WR’s in Julio Jones and Amari Cooper. He’s a physical, quick WR with great hands. He shows strength to rip the ball out of cornerbacks’ hands, as well as the speed to outrun S.E.C. CB’s. As well as his clear gifts as a wideout, he is a willing and physical run blocker.
- Round 2 (10th) TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina – In my opinion I believe Hayden slips into the second round due to his age, teams are hesitant to use a 1st round pick on a player that is 25-years-old (26 by the start of regular season). The reason for this is 1st round picks have s 5th year option meaning by the time his rookie deal is over he will be 30-years-old. Grabbing Hurst in the 2nd would be an absolutely amazing value for the Dolphins. Hayden is a 6 foot 5 mismatch nightmare that can be used inside or outside. You can use him vertically or over the middle in the short to intermediate part of the field. He possesses great hands and physical presence once the ball is in his hands. I would be willing to move up slightly to make this pick even if it involved losing a 4th or 5th round pick in the process.
- Round 3 (9th) RB Nick Chubb Georgia – only a few years ago Nick was being talked about as a future star of the NFL. A knee injury derailed that, but he’s worked his way back from that injury. However, a running back with a knee injury is always scary which is the main reason for his fall in the draft, as well as splitting time with Sony Michel. That being said I am of the opinion that splitting time has been a blessing for Chubb. It has lightened his load in college leaving him with more tread on the tires for the NFL. The combination of Chubb and Kenyan Drake would not only be dynamic but extremely physical.
If these moves all took place I believe the Dolphins could be on the rise just at the right time, with Tom Brady retiring within the next one to three years. These moves set us up to grow and develop a young talented offense with veteran leadership at QB. In addition to the roster, fixing the salary cap as outlined, it allows us to change our future and be aggressive when and if the right players come available down the road to allow us to compete for a championship. In conclusion if these moves were followed, I believe the Miami Dolphins could have a healthy salary cap and be a playoff contender by 2019, as well as being ready to take over the division once Brady retires.